Moving is an inexact science, which means that sometimes, even with the best of precautions, things can get damaged. What does that mean for you as a customer if a mover damages something?
File a Claim
The first thing you should do when you find a damage is contact your moving company. You have no less than 120 days from the time of delivery to make a claim. It’s usually best to file a claim before writing a bad review; companies will be much more likely to negotiate with you.
What is a Mover’s Liability?
Moving liability is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the moving industry. It’s important to know that moving companies cannot sell insurance because they are not licensed insurance brokers. Some movers offer full value protection at an extra charge. Any mover you work with should be able to direct you to an insurance provider, and you can also check into buying an umbrella policy from your insurance broker.
That doesn’t mean you’re left high and dry if you don’t want to pay for insurance, but you probably won’t be happy with the coverage either. For long-distance movers, federal law mandates that movers are liable for just $.60 per pound per item. That means that if your mover drops your $800, 50 pound television, you’ll receive just $30. Most state laws are the same.
What are the Exceptions?
According to federal law, these are the exceptions to movers’ liability:
- Packing perishable, dangerous or hazardous materials in your household goods without your mover’s knowledge.
- Packing your own boxes. You may consider packing your own household goods articles to reduce your costs, but if the articles you pack are damaged, it may be more difficult to establish your claim against the mover for the boxes you pack.
- Choosing Released Value coverage when your household goods are valued at more than 60 cents per pound per article.
- Failing to notify your mover in writing about articles of extraordinary value.
- Signing 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 nine (9) months to file a written claim. Strike out this kind of language or refuse delivery until a proper receipt is provided.
- Failing to report loss and damage promptly. You have nine (9) months following either the date of delivery, or the date on which the shipment should have been delivered, to file a written claim.