Regulations concerning a mover’s contractual liability vary among states, so please be sure to learn about the options available for your move. Your state mover’s association or regulatory agency can help. Following are examples that would apply for an interstate (crossing the state line) move.
When using movers, whether it is corporate movers, or starving student movers, every mover is responsible for liability for the value of goods when they perform your move. There are different levels of liability and the customer should be aware of the different options that are available to them and different levels of protection available. Most movers, even the meathead movers, will offer anywhere from 2-4 levels of protection depending on their tariffs and according to the Surface Transportation Boards Orders which is the governing body of the moving industry.
OPTION 1: RELEASED VALUE: This is the least expensive option for the consumer. This is provided to the consumer at no additional charge. Under this plan, the mover takes responsibility for no more than 60 cents per lb per article. Claims whether if it a damage or loss are settled on a per lb basis. For example if you have a 200lb piece of furniture that is a complete valued of $1000, and is damaged or lost, all you are entitled to would be $120 with this option. This option is very limited, and you should weigh all of your options before selecting this option.
OPTION 2: DECLARED VALUE: Under this plan the total pounds of the shipment is x $1.25 per pound. For example a 2000lb shipment has a maximum liability of $2500. And damage or loss under this plan is based on depreciated value of the item. Under this plan if you had piece of furniture that was 10 pounds, and was originally valued at $500, the mover would be liable for up to $500 based on depreciated value of the item. If you do not agree to other terms of valuation, the mover must assume liability based on the whole shipment under this option. Also the mover will charge you $7.00 per $1000.00 of liability assumed for moves under this plan.
$5000.00 of depreciated value= $7.00×5=$35.00 (this is what you pay under this protection).
With this option your items are covered based on depreciated value.
OPTION3: LUMP SUM VALUE
This option is similar to option 2 but the value of your shipment must exceed $1.25 per pound times the pounds of your items being moved. You can purchase additional liability from your mover. You must designate a dollar amount for the shipment. IF you have pieces that are high value items, you may wish to choose this option. You must also indicate this in writing on the bill of lading prior to your movers starting your move.
OPTION 4: FULL VALUE PROTECTION/FULL REPLACEMENT VALUE:
Many movers will offer this level of protection known as full replacement value, or full value protection. This is the most expensive, and there may or may not be a deductible involved with this (usually $0, $250, or $500). If you have full replacement coverage, and the item in question is lost or damaged, items will get repaired, replaced or cashed out for current market value. Depreciation does not come in effect with this option.
If a moving company doesn’t offer this option (probably because of a local move) some states will not allow full replacement value for local moves, there are 3rd party brokers that will sell this.