The valuation of goods being trucked in any transfer of a person, family, or business from Austin to some other location – or from anywhere to anywhere – is strictly regulated by the federal government.
To be clear, your moving company is, in most cases, legally liable for any loss of or injury to your belongings at any time during the haul. It’s also liable for loss and damage while its crews are handling your belongings in fulfillment of any other Austin moving services for which you contracted. Such services should be identified on the bill of lading: packing, unpacking, disassembly and reassembly, for example.
There are, however, limits to your moving company’s liability. Those limits are established by the federal Surface Transportation Board’s Released Rates Order. You can examine a current copy of it here.
The important thing is, know what choices are accessible to you for the security of your household goods. And know your Austin moving company. Just because a mover makes it known his company is “fully insured and bonded” is no insurance that your goods themselves are automatically covered. Also, your local mover being related to a well-known national van line is no promise that you’re protected either. In both events, you might find it necessary to get get hold of additional third-party liability insurance. Your mover may offer to sell it to you, but he’s not required by law to do so. Ask questions up front to learn exactly what’s necessary.
Keep this in mind when you’re looking into your various avenues here in Austin: Two different degrees of moving-company liability apply to interstate moves – Full Replacement-Value Protection and Waiver of Full Replacement-Value Protection, or Released Value.
Clearly, Full Replacement-Value Protection provides you with the most all-embracing coverage. But selecting it means your move will cost you more. With this degree of liability (subject to allowable exceptions in your mover’s tariff), your mover will either arrange for whatever repairs are required to return a damaged piece to the condition it was in when he received it from you … or he’ll don’t object to paying more. Whatever valuation you and your mover come to terms with, it has to be noted on your mover’s tariff. Note also that movers are granted authority to limit their Full Replacement-Value liability for loss or damage of items valued exceedingly high. Those would be pieces valued at $100 or more per pound, such as jewelry, antiques, silverware, china, oriental rugs, and so forth. Get further details on all this from your mover. Ultimately, though, it falls on your shoulders to declare accurately.
If you go for a Waiver of Full Replacement-Value Protection, or Released Value, you will, of course, be getting minimal liability protection. But you’ll pay nothing for it. What this level of protection does is limit your mover’s liability to no more than 60 cents per pound, per article. Obviously, that’s not going to provide you with enough of a reimbursement to replace any piece valued at more than 60 cents per pound! Items like stereo equipment, gym equipment, computer hardware, and computer software are thus much more at risk. That’s something to ponder before you sign a contract!
You could, though, have one more option: your current homeowner’s policy. Review it and speak with your insurance agent to discover if there’s anything in it regarding coverage of possessions during a relocation. If so, you could find the minimum level of mover liability coverage – Released Value – sufficient.
Just make sure you’re fully apprised of what level of protection your moving company is including in his quote: Full Protection or Released Value. That way, you should be completely prepared for nearly anything your move throws at you!
Request a free quote