Have you received paper work from your moving company and you are wondering what the moving company valuation and insurance mean? Moving company valuation and insurance are some of the most misunderstood subjects. To help you understand these difficult and important subjects (and exactly what your options are), read the following information prepared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and offered by Diggins & ROSE Moving Systems, your local mover in New England and a long-distance and international moving agent for United Val Lines™.
There Is So Much At Stake When You Move
There’s the money you’ll spend. Plus the memories you’ll be taking from one place to another, along with your treasured possessions: furniture, family pictures, and children’s toys. When you move, your personal property (including valuables) is loaded onto a moving truck. And while most moves go smoothly, accidents do happen and some items may be lost or damaged during shipment.
Your mover is liable for the value of the goods you ask them to transport. There are, however, different levels of liability. The level you choose will determine the type and amount of reimbursement you will receive if an item is lost or damaged. Be aware of the various types of protection available, and the charges for each option. Movers, including Diggins & ROSE, are required to offer two different liability options referred to as valuation coverage: (1) Full Value Protection, and (2) Released Value. We also discuss third-party insurance as a third option.
Option 1: Full Value Protection
Under Full Value Protection, your mover is liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods in your entire shipment. This is the more comprehensive plan available for the protection of your belongings. Unless you select the alternative level of liability described below — Released Value — your mover will transport your shipment under the Full Value Protection level of liability. If any article is lost, destroyed, or damaged while in your mover’s custody, your mover will, at its discretion, offer to do one (1) of the following for each item:
Under this option, 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 (i.e., jewelry, silverware, china, furs, antiques, etc.) Ask your mover for a written explanation of this limitation before your move. The exact cost for Full Value Protection varies by mover and may be subject to various deductible levels of liability that may reduce your cost. Ask your mover for written details of their Full Value Protection plan.
Option 2: Released Value
The most economical protection available is Released Value, since it is offered at no additional charge. However, the protection is minimal. Under this option, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per article. For example, if your mover lost or damaged a 10-pound stereo component valued at $1,000, you would only receive $6.00 in compensation (60 cents x 10 pounds).
There is no additional charge for Released Value. However, you must sign a specific statement on the bill of lading or contract agreeing to it. But remember: It compensates you according to the weight of the item, not its actual value. And, if you do not select Released Value, your shipment will automatically be transported at the Full Value Protection level of liability and you will be assessed the applicable charge.
Full Value Protection and Released Value are not insurance policies governed by state insurance laws; instead, they are federal contractual tariff levels of liability authorized under Released Rates Orders of the Surface Transportation Board of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Option 3: Third-Party Insurance
If you select Released Value, some movers may also offer to sell or obtain for you separate liability insurance. The cost of this insurance is not included in the basic move and must be purchased separately by you. This is not valuation coverage governed by federal law; it is optional insurance regulated by state law.
If you purchase this coverage, the mover remains liable for the amount up to 60 cents per pound per article; but the rest of the loss is recoverable from the insurance company up to the amount of insurance you purchased. Your mover is required to issue the policy or other written record of the purchase and provide you with a copy at the time of purchase.
TIP: Before purchasing insurance, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if you’re already covered.
If You’re Moving Within Your State…
Each state may have its own rules and regulations governing moves within the state. Check with your state, county, or local consumer affairs agency — or with your state moving association if you’re moving to a new location within the same state.
Some Of Your Actions May Limit Your Mover’s Liability
Do not sign a delivery receipt for your household goods if it contains any language about releasing or discharging your mover or its agents from liability. By law, you have fifteen (15) days to file a written claim. Strike out this kind of language or refuse delivery until a proper receipt is provided.
Key Moving Term To Remember
Bill of lading. It’s the receipt for your household goods and the contract for their transportation.