Being an insured and licensed mover means also maintaining multiple forms of registration, both on a federal and state level. State registrations vary greatly, depending on your exact location. A simple Google search will yield this information fairly quickly. Some states have comprehensive regulations which they force movers to follow. Some others enforce tariff regulations. Still, some other states have no regulations or governing body in place, and only ask that their movers adhere to federal statutes.
All professional movers carrying goods across state lines are required to maintain a valid USDOT number and an up-to-date registration with the FMCSA. Clients can search a company’s valid registration using this link. Along with confirming a company’s legality, this also provides a comprehensive complaint history. This is a great place to start when looking into an operator’s actual track record.
Documentation of all of the above should be made available to all moving clients during a free quote process, or before the beginning of a move. This is a standard request that those in the moving industry will fully expect before any job is booked. If a mover hedges or deflects when you ask for this documentation, then it is a huge red flag, and you should book with someone else.
Check State Regulations Around Your New Home
As a rule, when moving to a new state, you should familiarize yourself with its laws and regulations. Most states will have their own such laws regarding plants. Many of them will simply allow you to bring your potted plant along with you if you can produce a certificate saying that the plant is pest-free and healthy. The US Department of Agriculture can do this for you. Many of the states with steeper, tougher regulations – Florida, Arizona, California, etc., have locations for this agency.
Further still, some states will have ban lists for invasive species, which you should definitely check before transporting a plant over any state lines.
What Types of Insurance do Movers Carry?
Workers’ compensation insurance is an extremely important policy for movers to hold. This kind of insurance covers workers and homeowners alike, in the event of an injury on the job. Without this coverage, you would be liable for any worker injury sustained in your home. This would lead to you being responsible for a potentially hefty payout.
Released liability, or general liability insurance, is the baseline insurance that all movers carry. This is equally true for intrastate or local moves and long-distance relocations. It represents the minimum type of coverage which any mover is able to offer, and equates to $0.60 per pound, per item.
So, if your new iPad (currently around $400 for the latest model) should happen to break due to a mover error, you would be entitled to a payout of $0.60. This is regardless of any receipts you can produce to prove its value. If you did not purchase more than the basic coverage included in your move price, then you will not be paid the full valuation of broken or lost goods.
Full Valuation Coverage
If you’re willing to pay for it, you can purchase full value coverage from your mover. This option varies in cost and scope, but the cost will typically come out to around 1% of the total value of your items. If this is something that interests you, it should feature prominently in any estimate you schedule.
Should I Purchase Additional Insurance?
All movers offer full value protection on all goods transported. This insurance coverage is available at additional cost, however. Each mover’s offerings vary, and will usually have set prices for different tiers based on the replacement value of your items. This valuation coverage is recommended for anyone whose move includes high-value items.
That said, the baseline insurance option which moving companies offer along with their basic move price is not ideal for most people who are relocating to a new home. Additional coverage is always recommended.
What Are My Coverage Options?
Other than full value coverage directly from your mover, third-party insurance may be your best option. If you’re purchasing from a provider that doesn’t require an appraiser to go through your home, then you will need to conduct a full inventory on your own. This will help you to determine what level of insurance to purchase. Completing this inventory will be a huge help to you throughout the moving process as well.
You may explore other options, such as going through your homeowners policy for protection of your goods. However, most protection offered through a homeowners’ or renters insurance policy will not be comprehensive enough to give you the kind of protection you may want. Many insurance providers can offer moving insurance policies to fit your specific needs. Calling around and looking at reviews for different companies will be well worth your time.
Moving Insurance FAQ
Are there any valuable items that movers will not take or insure?
Typically, family heirlooms will not be covered by moving company insurance of any kind. There are always exceptions, of course. Moving companies will move these items, but should always be informed of special situations or considerations to be made regarding some of their cargo. Most of the time, you will have to go through a third party to get these items adequately insured. If the dollar value is lower, and if it is a smaller item, you should take it with you yourself.
How do I follow up on an insurance claim?
You should make a note of any damages that occur, and try to take pictures for the sake of having proof. If you have any items of extraordinary value, then taking pictures of them before your move (for comparison) would be wise. Tell your movers upon completion of services rendered follow up with their office the very next business day to ensure that your claim is remembered. If you have insurance from a third party, you should follow up with them as well at this time.
How do I know if my long-distance movers lost some of my things?
For interstate moves, movers will keep a detailed bill of lading of all goods loaded onto a truck. They compile this list at the load-up, and cross-check it at the unload. This is especially helpful for them when unloading a shipment from a truck carrying multiple moves. You can ask for a copy of this document at any time. To be sure that all of your goods make it, you should ask for a copy of this after your things are loaded, and stand by the truck as they are taken off.
How do I know what the current market value of my items is?
Before covering any amount of cargo, insurance companies will have an appraiser view the entirety of your shipment. They will give an approximate value (or range of value) which will determine what liability coverage policy you will ultimately buy.
I'm trying to save money by booking with a much cheaper mover. Is the lower price a red flag?
Typically, fly-by-night operators can offer such low prices because they are uninsured (no monthly payments) and they pay their workers low wages. A simple inquiry for proof of insurance and registration should clear up any confusion.