Open VS Closed Vehicle Shipping: Which is Best?

Open VS Closed Vehicle Shipping: Which is Best?

Shipping a vehicle can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether to choose open or closed vehicle shipping. Open vehicle shipping is the more affordable option, but it does come with some risks such as potential theft and weather damage.

On the other hand, closed vehicle shipping is more secure but also more expensive. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each option and help you decide which one is right for you. We’ll also take a look at other shipping options available to you, including port-to-port, air freight, and Amtrak.

Let’s get started.

Open Vehicle Shipping

Open Vehicle Shipping

Open vehicle shipping is just as the name is described, open. You’ve likely seen big-rig trucks on the interstate hauling 5-10 (or more) vehicles at once. This is the cheapest way to ship your vehicle, but it also does come with some caveats.

For starters, your vehicle will be visible to everyone around it. While the dangers may be low of it getting stolen, you likely don’t want your precious luxury vehicle to be out in the open where it could potentially be stolen.

The other issue is that your car may get damaged in transport. This may not be a huge problem for cheaper vehicles that can be repaired easily, but custom cars and high-end vehicles are going to cost a fair chunk of change to be repaired.

Weather damage is also a consideration, as your vehicle will be out in the open.If it hails, and your car is in an open trailer, it can potentially break the windows and damage the exterior.

The benefit of open shipping is that it’s the most affordable option. If your vehicle doesn’t need extra protection and is ensured by your transportation provider, then you shouldn’t be worried about anything during transit. It also is easier to find a date to ship as there are more slots available compared to closed vehicle shipping.

Closed Vehicle Shipping

Closed Vehicle Shipping

Closed vehicle shipping is just as it sounds, closed. Enclosed trailers are going to be smaller, and won’t be able to fit as many cars as an open trailer would. This means that there are fewer slots available to go around, and a higher price as the fuel efficiency is much lower when compared to open vehicle shipping.

You will also need to pay more, up to twice as much compared to an open trailer. This won’t make much sense for most people as the cost isn’t worth the security of the vehicle. The higher the cost of your car, the more sense it will make to go with an enclosed trailer.

Not having your luxury vehicle seen by anyone is going to act as its own insurance. You’ll also have the option to insure your vehicle completely should it get lost or damaged during transportation for any reason. Crashes and theft do happen, so double-check with your transport provider on how much your vehicle will be insured for.

Closed vehicle shipping can also take longer to transport, further adding to delays. While it does cost extra, anyone with an expensive vehicle will likely go with a closed shipping option as it makes the most sense.

Which Should You Choose?

Which Should You Choose?

Considering that a closed container is likely going to cost twice as much or more as an open trailer, it all comes down to your budget and the cost of your vehicle. You can insure your vehicle completely with an open trailer, but it will be vulnerable to potential theft, road damage, and weather.

A closed shipping container is going to provide peace of mind, but it will take longer to transport and you will need to book your date well in advance as there are a limited amount of slots available.

As long as you go with a leading car transport service, you won’t have any issues if you decide to go with open or closed.

Other Shipping Options

If you’re moving overseas, then you’ll have to go with a port-to-port option. This can take quite a while as boats can travel slowly, so you will need to plan your car’s journey well in advance.

You can also go with an air freight option, but unless your car is fairly valuable and you have an unlimited money to spend, it doesn’t make a ton of sense. Air freight can easily cost as much as your vehicle is worth depending on the distance travelled.

You can also go with something like Amtrak, which can ship your vehicle up and down the east coast for. There are limitations though and you will need to prepare your vehicle in advance.


In conclusion, the choice between open and closed vehicle shipping depends on your budget and the value of your vehicle. Open vehicle shipping is more affordable and easier to find a shipping date, but it comes with risks such as weather damage and potential theft. Closed vehicle shipping is more expensive but provides better security for your vehicle and peace of mind during transportation.

Other shipping options such as port-to-port or air freight may be necessary for international moves or valuable vehicles, but come with their own limitations and costs. It’s important to research and choose a reliable transportation provider, and double-check the insurance coverage for your vehicle during transit.

Related posts