What Residents Moving from Houston Should Consider about the Valuation of Their Belongings.

The valuation of possessions being trucked in any relocation of a person, family, or business from Houston to another locale – or from anywhere to anywhere – is stringently regulated by the federal government.

man putting books in a moving boxYes, by and large, your moving company is 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 possessions in fulfillment of any other Houston moving services you chose. 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 set by the federal Surface Transportation Board’s Released Rates Order. You can get your hands on a current copy of it here.

The critical thing is, know what options are available to you for the safety of your belongings. And know your Houston moving company. Just because a mover makes it known his business is “fully insured and bonded” is no guarantee that your possessions themselves are automatically covered. In that regard, your local mover being associated with a major national van line is no promise that you’re protected either. In both situations, you might be required to purchase added third-party liability insurance. Your mover could offer to sell it to you, but he’s not legally obligated to do so. Ask questions when you first talk in order to figure out  precisely what’s necessary.

Keep this in mind when you’re researching your choices here in Houston: 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.

 A-1 Freeman Moving Group Houston Moving Terms Infographic

 

Without doubt, Full Replacement-Value Protection gives you the most complete coverage. But picking it means the price of your move will be higher. With this level of liability (subject to allowable exceptions in your mover’s tariff), your mover will either arrange for whatever repairs are advisable to reconvert a damaged piece to the condition it was in when you first gave it to him and his crew … or he’ll replace it more. Regardless of what valuation you and your mover agree upon, it has to be noted on your mover’s tariff. Note also that movers are empowered to limit their Full Replacement-Value liability for loss or damage of items valued exceptionally high. Those would be belongings 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 declare accurately.

If you go for a Waiver of Full Replacement-Value Protection, or Released Value, you will, of course, get minimal liability protection. But you won’t pay anything for it. What this degree of protection does is limit your mover’s liability to no more than 60 cents per pound, per article. Obviously, that wouldn’t give you enough of a reimbursement to replace any item valued at more than 60 cents per pound! Items like stereo equipment, gym equipment, computer hardware, and computer software are thus significantly more at risk. That’s something to think about before you [[commit in writing to|contract with]150 any mover!

You could, though, have one other option: your present homeowner’s policy. Go over it and consult with your insurance agent to see if there’s anything in it pertaining to coverage of possessions during a relocation. If so, you may find the minimum level of mover liability coverage – Released Value – acceptable.

Just make sure you understand what level of protection your moving company is including in his quote: Full Protection or Released Value. That way, your move won’t hit you with any totally unanticipated surprises!

 

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