Car Carriers, Open vs. Enclosed & How to Choose

Here’s another consideration for first-time car shippers: which kind of car carrier to select.

There are two different types of car carriers: open trailers and enclosed trucks.

Those new to the car shipping industry may assume an enclosed truck is the better option, but there are many good reasons to choose the open carrier over the enclosed. In fact, the open carrier is the most common method for cross country transports and it’s the most affordable as well.

On the open carrier, your vehicle is driven into place and shares a ride with 6-7 other vehicles on a two-level trailer. The carrier is stable, secure, and insured – but open to the elements.

The enclosed carrier however, is a truck with solid walls and your vehicle is loaded and secured inside it. Typically the enclosed carrier carries fewer vehicles. Because there are fewer cars on each enclosed run and because of the refined nature of the service, the cost is typically at least a few hundred dollars higher.

The main reason to choose an enclosed carrier over an open carrier is the monetary value of your vehicle. For vehicles worth over $50,000, an enclosed carrier should be considered (but is not a necessity). Enclosed carriers hold more insurance to cover higher value vehicles.

The open carrier, by contrast, while fully insured, easily carriers enough coverage for each vehicle worth less than $50,000.

Sometimes the prospect of an enclosed carrier just seems safer to a potential customer, but the truth is both methods are perfectly safe.

One common fear about open carriers is that random road debris will dent the vehicle, but that is not what really happens on the road.

Road debris does not “fly up” or “fly sideways” – any road debris kicked up flies straight into the front of the rig.

Your vehicle may arrive a little dirty or get rained on, but it’s nothing that a good detailing can’t fix on the delivery end. And the price of shipping by an open carrier followed by a good detailing is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the price of shipping by enclosed carrier.

If you have any other questions about types of car carriers, please give us a call at 866-221-1664! We love explaining your options.

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Get Free Car Shipping Quotes

Car shipping quotesWhen you buy a car in California but you live in Massachusetts, it is imperative that the vehicle arrive at your home safely. A car is a big investment. If it is a new vehicle you have saved up for, this will amount to thousands — even tens of thousands — of dollars. Antique cars are priceless. They are not rolling off of the factory line anymore after all, so replacing one would be tough. What you need is a way to get the vehicle home safely, and shipping a car could be the safest option. Driving it hundreds of miles leaves you open to accidents in parking lots and on the highway.

Besides, you might have bought your 1966 Corvette for a steal because the engine was not running. You could not drive it home anyway. This is going to be a labor of love, but how will you get it home? Car shipping offers the answer.

Before making any commitments, get a few car shipping quotes from websites like ours at We have a rate calculator that gives you access to free instant quotes.  Type your details into the online calculator for an idea of the cost. Indicate where the car is coming from and where it is going to (this company ships all over the United States). Will you prefer an open topped or closed topped method? Open-topped shipping is cheaper.

Next, compare your car shipping quotes. One aspect of car shipping which might put you off is the deposit most companies want up front. You should never pay this. Hand over a check at your front door when the car is sitting in your driveway and not before.

Safe Direct Car Shipping has access to over two thousand carriers they would be happy to entrust your vehicle to. Then again, if you have a specific company in mind or dislike the reputation of a firm, your agent will happily switch service providers at no extra cost to you.

If you choose Safe Direct, our home page is full of information, or just give us a call during business hours, and you will get a prompt response.

One reason that Safe Direct is highly rated by the BBB is that they are fair to customers. You do not pay until the car arrives safely. Shipping a car takes up to a week, so ask a trusted friend to accept your vehicle and check for damage in case you cannot be reached.

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Tips For Choosing Car Carriers

Car CarriersMillions of cars are moved every year, with many units even crossing borders and international lines in order to arrive at their destination. Shipping and transporting cars requires meticulous attention to details in order to ensure that the vehicles reach their destination in good condition. Car carriers are responsible for taking charge of the whole process of moving cars, from pick-up to transport to delivery. To get the most out of their services, here are the most important things to consider before hiring an auto carrier:

Know your preferred mode of transport.
Car carriers offer different types of services and some may offer more than others. Know which type of car transport service you need and check if the company offers it. Consider your budget, time frame and other requirements that may be specific to the type of car you wish to transport. Some carriers, for example, may only offer terminal-to-terminal delivery which may require you to find another company to complete the transport to a specific address.

Decide on open or closed transport.
Open transport moves vehicles usually on flatbed trailers or trucks. The advantage to using an open transport system is that it allows for more cars to be moved at one time. It saves time, is quite efficient and cheaper. It does, however, expose the vehicles to the elements during transport. This includes wind, rain, dust, snow, hail and ice. Closed transport, on the other hand, offers protection since it uses enclosed trucks to move the cars. It does provide transport for a limited number of cars for every truckload and is more expensive than an open auto transport system.

Make sure car carriers are pre-screened by your broker.
Brokers are third parties that assist in getting cars transported. They do not move the cars themselves and instead work with carriers to do it on your behalf. They pre-screen carriers, and offer additional customer service and insurance benefits.  It is very difficult for a car carrier to get added to Safe-Direct Car Shippings approved car carrier list, and very easy to be removed.

Look for a registered carrier.
All auto carriers and transporters are required to have a Department of Transportation registration. Check to see if this, along with their MC number, is active.

Ask about insurance.
Car carriers are required to carry insurance and information about this should be provided on their website or brochure. Ask about insurance coverage for cargo and liability information before signing up for the service.  Safe-Direct Car Shipping has the INDUSTRY’S ONLY DAMAGE FREE GUARANTEE.  Our Carriers cover your vehicle 100% or WE PAY!

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Tips For Shipping a Car Safely & On Schedule

shipping a carArranging to have a vehicle transported should be a simple, uncomplicated process for clients. Although the car is the responsibility of the mover or carrier once it is picked up and turned over to the transport company, there are some things that the owner is expected to do in order to ensure a smooth, glitch-free process.

Here are some tips for shipping a car safely:

Know the facts.
Companies that are in charge of shipping cars will provide their customers complete information regarding their services. It is the customers’ responsibility to read the information, terms and conditions in the contract and to clarify any issue they may have with the moving company.

Decide on an open vs. enclosed carrier.
There are different shipping methods that customers can choose from when shipping cars. These include open (partial or full) and closed shipping. Each one has its own set of advantages and limitations depending on the type, model and number of vehicles that will be moved. Car owners should consider these options carefully and choose the one that fits their needs best. They should also discuss their requirements with the car moving company to determine the safest method to ship their vehicles.

Understand scheduling – How much lead time?
Every customer should be aware that while car movers work under a deadline, there are factors beyond their control that may cause delays and other issues. These can include the weather, mechanical problems with the carrier or vehicle and traffic. Customers who make frequent or last minute changes to their schedule can also cause delays. However, customers can be assured that car shippers are doing the best they can to ensure that the vehicles reach their destination within schedule as often as possible.

Prepare your car.
Wash the car properly prior to shipping, particularly if it will be moved via an open trailer. This will allow you to check the car for any damages such as scratches, nicks and chips. Although there is some protection offered to customers in case of damages that may occur during the transport or due to the fault of the driver, it is better to have an accurate record of the original condition of your car for comparison later.

Check the car batteries to ensure that they are charged, make sure oil and water are at sufficient levels and that tires are properly inflated. Lower the antennae, fold the mirrors and shut down the alarm. Remove personal items from the car and make sure all loose parts are secured. If your car is a convertible, make sure that the top is up or the car is covered prior to shipping. Avoid shipping your car on a full tank since this could add more weight. Inform the shipper of any issues and special requirements your car may have so they can take the necessary precautions during delivery. Provide your shipper with all necessary documents as well.

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Common Car Moving FAQs

Car MovingSafe-Direct Car Shipping ensures that the process of transporting your car is smooth and trouble-free, however, knowing what the process entails will help prevent any issues and expedite the transfer. When you are armed with the right information, you will know what to expect and which steps you should do to ensure a safe and prompt delivery of your vehicle.

Here are some common car moving FAQs you might find useful:

What types of cars can be shipped through a car moving company?
Most companies will ship cars, vans, SUVs and trucks. Others may extend their services to ATVs, snow mobiles, jet skis, motorcycles, boats and heavy equipment. Most moving companies will also ship antique and classic cars and oversized vehicles. The auto moving company should provide you with information regarding the extent of their services so you will know if they can meet your needs.

Do auto moving companies accept rush transactions?
Your request for immediate pickup can be accommodated, provided your vehicle and all supporting documents are prepared ahead of time. Otherwise, it helps if you could arrange to have your car scheduled for pickup so that all the necessary procedures are completed.

How long will it take for the vehicle to reach its destination?
The time it will take for your car to be delivered to a pre-agreed address will depend on the location of the pickup and the destination. Transit time will also depend on factors such as traffic, weather and road conditions and mechanical breakdowns. In some cases, schedule of delivery may also be affected if there are vehicles on the same load as your car that have to be prioritized.

What do I need to prepare?
Your car will be physically inspected by a representative from the auto shipping company. It is a good idea to clean and wash the car so that any defects, scratches, cracks and dents may be noted and recorded. It is also recommended to remove loose parts, grill and tire covers, racks, antenna and wide mirrors. If you are shipping a convertible, keep the top on or make sure that the car is covered. If there are an open seams, tears and damages in the tops, it is recommended to have them repaired prior to shipping. Any personal items in the car should also be removed.

What types of documentations are required for shipping a vehicle?
The auto moving company will likely ask you to provide them with the original title of your vehicle, a notarized EPA or Export Power of Attorney (for international shipping) and a copy of your driver’s license. If the car has not been fully paid for, the auto shipping company will also require a release letter from the creditor. The EPA authorizes the moving company to transport your vehicle overseas on your behalf. The original title of the vehicle is a requirement of the Department of Transportation. Once the vehicle has been delivered, the car moving company will return it to the car owner.

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Shipping cars – the basic process

Unless you have moved across the county, you probably haven’t ever thought about shipping cars or what that entails. It’s a service most folks may only need once in their lives – if ever.

But when the need does arise, most people have no frame of reference for the basic process. Here’s what happens after the truck is assigned.

Your driver will call to provide an estimated time for pick-up, usually within 24 hours of arrival. While drivers prefers to stay on schedule, they are easily affected by traffic or weather or issues with other customers.

You won’t have to wait around all day, but it is realistic to be flexible with your time or have a back-up person on call. As long as the truck can safely access the address you specify, the carrier will come right to your neighborhood and load your vehicle there.

The hauler is large enough to transport multiple vehicles so the truck does need a flat, open space away from heavy traffic. Because the driver is usually alone and probably not based in your city, you may be asked to meet the carrier nearby if your location is not ideal for loading.

Your driver is shipping cars for other customers in the same region going the same direction. Open auto carriers take 7 or 8 other customer vehicles at the same time as yours.

car shippingEnclosed carriers can only accommodate 1, 2 or sometimes 3 vehicles at a time.

Your vehicle may have to be off-loaded during the transport to load/unload another customer’s car.

While en route shipping cars, drivers are regulated as far as how many hours a day they can drive, are required to take meal breaks and must sleep at night. In many states, drivers are not allowed to drive and use cell phones at the same time, so your driver won’t always be available to take or make update calls.

Before delivery, you will want to have your final payment ready – COD (cash on delivery) is standard.

Seven to ten days in transit is average from coast to coast, and your driver will call to provide an estimated time for their arrival within 24 hours of delivery.

And as mentioned before, they deliver to your address as long as your street is safe and accessible.

I hope that gives you a good picture of the basic process for shipping cars. If you have any further questions about car shipping in general, please contact us today at 866-221-1664 – (or just play around with our Free Rate Calculator)

Vehicle Shipping Tips – Good Advice Before You Ship

vehicle shippingThis is just to go over a few things about Vehicle Shipping for you before you make a decision.

Price and getting the car moved safely and on time are probably your biggest concerns.  Here are some things to consider.

First, never pay an upfront deposit.  This is very important.

If you are requesting quotes online, I can assure you that every company you’re speaking with is a broker (or a carrier with a brokerage division) and the people you are speaking with are salesmen who work on commission.

So what happens sometimes is that some salespeople will tell you whatever you want to hear just to get that deposit because they don’t get paid until you pay the company. Then if they can’t get you a car carrier because they bid it too low you could be the one left with no car moved.

Plus, now you’ve given out a deposit that you have to somehow get back. And if you do get the deposit back you’ll see a $75 cancellation fee in their terms and conditions.  (not in ours, of course)

So, whether you ship a car with us or someone else, do NOT give an upfront deposit.  There are to many ethical companies like us who don’t ask for a deposit until after we get you locked down with a carrier.

Secondly, make sure that the Vehicle Shipping company that you choose to move your car has a good rating with the BBB.  Again, this is very important. You want to make sure that they are going to set you up with a reputable carrier.

We only use car carriers that carry a minimum of $750,000 in insurance and have been PRE-SCREENED so that they are known to be very good. 

One problem with this industry is that most people only move a car once in their life and so it allows for people to be, how shall we say, “less than honest” since they don’t need to worry about repeat business.

We have an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and are Accredited by them.

It’s easy to see anyone’s rating.  Just go to  Once there, select the company’s location, (ours is Los Angeles).  Then just type in the name of the company (i.e. Safe-Direct Car Shipping).  From there you can read a 3 year history on what the BBB has to say about the company.  If they have a lot of complaints (especially unanswered complaints) you may want to consider a different company.

As far as quotes are concerned, all of the quotes you are getting are actually just estimates.  What really happens is that we all use the same website to post your move once you select a company.  It’s called Central Dispatch.  This way the carriers have one place to go and can see what moves are out there.  It makes it easy on them since they are driving all day and can only check when they stop at a truck stop and such.

Anyway, when you look at someone’s quote, usually the amount of the *deposit* goes to the broker and the rest is what they are going to offer the car carrier when they post it. (This is usually the amount you pay COD)

So if you get a quote that is much lower than everyone else, you need to realize that it may not pay the car carrier enough to get their interest.  So your move can just sit on that website with no one interested in it. And it’s usually those low quotes that want a deposit up front as well. Be careful.

With that being said, if you ever feel the quote you get from us is not *competitive* enough, we have no problem re-looking at your quote with you on the phone, and we’ll even go online while we’re talking and tell you what other cars are offering at the time. Making sure you are priced in line with the competition is your our top priority.

I hope this has helped you understand this industry a little bit better. If you have any questions, just call us at 866-221-1664 and we’ll take the mystery out for you.

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Car Transporters – What You Need to Know

car transportersShipping a vehicle across the country is not something most people do regularly. Many of our customers are first time shippers who have no previous experience hiring car transporters. That can make a person hesitant – if not downright nervous – about the process. But not to worry, we want you to be confident in your car transporter and we are always happy to answer all of the questions that you may have.

One common question that all auto shippers ask is “Will the car transporter damage my vehicle?”

Not to be glib, but if shipping a vehicle by open carrier always damaged cars, then no one would do it – this industry simply would not exist.

Most cars are transported through door-to-door carrier service over long distances and arrive at their destination in perfect condition.

However, from time to time accidents do happen (such is life.) In the unlikely event when an accident does happen, the car transporter’s insurance will cover the damage.

Safe Direct Car Shipping also offers an Insurance Guarantee – we are the only broker to do so. (No, we can’t prevent accidents with this guarantee, but we insure that you are covered.)

Another common question that many shippers ask is “Can I leave personal items in my vehicle?”

We’d love to affirm that, but the truth is that we don’t recommend it. Car transporters are just that – a car transporter, not a furniture mover. Your car transporter is only licensed and insured for the transportation of vehicles, not personal items.

In the event that one of your possessions goes missing or gets damaged in transit, we have no way to protect you. Also, your car transporter has weight restrictions and your shipping contract is priced for the weight of your vehicle only.

Your transport driver may overlook a small item or bag of items, but may not be able to accommodate valuable and/or heavy cargo included in your vehicle. Frankly, the final call is up to your driver but not something we can include in your contract so anything left in your vehicle during transit is left at your own risk.

Do you have a question you would like to see covered in a blog post? Please let us know! Or better yet, give us a call at 866-221-1664. We are always happy to answer all of your questions about car transporter services.

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How to Ship a Car with Items Inside (and not pay extra)

The number one question most customers have is “Can I Ship a Car with items inside?”

Well here are the facts, along with some guidelines to help you.

First comes the bad news (of course), which is that the FMCSA (i.e. the licensing board for ALL car shipping companies) strictly states that no car carrier (or broker) is allowed to ship a car with items inside.

But, like anything else, that doesn’t mean that people (and car carriers) don’t do it.

It is definitely possible to do, but you need to be careful if you want to avoid any extra charges.

The general rule of thumb is; keep the items out of sight and under 100lbs.

That’s the best advice of all for you to follow, especially if you are looking to avoid added costs.

The reason is this – a car carrier will burn more fuel with every extra pound that is on it’s back, so you want to keep the weight of what you put inside the car minimal.

Also, keep in mind that the truck driver has to drive your car onto the back of an 18 wheeled car hauler, possibly even up top, and then *back* it off again on delivery. So, it’s enough of an acrobatic feat as is, you don’t want to make it worse, so you want to make sure he can see out all of the windows.

The best practice is to keep the items in the trunk and light, light, light.

*IF* you can stay within those guidelines, then the chances of your being charged extra are slim to none.

But, let’s be honest – you’re reading this post because you want to put A LOT more than that in your car for transport. Right?

Well, it’s still possible, but the fact of the matter is, if it’s excessive, you may have to play a little game of “Let’s Make a Deal” with your driver on the day of pick up.

Here is the key advice for those of you in that situation – Make sure that the items in your car can be easily removed.

The reason for this is simple; if you and the driver can’t come to a reasonable agreement, you want to be able to easily remove the stuff from the car so that the driver can take it.

But here’s the number one thing working IN YOUR FAVOR – The driver has committed that space on his truck for your car, and the LAST thing he wants to do is drive away without your car on his truck, because that means he has to find something to replace it – which costs time & effort & *money*. (So he REALLY wants to strike a deal too, he just needs to cover his added expense.)

9 times out of 10 our customers are able to strike a fair bargain that leaves everyone happy, so just be smart and keep it down to the essentials when trying to ship a car with items inside.