Auto Transport – Terms to Understand

Posted on
1 min to read

To fully understand the process of transporting your car, you must first understand the terminology. Listed below are a few of the terms used within the auto transport world.

Auto Shipping Company

This is a car company that specialises in the transportation of cars from one location to another. Some auto shipping companies available today provide only state to state services and also have specific route or state they convey vehicles to. There are also some that provide only international auto shipping services. You will also get some that provide both local and international services. Some auto shipping companies have their own fleets of auto haulers, ships and auto train. There are also some that do not have any fleet of their own rather they contract it to another company.


Auto shipping companies are required by law to have an insurance policy that takes care of damages caused to the cars they are transporting as a result of the driver’s mistake, as well as damages that result from other factors like element of weather, accidents and the likes that occur during the course of transportation of the vehicles. So when you hear that an auto shipping company is bonded, it means that they have policies that protect consumers against such loss. The auto brokers are also bonded.

Car Carrier

This is not different from auto hauler. It is a trailer specifically meant for transporting cars. The vehicles to be transported are loaded inside the trailer.

Cash on Pick-up

This is normally abbreviated as COP. This means that the consumer is expected to pay for the auto transport services upon picking-up of their cars. There are different means through which payment can be made. It depends on the agreement between the auto shipping company and the consumers. Payment can be made by cash, cheques (banker’s draft or cashier check), money order, and other online means of payment.


This is one of the means through which one can transport their vehicles to another location. In this option, you have to hire a professional driver to drive your vehicle to your new location. There are some individual drivers that can render this service. You can also hire drivers directly from an auto shipping company.

Drop-off Window

This means the delivery time or day of your vehicle. The drop-off window depends on the location where the car is being taken to. If the place is far, the delivery period will be longer. It also depends in the type of carrier you are using. Enclosed carrier usually arrives earlier than open carrier.

Open Carrier

This is a type of carrier that is not covered. The vehicles on this carrier are exposed to the elements of weather.

Enclosed Carrier

It is a direct opposite of the open carrier. The carrier is covered and the vehicles are protected from element of weather.


This is a vehicle that is in running condition and can be driven inside a vessel on its own.


This refers to a vehicle that is not in good running condition and so cannot be driven to a vessel on its own.

Pick-up Window

It is the same with drop-off window.


This refers to the base of the auto shipping company where you will drive your car to before it is loaded into the carrier for shipment.

There are other terminologies not mentioned here and if you have any questions you can always check car transport frequently asked questions or call us at 888-666-8929.

Get an instant quote