Moving Company Insurance Policies

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Is a Moving Company Liable for Damaging My Possessions?

Yes, federal law does require all moving companies to provide a minimum amount of coverage to your possessions when you move.  However, the amount is usually minimal.  If you are crossing state lines, then a moving company is liable for 60 cents per pound of your possessions.  If you are moving within the state, then each state has its own minimum, but it is usually around 30 cents per pound.

Since the weight of items for an average move ranges from about 1 ton (small apartment) to 7 tons (large house), this works out to between $1,200 to $9,000 of protection.  Considering an average TV weighs about 10 lbs, should the movers smash it, they would be liable for only $6, obviously far less than the replacement value.  This is why you should very carefully consider purchasing additional insurance when hiring a moving company.

What Kind of Additional Insurance Can I Get?

Federal law requires that movers offer these three kinds of insurance:

Are There Any Other Protections I Can Take?

Some states do not hold moving companies liable for anything they do not pack themselves, so you should ask your company what its policies are in that field, and pack by hand only your less expensive items.  Also, you should always research your moving company thoroughly before entrusting your possessions to them, as the industry is rife with scammers and extortionists.

If you still own your previous home, your possessions may be covered by homeowners insurance, which is far more protective than any of the above policies.  However, since most people move only after they sell their home, it may not apply.  Be sure to contact your homeowners insurance representative to learn more. 

Do I Need an Attorney?

It can be very difficult to successfully sue a moving company if something goes wrong.  If you have suffered damages from a moving company, or they refuse to deliver/have lost some of your items, a skilled attorney will be essential in getting your items or damages back.  The federal laws involved are extremely complicated, so you should contact an attorney immediately who can explain exactly what sort of rights and coverage you have. 

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Last Modified: 11-22-2011 04:41 PM PST

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