How to Plan Your Move
Summer time is the busiest time of the year for movers. In addition, the beginning and end of each month are traditionally busier than mid-month, regardless of the season. If you are planning to move during one of the times, plan well in advance so your mover’s schedule will fit yours.
Now it is time to contact the movers on your list. Inform them of your destination and the timing of your move. Ask movers to provide you with a written estimate, and have them explain the services listed in the estimate in detail. Carefully compare each estimate to see which company best suits your needs and budget.
Proper packing by a trained packer using specially designed cartons and materials is crucial to a good move. Schedule packing with the mover a day or two before the moving van is loaded. If you are packing yourself, it is never too soon to start. While packing yourself can save money, movers will not usually accept liability for damage to items packed by owners.
Be present when your goods are packed. An inventory of your goods will be made and it is important to resolve any disagreements prior to signing the inventory. Make sure all copies are legible and all items are numbered. Have valuable items listed separately. Some appliances may require servicing prior to the move. Your mover can schedule these services for you.
There are several options for insuring your goods. All household goods shipments move under limited liability. However, you may purchase additional liability coverage from your mover.
Planning Your Moving Day
Your mover may ask you to select several consecutive days during which your goods can be loaded and a second series of dates during which your goods can be delivered to your new home. A spread of days gives you and your mover the flexibility needed to keep your move on schedule. Remember that summer months are the busiest, and some movers offer lower prices between the months of October and April.
- Be on hand when the movers arrive
- Discuss the delivery arrangements fully with your mover.
- Have beds stripped and ready to be packed.
- Save your energy – let the moving crew disassemble goods.
- Read the Bill of Lading before you sign it.
- Tell your mover how to reach you at your destination.
- Keep in contact with the mover’s agent at your destination while you are in transit.
Items that Should Not be Shipped
When you are planning your move, there are some common household items that should not be included in your shipment.
Below is a partial list of items that should not be shipped.
- House paints
- Open containers of liquid
- Propane tanks or cans
- Gas or oils
- Open alcohol containers
- Open non sealed food containers
- Fire Extinguishers
- Welding Gas
- Disinfectant cleaners (especially those that contain bleach or ammonia)
- Perishable foods (unless the move meets strict guidelines – please check with your carrier about these to see if your move meets the guidelines)
- Items with excessive odor
As a general rule, if the item is flammable, combustible or explosive it should not be included.
Placing a Value on Your Shipment
All moving companies are required to assume liability for the value of the goods that they transport. However, there are different levels of liability, and you should be aware of the amount of protection provided and the charges for each option. The two different levels of liability that movers are required to offer are explained below and in the “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” brochure that your mover will provide to you. Be sure to read this information carefully and follow the instructions provided to declare a value on your shipment.
OPTION 1: FULL (REPLACEMENT) VALUE PROTECTION. This is the most comprehensive plan available for the protection of your goods. Under this option, often referred to as “full value protection” or “full replacement value”, articles that are lost, damaged or destroyed will be (at the mover’s option) either repaired, replaced with like items, or a cash settlement will be made for the cost of the repair, or for the current market replacement value, regardless of the age of the lost or damaged item. Depreciation of the lost or damaged item is not a factor in determining replacement value when the shipment is moved under full value protection.
The exact cost for full value protection may vary by mover and may be further subject to various deductible levels of liability that may reduce your cost. Ask your mover for the details of their specific plan.
Under this option, movers are permitted to limit their liability for loss or damage to articles of extraordinary value, unless you specifically list these articles on the shipping documents. An article of extraordinary value is any item whose value exceeds $100 per pound (for example, jewelry, silverware, china, furs, antiques, oriental rugs and computer software). Ask your mover for a complete explanation of this limitation before your move. It is your responsibility to study this provision carefully and to make the necessary declaration.
OPTION 2: RELEASED VALUE. This is the most economical protection option available, however, this no-additional-cost option provides only minimal protection. Under this option, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound, per article. Loss or damage claims are settled based on the pound weight of the article multiplied by 60 cents. For example, if a 10-pound stereo component, valued at $1000 were lost or destroyed, the mover would be liable for no more than $6.00 (10 pounds x 60¢). Obviously, you should think carefully before agreeing to such an arrangement. There is no extra charge for this minimal protection, but you must sign a specific statement on the bill of lading agreeing to it.
These two optional levels of liability are not insurance agreements that are governed by state insurance laws, but instead are contractual tariff levels of liability authorized under Released Rates Orders of the Surface Transportation Board of the US Department of Transportation.
In addition to these options, some movers may also offer to sell, or procure for you, separate added liability insurance if you release your shipment for transportation at a value of 60 cents per pound per article (Option 2). This is not valuation coverage governed by Federal law, but optional insurance that is regulated under state law. If you purchase this separate coverage, in the event of loss or damage which is the responsibility of the mover, the mover is liable only for an amount not exceeding 60 cents per pound per article, and the balance of the loss is recoverable from the insurance company up to the amount of insurance purchased. The mover’s representative can advise you of the availability of such liability insurance and the cost. If you purchase this separate liability insurance from or through your mover, be sure to get a copy of the policy or other document at the time of purchase.