What People Moving from Austin Ought to Understand about the Valuation of Their Belongings.

The valuation of goods being hauled in any relocation of a person, family, or business from Austin to some other location – or from anywhere to anywhere – is stringently regulated by the federal government.

man putting books in a moving boxIt is true, for the most part, that your moving company is legally liable for any loss of or harm to your household goods during transit. It’s also liable for loss and damage while its crews are caring for your household goods in satisfaction of any other Austin moving services you purchased. Such services should be described on the bill of lading: packing, unpacking, disassembly and reassembly, for instance.

There are, however, limits to your moving company’s liability. Those limits are determined by the federal Surface Transportation Board’s Released Rates Order. You can obtain a current copy of it here.

The critical thing is, know what choices you have for the safety of your household goods. And know your Austin moving company. Just because a mover makes it known his firm is “fully insured and bonded” is no insurance that your goods themselves are automatically covered. Also, your local mover being related to a preeminent national van line is no promise that you’re protected either. In both cases, you could be required to acquire additional third-party liability insurance. Your mover could offer to sell it to you, but he’s not required by law to sell it to you. Ask questions when you first discuss your needs in order to learn  exactly what’s necessary.

Keep this in mind when you’re researching your choices here in Austin: Two different measures of moving-company liability pertain to interstate moves – Full Replacement-Value Protection and Waiver of Full Replacement-Value Protection, or Released Value.

 A-1 Freeman Moving Group Austin Moving Terms Infographic


To be sure, Full Replacement-Value Protection provides you with the most all-embracing coverage. But selecting it means the price of your move will be higher. With this measuer of liability (subject to allowable exceptions in your mover’s tariff), your mover will either make whatever repairs are needed to reinstate a damaged article to the condition it was in when he received it from you … or he’ll replace it more. Whatever valuation you and your mover agree upon, it has to appear on your mover’s tariff. Note also that movers are allowed to limit their Full Replacement-Value liability for loss or damage of goods valued exceedingly high. Those would be goods valued at $100 or more per pound, such as jewelry, antiques, silverware, china, oriental rugs, and so on. Get an explanation of all this from your mover. Ultimately, though, it falls on your shoulders to make the appropriate declaration.

If you opt for a Waiver of Full Replacement-Value Protection, or Released Value, you will, of course, get minimal liability protection. But it won’t cost you a dime. What this level of protection does is limit your mover’s liability to no more than 60 cents per pound, per article. Certainly, that won’t provide you with enough of a reimbursement to replace any possession valued higher than 60 cents per pound! Things like stereo equipment, gym equipment, computer hardware, and computer software are therefore much more at risk. That’s something to ponder before you sign a contract!

You might, though, have one additional option: your present homeowner’s policy. Go over it and speak with your insurance agent to see if there’s anything in it regarding coverage of belongings during a relocation. If there is, you might find the minimum level of mover liability coverage – Released Value – satisfactory.

Just make sure you understand what level of protection your moving company is including in his quote: Full Protection or Released Value. That way, there won’t be any surprises with your move – or at least no[[ne that you haven’t considered!


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