What if something is damaged during my move?
There's a lot at stake when you move. There's the money you'll spend. The memories you're taking from one place to another. And, your treasured possessions—furniture, family pictures, heirlooms, antiques, children's toys… When you move, your personal property (including valuables) is loaded onto a moving truck. And while most moves go smoothly, accidents do happen and some items may be lost or damaged during shipment.
Your mover is liable for the value of the goods you ask them to transport. There are, however, different levels of liability. The level you choose will determine the type and amount of reimbursement you will receive if an item is lost or damaged. Be aware of the various types of protection available and the charges for each option.
The two different levels of liability movers are required to provide are explained below and in Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move, a booklet movers are required by Federal regulations to provide to interstate moving customers. Be sure to read this information carefully and follow the instructions provided to declare a value on your shipment.
What are your options?
If you select Released Value, some movers may also offer to sell or obtain for you separate liability insurance. The cost of this insurance is not included in the basic move and must be purchased separately by you. This is not valuation coverage governed by Federal law—it is optional insurance regulated by state law.
If you purchase this coverage, the mover remains liable for the amount up to 60 cents per pound per article; but the rest of the loss is recoverable from the insurance company up to the amount of insurance you purchased. Your mover is required to issue the policy or other written record of the purchase and provide you with a copy at the time of purchase.
You also have the option of purchasing insurance from a third-party insurance company. Before purchasing insurance, check your homeowner's insurance policy to see if you're already covered.
If you're moving within your state...
Each state may have its own rules and regulations governing moves within the state. Check with your state, county or local consumer affairs agency or state moving association if you're moving to a new location within the same state.
Keep in mind...
Some of your actions may limit your mover's liability. These include:
- Packing perishable, dangerous or hazardous materials in your household goods without your mover's knowledge.
- Packing your own boxes. You may consider packing your own household goods articles to reduce your costs, but if the articles you pack are damaged, it may be more difficult to establish your claim against the mover for the boxes you pack.
- Choosing Released Value coverage when your household goods are valued at more than 60 cents per pound per article.
- Failing to notify your mover in writing about articles of extraordinary value.
- Signing a delivery receipt for your household goods if it contains any language about releasing or discharging your mover or its agents from liability. By law, you have nine (9) months to file a written claim. Strike out this kind of language or refuse delivery until a proper receipt is provided.
- Failing to report loss and damage promptly. You have nine (9) months following either the date of delivery, or the date on which the shipment should have been delivered, to file a written claim.
Interstate movers are required to participate in a dispute resolution or arbitration program to address your loss and damage claims. If your mover does not provide you with information on its program, ask for it—movers are required to provide a concise, easy-to-read summary.