The valuation of goods being hauled in any relocation of a person, family, or business from Houston to some other location – or from anywhere to anywhere – is strongly regulated by the federal government.
It is true, by and large, 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 in direct contact with your household goods in satisfaction of any other Houston moving services you purchased. Such services should be described on the bill of lading: packing, unpacking, disassembly and reassembly, for instance.
But there are limits to your moving company’s liability. Those limits are determined by the federal Surface Transportation Board’s Released Rates Order. You can look at a current copy of it here.
The essential thing is, know what choices are accessible to you for the safety of your household goods. And know your Houston moving company. Just because a mover tells you his company is “fully insured and bonded” is no guarantee that your goods themselves are automatically covered. By the same token, your local mover being related to a preeminent national van line is no guarantee that you’re protected either. In both situations, you could be required to acquire added third-party liability insurance. Your mover could offer to sell it to you, but he’s not legally obligated to do that. Ask questions at the very beginning to determine exactly what’s necessary.
Keep this in mind when you’re researching your choices here in Houston: 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.
To be sure, Full Replacement-Value Protection provides you with the fullest coverage. But picking 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 a heftier price. Whatever valuation you and your mover agree upon, it has to be shown on your mover’s tariff. Note also that movers are permitted 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 the like. Ask for further information on all this from your mover. In the end, though, it falls on your shoulders to make the right declaration.
If you opt for a Waiver of Full Replacement-Value Protection, or Released Value, you will, of course, be getting 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 may, though, have one additional option: your current homeowner’s policy. Re-examine it and speak with your insurance agent to determine if there’s anything in it related to coverage of belongings during a relocation. If so, you might find the minimum level of mover liability coverage – Released Value – acceptable.
Just make sure you’re onboard with 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!
Request a free quote