Auto Transport Brokers Vs. Auto Carriers: What is the Difference?

When you need to ship your car across the country, it could be challenging to know where to start. Should you contact auto transport brokers or auto carriers? Contacting the right car shipping company to schedule your car shipping is important to make it a seamless journey.

Choosing between auto transport brokers and auto carriers depends on you. However, there are a few things you need to know about them to guide you before shipping your car.

Here, we will explore the difference between car shipping brokers and auto carriers, their pros and cons, and how to choose the right option for your needs. Understanding the differences between these two types of companies can help you make an informed decision. Also, this will help you ensure that your vehicle is transported safely and efficiently.

What are Auto Transport Brokers, and How do they Work?

Auto transport brokers act as middlemen between customers and auto carriers. They connect customers who need to ship their vehicles with carriers that has available space on their trucks. Auto shipping brokers do not own their trucks or employ their drivers but instead negotiate with carriers to transport vehicles on behalf of their clients.

When a customer contacts a car shipping broker, the broker will gather information about the customer’s vehicle, including the make and model, destination, and pickup location. The broker then contacts carriers to obtain quotes for transporting the vehicle.

Pros of Contacting Auto Transport Brokers 

Here are some advantages of using auto transport brokers for car shipping:

  1. Auto transport brokers have a vast network of carriers they work with.
  2. Car shipping brokers save time involved in finding the right carrier.
  3. They can often negotiate better rates with carriers than customers could obtain.
  4. They have expertise in the industry and understand the logistics involved in shipping a vehicle.

Cons of Contacting Auto Transport Brokers 

Here are some disadvantages of using car shipping brokers for car shipping:

  1. Auto Transport Brokers lack control over the timing and quality of the shipping process.
  2. Car shipping brokers are intermediaries between customers and carriers, so communication can sometimes be delayed or unclear.
  3. Additional fees are always included for auto transport brokers’ fees in the overall cost of shipping.

What are Auto Carriers, and How do they Work?


Auto carriers, also known as car haulers, own trucks and drive vehicles across the country. Auto carriers have their fleets of trucks and trailers and can transport multiple vehicles at once.

When a customer contacts an auto carrier, the carrier will get information about the customer’s vehicle, including the make and model, destination, and pickup location. The carrier will then provide a quote for transporting the vehicle and schedule a pickup time.

Pros of Contacting Auto Carriers for Car Shipping

Here are some advantages of using auto carriers for car shipping:

  1. Customers have direct contact with the carrier who will be transporting their vehicle when using auto carriers.
  2. Auto carriers have specialized equipment designed to transport vehicles safely and efficiently.
  3. Most auto carriers carry insurance to protect their clients’ vehicles during transit.
  4. Auto carriers can provide personalized service to customers, working with them to coordinate pickup and delivery times that are convenient for their schedule.

Cons of Contacting Auto Carriers for Car Shipping

Here are some disadvantages of using auto carriers for car shipping:

  1. Auto carriers have more difficulty with steady communication during the transport process.
  2. Auto carriers charge higher rates since they have their own trucks and drivers.
  3. They may have more rigid schedules and less flexibility, making accommodating specific pickup and delivery times difficult.
  4. Auto carriers may offer a limited range of service options.

Key Differences Between Car Shipping Brokers and Auto Carriers

There are several key differences between car shipping brokers and auto carriers:


Auto Transport Brokers

Auto Carriers

Trucks Ownership

Don’t have trucks

They have trucks


Serve as intermediary

Direct Communication

Services Range

Offer Wider range

Limited-service options


Lower prices

Higher prices


Not liable for damage or loss

Liable for safe transport


Offer more flexibility

Limited flexibility





More available

Less available

Similarities Between Auto Transport Brokers and Auto Carriers


Despite their differences, there are some similarities between auto transport brokers and auto carriers:

  1. They offer car shipping services from one location to another.
  2. While it is not required, car shipping brokers and carriers can provide insurance to protect the vehicle during transit.
  3. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates auto transport brokers and carriers.
  4. Auto transport brokers and carriers can transport vehicles across the United States.

How to Know if Auto Transport Companies are Car Shipping Brokers

Here are some ways to determine if an auto transport company is a broker:

  1. Check their website
  2. They often offer cheaper quotes by negotiating with different carriers.
  3. The contract they provide often carries the name of a carrier that you have not spoken to.
  4. Their reviews always reflect their work and services.
  5. You can verify on the FMCSA website

MI Car Shipping Helps You with Car Shipping in the USA

MI Car Shipping is your trusted auto transport broker here to help. We make USA car shipping easy, and we also deal in international car shipping services. You can request our car shipping overseas cost and use our international car shipping cost calculator.

At MI Car Shipping, we will find you a reliable and affordable auto transport carrier that will take care of your vehicle during your upcoming move. As accredited by the Better Business Bureau for Ethics (BBB) and a four-time award-winning company of the torch award for ethics, we go above and beyond to provide you with exceptional service. We provide excellent and satisfactory car shipping services.

Contact MI Car Shipping at 866-620-1776 today to schedule your auto transport, and you will get an instant free quote. Our car shipping calculator is always available to ease your journey. For more about your best car shipping broker in the USA, visit our website at

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Frequently Asked Questions

Most major credit cards, postal money orders and cashiers checks are acceptable forms of payment.

As with most transport services, a deposit is generally required when placing an order. Deposits range from 10-25 % of the total shipping cost. The remaining balance will be due upon delivery.

Most auto transport companies accept cash, certified checks, and postal money orders.

Coast to coast trips usually takes between 10-14 days. Shorter trips ranges from 3-7 days, depending on the actual distance. Some factors may delay a trip, including traffic, weather, and truck breakdowns.

Yes, we request you, or a designated person, be present upon pick up of your vehicle. For your safety and your vehicle’s safety, an inspection is performed and a bill of lading must be signed that serves as proof of delivery.

The easiest way to ship an inoperable vehicle is to let us know when requesting a vehicle transport quote. There will be an additional charge, plus loading and unloading charges to your quote, if we are not informed of the vehicle’s condition prior to quoting.

Auto carriers are not licensed to carry house goods or personal items, these goods and items are not covered by the carriers insurance. Any damage to your vehicle due to household goods shifting or breaking is also not covered. Personal belongings left in the vehicle, are shipped strictly at the owners risk. Carriers will not inventory any belongings left in the vehicle and will assume no responsibility.

Your car is insured for the Blue Book value the entire time it is on the truck. Clearly listed on your Shipping Order, Agreement and Bill of Lading are occurrences not covered. At the time of pick up, a condition report is filled out and signed by both the person turning the car over and the truck driver and you are given a copy.

Upon delivery of your vehicle, this same report is presented. You should compare the condition of the vehicle to the report thoroughly at that time. If you feel damage has occurred to your vehicle during delivery, you must note it on the report before you sign it and the driver leaves. Damage done in transit does not relieve the shipper of paying for transport service performed. Claims will be handled by the vehicle carrier and insurance companies.

Metti International offers door-to-door auto transport service where possible. However, there are instances that we cannot collect/deliver directly to the door due to the size of our auto carrier’s trucks. The size of your street may prohibit direct delivery to your door. Also, some towns and cities do not allow trucks on their residential streets. If the carrier cannot get to your door, he will deliver your vehicle to the next most convenient accessible location, such as the nearest major crossing street, a shopping mall or supermarket.

Please have a no more than 1/4 tank of fuel, remove all personal items from your vehicle and have it washed and cleaned so that the ensuing inspection is easily performed. If it is a convertible, T-top, sunroof, etc. make sure all openings are closed and prepared for changing weather. You can find additional tips on how to prepare your car for transport here.