1. Know your rights and responsibilities before selecting a household goods carrier (mover) or household goods broker (broker)
Before moving your belongings to a new state, movers and brokers are required to give you the booklet entitled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. This booklet will help you understand the documents that a mover will ask you to sign and explain your rights if your items are lost or damaged.
2. Learn to spot the red flags of moving fraud.
3. Be sure the mover and broker are registered with FMCSA
Check to see if the moving company is registered, as well as for insurance information and any complaint records, by searching our database of registered movers and brokers, or calling FMCSA at (800) 832-5660.
All interstate household goods movers and brokers must be registered with FMCSA. Make sure the mover you select has been assigned a U.S. DOT number, is registered with FMCSA to allow them to transport household goods between states and has the proper level of insurance. Make sure the broker you select has been assigned a U.S. DOT number, is registered with FMCSA to allow them to broker household goods shipments between states and has the proper level of insurance.
Avoid movers and brokers that do not show U.S. DOT numbers in their advertisements.
Be informed and aware of your options when selecting a reputable mover or broker. While most household moves go smoothly, there are dishonest or “rogue” movers and brokers you should be aware of.
4. Read and understand all information provided by a mover or broker
The mover should provide you with the following basic written documents as part of your move:
|EstimateThe estimate should clearly describe, in writing, all charges for services the mover will perform. Make sure the estimate is signed by the mover. Do not accept verbal estimates.|
|Order for ServiceThe order for service is a list of all the services the mover will perform and shows the dates your household goods will be picked up and delivered.|
|Bill of LadingThe bill of lading is a contract between you and the mover and a receipt of your belongings. You should be given a partially completed copy of the bill of lading before the mover leaves the residence at origin.|
|Inventory ListThe inventory is the receipt showing each item you shipped and its condition. Be sure you receive a written copy of the inventory after your household goods are loaded, and that you agree with its description of your household goods’ condition.|
5. The broker should provide you with the following written documents as part of your move:
|Estimate – The estimate should clearly describe, in writing, all charges for services the mover will perform. Make sure the estimate is signed by the mover. Do not accept verbal estimates.|
|Order for Service – The order for service is a list of all the services the mover will perform and shows the dates your household goods will be picked up and delivered.|
6. Do NOT sign blank documents
Review each document to ensure all information is correct before signing anything.
7. Make sure you understand the type of liability you agree to.
Liability means that movers are required to cover the cost of any goods that are lost or damaged during your move. However, there are two different levels of liability for interstate moves.
Ask yourself if 60 cents per pound enough coverage for all your household goods in case the unexpected happens. Your mover must offer you the option of Full Value Protection, which will provide you with the replacement value of lost or damaged goods.
You may also purchase insurance from a third-party insurance company. Before purchasing third-party insurance, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if you’re already covered.
8. Supervise the process.
Watch the loading and unloading of your household goods. If you are not available, ask someone you know to act on your behalf.