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Submit a Change of Address Form  |  The Mover's Liability for Loss or Damage

Planning Your Move

Plan Ahead

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.

Check out our moving planner, Countdown to Moving Day, to be sure you don't forget anything.

Packing

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.

Your mover is responsible for the loss of or damage to any carton he takes possession of, regardless of who packs the carton. However, if you pack you own cartons, your mover is not responsible for damage to the contents of such cartons unless there is external damage to the carton itself, which, in turn, causes damage to the contents. Also, you mover has the right to refuse a carton that you have packed if he feels that it was packed improperly or it is was over-packed and weighs too much for the carton to properly hold the items and be safely transported.

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 when it comes to placing a value on the articles in 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 consumers should be aware of the amount of protection provided and the charges for each option.

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.

Moving Day

  • 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.

    Delivery

    Generally, your belongings will be transported in a van along with those of other families who are moving in the same general direction. This helps to keep your costs down. Delivery is made on any of the several consecutive days agreed upon before the move began. Make sure the mover knows how to contact you to schedule actual delivery. If you cannot be reached at destination, the mover may place your shipment in storage to avoid delaying other shipments. This can mean additional charges for storage and handling.

    Upon delivery, check your goods for damage. Do not sign the inventory until you have inspected your furniture and the exterior of the cartons.

    Claims

    If any of your household goods are damaged or lost, report the facts promptly and in detail on the van driver's copy (original) of the inventory sheet before you sign it. If you notice damage after unpacking, a claim must be filed within nine months after delivery. However, it is to your advantage to report damage as soon as possible. The mover must acknowledge receipt of your claim within 30 days and must deny or make an offer within 120 days of receipt of your claim. When making a claim or considering a settlement offer, keep in mind the amount of liability that you declared on your shipment. For example, if the value declared on your shipment was $5,000, the mover's maximum liability for loss or damage to the articles in your shipment is $5,000. Claims for more than this amount will be declined because they are in excess of the mover's liability that you declared on your shipment.

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