Hiring a moving company should be convenient and stress-free. Although most trips go smoothly, there’s always a chance that accidents can happen and may damage your possessions while in transit.
As a consumer, you have rights and responsibilities when this happens. Make sure that you are well informed to come up with the best course of action. Here are some of the things you need to know from the FMCSA’s booklet, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”.
1. Your Mover’s Liability and Your Claims
The value and safekeeping of your belongings is the moving company’s responsibility. Interstate moving companies should have different liability options that apply to interstate moves, as mandated by Federal law. The different liability options are Full Value Protection, Released Value Protection, and Third-Party Insurance.
A. Full Value Protection
The Full Value Protection states that the moving company is responsible for compensating for the value of the lost or damaged goods. This is more expensive than the Released Value Protection as it offers more comprehensive protection on your belongings.
If any of your items are lost, destroyed, or damaged, your mover will either offer the following:
- Item repair
- Item replacement
- Cover the repair or replacement cost
You should get the moving company’s Full Value Protection plan specifics in writing since the moving company and the deductible levels of liability that can lower your total cost can affect the actual cost of the plan.
B. Released Value Protection
Released Value Protection is the most economical and inexpensive option. The moving company offers minimal protection with no additional charge. This option rewards the consumers based on the weight of the item and not the actual value. The carrier is responsible for up to 60 cents per pound per item.
C. Third-Party Insurance
If you purchase Released Insurance, some movers may offer to sell you separate liability insurance. You must purchase this insurance separately since it is not a part of the standard move.
2. Reducing Your Mover’s Normal Liability
A. Loss and Damage Claims
You have the right to claim compensation for loss or damage from your carrier. You must make a claim within 9 months from the date of delivery or from the date the shipment is due to be delivered, in case lost.
The damage report must be submitted in writing to the moving company or the moving company’s third-party company for the claim processing.
The moving company should send you a confirmation receipt within 30 days. After that, you have 120 days to make yourself available to the carrier. If a claim cannot be processed or resolved within 120 days, carriers may be granted a 60-day extension.
B. Delay Claims
If you have a contract with a moving company for a warranty for pick-up and delivery services, late claims will be processed.
3. Resolving Disputes
Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets procedures for loss and damage claims, the organization cannot handle such claims on your behalf. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your mover, you have the right to request arbitration from your dispatcher.
Interstate movers are required to participate in the arbitration program to address your loss and damage claims. This can be a cheaper alternative to filing a lawsuit.
To minimize the risk of such incidents from happening, be sure you understand the mover’s responsibility for loss or damage. Request an explanation for the type of liability you sign up for. Most importantly, look for a reputable moving company to save you from the hassle of it all. The Home Pros can help you get a free quote from credible moving companies.