If you’re preparing to move to another state, you have your work cut out for you.
The challenges of an interstate move are inherently different and you should do your best to prepare for the tasks ahead. Before you pack your entire life into a cardboard box, you will need to find a moving company you can entrust with your belongings.
Federal and state regulations hold interstate moving companies to a different standard than local movers and it’s important that you do too.
It shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that interstate moving companies are regulated differently than local movers considering the extra distance and risk covered by an out-of-state move.
To ensure you are aware of our rights, interstate moving companies are mandated to provide you with a booklet published by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, entitled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.
Regulators impose a number of special standards upon interstate moving companies to keep them compliant with federal and state laws. These laws are written to ensure the safe, legal transit of your belongings.
At the very least, you should ensure that a mover holds interstate operating authority before letting them take possession of your property. Here’s how to tell whether your movers are qualified:
Before hiring a moving company for your interstate move, you’ll want to make sure you are dealing with a reputable, licensed provider with interstate operating authority. Even though most moving companies follow the letter of the law, fraudulent companies work hard to find their way into unsuspecting mover’s homes every day.
Start your search by qualifying a number of moving companies. Take time to examine reputations, business practices and compliance with the law. Read reviews and check with the Better Business Bureau before contracting with a provider. Resources like Google and Yelp can also reveal a wealth of information about dishonest movers.
Take special note if you find that a moving company isn’t registered with the United States Department of Transportation or refuses to provide vital information about claim forms and disputes.
The cost to move out of state varies on several different factors such as:
Regardless of what company you choose, it’s important to read everything – including the bill of lading, estimate, inventory and service order – before signing it. Also, hang on to your copies until the move is over and you’ve paid for their services in full.
Before contracting with a moving company, make sure to get a binding estimate in writing. This is different than a price quote because a binding estimate cannot be adjusted after the move is over, regardless of circumstantial changes along the way.
Without a legally binding estimate, a dishonest moving company might change the final charges for a variety of reasons. They may claim improper calculations, incomplete inventories or even worse may provide absolutely no explanation at all.
You may also want to invest in additional property coverage before moving day. Interstate moving companies offer mandated minimum liability coverage, which may not fully cover many of your high-value antiques and art. Your moving company should be able to explain the full-value, lump sum, declared value, and basic carrier liability options to you.
You and your moving company should be on the same page regarding details such as when they will arrive at your current residence as well as a window when they will deliver your items to your new residence. They should also inform you of exactly what you can expect on both days.
Before packing everything into boxes, create an inventory of all your household items with descriptions of their condition. Your movers should agree to this inventory prior to moving day.
It may seem like an awful lot of work to be this prepared, but it’s nothing compared to the headaches of being ripped off by disreputable movers.
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