Understanding Moving Company Liability

shutterstock 322331957 Understanding Moving Company Liability


You would not believe how many claims go unmade because people just are not sure what their moving company is liable for. You may also be quite surprised at how many people are extremely disappointed when they find out that their insurance coverage is not enough to cover damage or loss to their belongings. Learning about insurance and liability is not very exciting, but it is important. Even the most experienced movers from the best moving companies have accidents with valuables from time-to-time.

Licensed and Insured

First things first; before you hire a moving company it is vital that you make sure it is licensed and insured. All reputable companies are licensed with the U.S. Department of Transportation, and should have a US DOT number. You can request this number and verify it in the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System. You can also use the Household Goods Program through the Department of Transportation to find company name, fleet size, insurance information, outstanding complaints, etc.

Released Value Protection Coverage

The first thing you need to know about released value protection is that it is not enough insurance to cover damage or loss. Most movers offer $0.60 per pound per item. At first this doesn’t sound all that bad, right? Then, you realize that 30-pound flat screen is only going to get you $18, which should make you cringe a little when you think about what you paid for it. This is the basic coverage that is included with your move. So, before you just agree to it because you don’t want to spend more money or talk about insurance, you should think about how much money you will be out if there is an accident with any of your belongings or the entire truck.

Full Value Protection Coverage

If you are like most, you are moving on a budget. So, the last thing you probably want is to pay more for this coverage. However, if you unfortunately need it, you will be extremely grateful you splurged. Full value protection means the moving company reimburses items damaged, destroyed, or lost. They may offer you one of the solutions for each item being reimbursed, including:

  • Have your item fixed.
  • Receive a similar replacement.
  • Receive a cash settlement equal to current market value. 

It is important to understand that some moving companies put a limit on their liability. So, if you have items that value well over $100 per pound, you will want to create an inventory list and find out if you need to have these items covered individually. Jewelry, china, antiques, and fine art are all prime examples.

It should also be noted that a moving company might deny a claim, if it is found that you had them transport dangerous items. This includes items that are corrosive, explosive, or flammable, such as loaded weapons, pesticides and fertilizers, gasoline and motor oil, paint, lighter fluid, acids, and chemicals. Always make sure you recycle or dispose of these items before a move. If you are not sure how to dispose of certain items, contact the Environmental Protection Agency.