Before You Move
Move Your ...
Placing a Value on Your Shipment
All interstate moving companies are required to assume liability for the value of the goods
which 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.
Basically, most movers offer four different levels of liability under the terms of their
tariffs and pursuant to federally approved Release Rates Orders which govern the moving
industry. These four levels (options) are described below.
Option 1: Released Value
This is the most economical protection option available. This no-additional-cost option
provides 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. 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.
Option 2: Declared Value
Under this option, the valuation of your shipment is based on the total weight of the
shipment times $1.25 per pound. For example, a 4000 pound shipment would have
a maximum liability value of $5000.00. Any loss or damage claim under this option
is settled based upon the depreciated value of the lost or damaged item(s) up to
the maximum liability value based on the weight of the entire shipment. Under this option,
if you shipped a 10 pound stereo component that originally cost $1000, the mover
would be liable for up to $1000, based on the depreciated value of the item. Unless you
specifically agree to other arrangements, the mover is required to assume liability for
the entire shipment based on this option. Also, the mover is entitled to charge you
$7.00 for each $1000 (or fraction thereof) of liability assumed for shipments
transported under this option. In the example above, the valuation charge for a
shipment valued at $5000 would be $35.00.
Option 3: Lump Sum Value
Under this option, which is similar to Option 2, if the value of your shipment exceeds
$1.25 per pound times the weight of the shipment, you may obtain additional liability
coverage from the mover. You do this by declaring a specific dollar value for your
shipment. The amount you declare must exceed $1.25 per pound times the weight of the
shipment. The amount of value that you declare is subject to the same valuation
charge ($7.00 per $1000) as described in Option 2. For example if you declare that
your 4000 pound shipment is worth $10,000 (instead of the $5000 under Option 2), the
mover will charge you $7.00 for each $1000 of declared value, or $70.00, for this increased
level of liability. If you ship articles that are unusually expensive, you may wish to
declare this extra value. You must make this declaration in writing on the bill of lading.
Option 4: Full Value Protection
Many interstate movers offer a fourth level of added-value protection, often referred to
as "full value protection" or "full replacement value". If you elect to purchase full
value protection, articles that are lost, damaged or destroyed will be either repaired,
replaced with like items or a cash settlement will be made for the current market
replacement value, regardless of the age of the lost or damaged item. Unlike the other
options, 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 which may reduce your cost. Ask your mover for the specific
details of its plan.
Under these four options, 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. 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.
These optional levels of liability are not insurance agreements which are governed by
state insurance laws, but instead are authorized Released Rates Orders of the Surface
Transportation Board of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In addition to the above options, your mover can also sell you, or procure for you,
separate liability insurance if you release your shipment for transportation at a value
of 60 cents per pound per article (Option 1). Then, 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 the insurance purchased). The mover's
representative can advise you of the availability of such liability insurance and the cost.
If you purchase liability insurance from or through your mover, the mover is required
to issue a policy or other written record of the purchase and to provide you with a
copy of the policy or other document at the time of purchase. If the mover fails to comply
with this requirement, the mover becomes fully liable for any claim for loss or damage
attributed to its negligence.