Understanding Mover’s Valuation

Release vs. Full Value

Most moving companies are reputable businesses who are committed to providing their clients with exceptional services by handling all aspects of a relocation with utmost care to avoid damages. While most moves go smoothly, accidents do occur.  A moving company is liable for the value of the goods (commonly referred to as shipment) in their possession. However, there are different levels of liability.  The level you choose will determine the type and amount of reimbursement you will receive if an item is lost or damaged. There are various types of protection available and some incur additional charges. Please keep in mind, the valuation protection a moving company offers is not a form of insurance.

Valuation is the amount of liability a moving company will accept for the value of your items/shipment if damaged or lost while in the moving company’s possession.  Moving companies are not liable for damages to items a consumer packs themselves which is commonly referred to as pack by owner (PBO).

The federal government and most states dictate, a mover’s liability is limited to 60 cents, per pound, per item known as released value protection.  Released value protection provides minimal coverage and is provided to you at no charge.  In the event of damage or loss of your property while in the mover’s possession, you are compensated by the weight and not value of the damaged item.

Full value replacement comes at an additional cost to the consumer but is a much more comprehensive plan for the protection of your belongings. Under full replacement value, your mover is liable for the replacement value of the personal property being moved. If any article is lost, destroyed or damaged while in your mover’s custody, your mover will, at its discretion, offer to do one of the following:

• Repair the item
• Replace with a similar item
• Make a cash settlement for the cost of the repair or the current market replacement value

Under full replacement value, movers can limit their liability for loss or damage to articles of extraordinary value, unless you specifically list these articles on the shipping documents. An article of extraordinary value is any item whose value exceeds $100 per pound.  A consumer’s failure to disclose an article of extraordinary value within the shipment releases the moving company of liability.

The exact cost for full value protection varies by mover and are subject to various deductible levels of liability. The higher the deductible the lower the cost for full replacement value.

In addition to the valuation protection discussed above, you may purchase moving insurance from an insurance company which protects your goods in transit while in route to your new home, whether on the truck, or while in temporary storage. There are many variations of moving insurance; some policies cover all losses or damages regardless of the mover’s liability including Acts of God while others are less robust.

Some homeowners and renters’ insurance policies cover policyholders during a move while in transit or while your items are stored in a storage facility. Homeowners and renters’ insurance policies do not usually cover damages to furnishings and appliances caused by the moving company. Damages caused by a mover is covered by valuation as discussed above.

Before you move or go into short- or long-term storage, contact your insurance agent to discuss what type of coverage is available under your policy. You may want to inquire whether your insurance agent carries trip transit insurance. Trip transit insurance protects your personal property from all risks of physical loss or damage, including theft, loss, or fire while in transit, and can be extended to include temporary storage. Trip transit insurance does not cover damage due to flood.

In general, moving and storage companies are not liable for Acts of God as in damages caused by natural disasters like a hurricane. Moving and storage companies are only liable when damage is caused by the mover’s negligence. Many standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers natural disasters and may cover your items in transit as discussed above.

BEFORE CANCELLING YOUR HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE: Many consumers sell their homes and place all their items into storage until they find where they want to live. Before you cancel your homeowner’s insurance policy check with your insurance company regarding options you may have to cover your goods in storage. Keep in mind, the warehouse company is only liable for negligent acts.

For more information, Moving Rights


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