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FAQ About National Movers You Should Know

A good moving experience is based on the moving company. These frequently asked questions will work as a great filter that will ensure only the best movers are on your list and what you should expect from national moving companies.
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FAQ About National Movers You Should Know
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Are you looking to move from your state to another one? Your move is national move and you need reputable national movers to scale through the moving process.

Every year, consumers file thousands of complaints with the National Consumer Database about national movers. Grievances center on price estimates that are much lower than actual charges, missing items, late deliveries, damaged goods, and items held for ransom, and more.

Complaints about national moves can be one of the most overwhelming and difficult to resolve. It is better to perform your research to avoid any ugly experience.

Below are some of the frequently asked questions and answers that will help you facilitate a stress-free interstate move.

What information and document is a moving company required to provide?

During the estimate and/or before the execution of the order for service, the moving company must provide the following:

  • A copy of its moving estimate (written non-binding or binding)
  • A copy of the USDOT publication, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”
  • Neutral claim settlement/arbitration program information
  • Contact information for the moving company for complaints and inquiries

After execution of the order of service, the moving company must provide a copy of the order for service after you and the mover have signed and dated it.

During loading at the time of pick-up, the mover must pride a copy of the bill of lading/freight bill (and tickets of scale weight after payment of freight bill).

During unloading at delivery, the moving company must provide a copy of the completed bill of lading/freight bill (and tickets of scale weight after payment of freight bill). 

Are moving companies obligated to transport my shipment for their quoted estimate?

Not if they provide you a non-binding estimate. Ensure all estimates are given in writing. The estimate must indicate clearly whether it is binding or non-binding. If it is a binding contract, they are obligated by law to follow the estimate. Don’t forget that a moving company is not under the r requirement to estimate the shipping company, so make sure you ask for a written estimate.

If I perform my packing, is the moving company still responsible if any item is lost or broken?

Yes. The moving company often has a discount provision that enables it to repack moving boxes or cartons if they feel they have been wrongly packed – or if they will bring harm to the other shipment. The moving company is also responsible for any loss or damage that happened during transit unless the main cause for the loss or damage was because of any of these popular law defenses: 

  • An act of nature
  • An act of—or omission by—the shipping company agents
  • An act of public enemy
  • An act of public authority
  • Inherent vice

Wrong packing is categorized as an act of omission. Since the main cause for the damage must be the act of the shipping company, any supporting damage by the mover would render the popular law defense void and the mover would be liable. 

Read our Packing Tips for Smooth Moving

What types of insurance coverage will be offered to me?

Out of state moving companies often provide three different types of coverage for your belongings if they get lost or damaged. These include:

  • Limited liability: This is the basic coverage mandatory by law and doesn’t cost you a dime. Under this insurance, the moving company is responsible for $.60 per pound item for a state-to-state move.
  • Added valuation: This type makes sure you receive the amount depending on the item’s current replacement value, minus depreciation. The amount you pay for this coverage is based on the declared worth of your shipments.
  • Full value: This insurance is the most expensive and covers the exact cost of replacement or repair of an item, with no deduction for depreciation. Before buying coverage from the moving company, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to find out if your goods in transit are covered and compare plans.

What does the bill of lading mean?

The bill of lading is the agreement between you and the moving company. It should be provided to you before the moving company loads your shipments. Similar to any contract, you are responsible for reading it before you sign. Check any discrepancies with your moving company and don’t sign the bill of lading until you are completely satisfied. The bill of lading is a vital document, so keep it safe. Make sure it is with you until your belongings are delivered, all charges are paid, and settlement is received for any claims.

What is the meaning of these estimate terms?

Non-binding estimate: A non-binding moving estimate is an estimate that can change, even though these estimates should be moderately accurate and give you a general clue of the moving cost. Typically, a moving company will arrange an on-site inspection and access the shipments for the estimate. If you add items or ask for extra services, the moving company may render the initial estimate void or adjust it. The non-binding estimate must be provided in writing and indicate that it is non-binding.

110% rule: If the overall cost is beyond the amount estimated on the non-binding estimate, the moving company must deliver the shipment after payment of the estimated amount together with 10% of that amount. The moving company must then stretch the balance due on the charges for a month (30 days).

Binding estimate: This is a fixed price estimate. It is a legal contract between you and the moving company that the cost to transport the shipments will not go beyond the price agreed upon. You may still add services and the cost for those services payable at delivery. Binding contracts must be provided in writing.

What should I know as regards the pick-up and delivery dates?

Ensure the mover provides you a unique date or spread of dates on your booking and bill of lading. Don’t allow the information about these dates or spread dates to be blank. This may cause a delay in your shipment. Ensure your order for service dates is indicated on your bill of lading unless you have arranged for an alternative date or spread of days.

  • At pick-up: Make sure you get a bull of lading (not only the inventory sheet) revealing the name of the mover that is transporting your belongings, together with the address, telephone number, and MC number of the mover.
  • At delivery: It is your responsibility to accept delivery of your belongings from the first date to the final date of the delivery spread dates. Don’t rely on dates provided to you by the driver. Check your order for service or bill of lading for the agreed date.

Will I receive compensation for delayed shipment delivery?

Not necessarily. You may file a claim for inconvenience or delay, however. Add receipts for lodging and food expenses for all the days after the last day of the pick-up and/or delivery spread dates. However, the moving company is not under any obligation to compensate the shipper, so you may need court action or an arbitration program. If the moving company refuses to pay or refuses you any part of the claim, you can file a civil action within a 20year time frame of the dispute.

What happens if the moving company refuses to pick up or deliver my shipments as stated in the dates?

Moving companies are required to satisfy reasonable dispatch requirements. This implies that the transportation must be done- reasonably- during the arranged dates, as indicated on the bill of lading and order of service. Some things are way beyond the control of your movers, such that there is unfavorable weather, which may be acceptable for the delay.

What paperwork do I need?

In most cases, you will need just the original estimate, bill of lading, moving agreement, and inventory pages. Each should be duly dated and signed by you and your mover, and both parties should obtain at least one copy for their records. It is important to get familiar with the terminology before signing any document, and there should not be any blank areas. You will also need to sign for valuation on the contract. This is important since it determines the level of liability the moving company has for belongings that may get damaged or destroyed during the moving process.


It is usually a brilliant idea to obtain quotes from a minimum of three trustworthy moving companies and compare. Together with other items, ensure the mover is licensed, reputable, and has an adequate level of insurance. We hope this write-up provides you a good start but you should always perform your research, including checking the FMCSA website, and locate the perfect fit for you and your moving situation.     

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