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What is Moving Company Liability?

Hiring a licensed and reliable NYC moving company is a must for a successful relocation. Since you trust all of your household items to a moving company, naturally, you want them to be professional and provide safety for those items, as well as peace of mind to you in case anything goes wrong. Yes, unfortunately, mistakes can happen. Even with the utmost care, you have to count on the human factor as well. These are all perfectly valid reasons to get moving company insurance. Use it to protect your move in case of any damage or loss. To help you understand the difference between movers’ liability and insurance, we’ve created this simple guide. In the following text, we’ll cover some basics that should help you understand what moving company liability is.

What is Moving Company Liability?

Federal law governs moving company liability. Insured movers NYC must have a certificate of insurance for moving and are obliged to offer you full value protection and released protection. These two basic types of movers’ liability should always be presented to you and they don’t present types of insurance policies but the obligations instead. So, a mover is obliged by law to offer and explain both options to you. It’s up to you to choose the one you prefer. After you decide on which option you want to go for, you’ll then get a different amount for lost or damaged goods.

To make sure you make the best decision, take time to understand both full value protection and released protection. It can make a big difference and impact your moving process greatly. Also, keep in mind that every mover has to provide a “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet. You should always read it for a better understanding of your rights as a customer as well as your responsibilities towards moving service providers.

Your Rights And Responsibilities When You Move - A Booklet Front Page
Check the booklet by yourself at the FMCSA website

Difference Between Full Value Protection and Released Protection

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to learn a bit more about each of these obligatory tariffs.

Full Value Coverage

In case you don’t choose the other option, your moving company will apply for full value protection automatically. According to this tariff, the mover must reimburse you in case they damage or lost your shipment during the moving process. In order to reimburse you, they’ll present you with three different options:

  • Fixing an item
  • Getting another item similar to lost or damaged one
  • Paying in cash – the amount necessary to fix the item

This option works well in some cases while it’s not so good in certain situations. For example, if you’re moving high-value items, you must be aware that movers can limit their liability regarding valuable possessions. In case you’re moving family heirlooms, high-end jewelry pieces, art, or anything else that costs more than $100 per pound, it’s better if you get suitable moving insurance in advance. Even though the full coverage protection should apply to the entire shipment, it often doesn’t include covering extremely valuable items. The most important thing to remember here is that you must ask and sign the released value protection. If you don’t, they will go with the full protection automatically.

Certificate Of Moving Company Liability Insurance
Certificate of liability insurance is a must-have for every reliable moving company

Released Value Protection

As mentioned before, movers are required by law to offer this option to you as well. No extra charges can be applied for this type of movers’ liability. However, there’s a catch – it only covers $0.60 per pound per item, which doesn’t do much for you. The reason why it doesn’t do much is that it covers only based on the weight and not based on the value of your item. To understand this better, let’s take an example. Let’s say that your four-pound laptop gets damaged during relocation – you’ll get only $0.60 for each pound so you’ll only get about $2.4 as reimbursement.

So the released value protection will not oblige your mover to consider the fact that your laptop is worth more than $1000, it will only require reimbursing $0.60 per pound coverage. So why would you go for this type of coverage then? Because it’s a good basis for third-party insurance which will explain further in the next section.

Liability and Third-party Insurance

In case you have valuable items in your household, you’ll want to get additional insurance and make sure your items are covered in case of damage or loss. If you go for insurance, the released value protection will still apply and the rule of $0.60 will still be valid but you will also have the rest of the amount covered by that insurance. The bottom line is that you should always go for third-party insurance when moving valuables.

Can Movers Limit Their Liability?

The short answer is – yes. While the law requires a moving company to offer you full value protection and released value protection, guarantying that you will get reimbursement in case of mishaps, that reimbursement is not always helpful. That’s because movers can limit their liability when it comes to high-value belongings. Next, released protection is only valid if movers are providing packing services to you. So, if you decide to pack on your own, you won’t be able to get reimbursed in case of damage. Also, if you moved dangerous substances, you won’t be able to be reimbursed. To prevent this, keep in mind that every mover has their own non-allowable items list which can be similar but you’ll still have to check with your moving company to get their list.

Non-allowable Items List - Graphics
Always check for non-allowable item lists directly with your movers

Moving Company Liability Issues

It’s worth knowing that you are able to file a complaint if you experience any issues. In that case, you’ll have to submit a timely notification of defects and damage amount, but you should get familiar with more details about how to handle moving company insurance claims. On the other hand, if you have legal protection insurance, your insurer will help you in making your claim.