Moving Terms

Agent: A local moving company authorized to act on behalf of a larger, national company

Appliance dolly: A special dolly with straps to help load and unload large items like appliances and oversize furniture

Assessed value coverage: This specifies how much money per $1,000 of assessed value, you will need to pay to cover your household items to their full assessed value. Purchasing this protection requires that a cash value be assigned to the items you will be moving. If a deductible is applied, that value is stated next to the cost-per-$1,000 figure. For example, 7.50/100 means that the consumer must pay $7.50 per $1,000 of assessed value to cover the load against loss, and the first $100 of damage is not covered. Some valuation policies are calculated on a sliding scale, where the price per $1,000 of coverage will vary depending upon the total amount of coverage. In such cases, carriers are requested to quote valuation prices based on $25,000 of coverage. Please note that most valuation policies require that the entire load be covered, not just specific items. Ask your carrier for terms.

Bill of lading: This acts as both a receipt and as the official contract between the mover and the customer. Make sure that you understand everything on the bill of lading before you sign it.

Binding estimates of total cost: The mover may charge you for providing a binding estimate, which must clearly describe the shipment and all services provided.

When you receive a binding estimate, you cannot be required to pay any more than that amount. However, if you have requested the mover to provide more services than those included in the estimate, such as destination charges (i.e., long carry charges, shuttle charges, extra stair carry charges, or elevator charges) often not known at origin, the mover may demand full payment for those added services at time of delivery.

To be effective, a binding estimate must be in writing and a copy must be made available to you before your move.

If you agree to a binding estimate, you are responsible for paying the charges due by cash, certified check, traveler’s check, or bank check (one drawn by a bank on itself and signed by an officer of the bank) at time of delivery unless the mover agrees before you move to extend credit or to accept payment by charge card. If you are unable to pay at the time the shipment is delivered, the mover may place your shipment in storage at your expense until the charges are paid.

Binding/non-binding estimate: A non-binding estimate is not a bid or contract. A non-binding estimate is provided by the mover to give you a general idea of the cost of the move. It does not bind the mover to the estimated cost. Furthermore, it is not a guarantee that the final cost will not be more than the estimate.

Non-binding estimates must be in writing and clearly describe the shipment and all services provided. Any time a mover provides such an estimate the amount of the charges estimated must be on the order for service and bill of lading relating to your shipment. If you are given a non-binding estimate, do not sign or accept the order for service or bill of lading unless the amount estimated is entered on each form when prepared by the mover.

C.O.D., Cash on Delivery: Payment is required at the time of delivery — ask if your payment should be in cash, credit or check

Full-replacement value coverage: The amount of money to purchase a new replacement for a damaged item regardless of the age of the item (Most valuation policies require the entire load be covered — not just specific items. Ask your carrier for terms.)

Full-service mover: Most common type of moving company (Movers will move all household goods from your old address to your new address. Your items are picked up from every room in your old home and delivered to the appropriate rooms in your new home. Individual pieces of furniture are wrapped. Full service movers will also provide, at additional cost, full packing and unpacking services.)

Inventory: A detailed descriptive list of the items in the shipment and their condition before the van is loaded.

Packing Service: An added service. The moving company will box any or all of your shipment.

Standard Coverage: Movers are required by law to provide a minimum amount of free coverage (This number, typically 60 cents, refers to the amount of money you will receive per pound of damaged goods. This coverage is a bare minimum and should not be relied upon to cover you for any significant damage. For example, if you have a priceless vase that weighs two pounds, you would only be entitled to $1.20 of compensation if the vase is damaged in transit.)

Tariff: The tariff governs the carrier’s rates, rules and charges concerning your shipment. Carriers must furnish a copy of the tariff to the customer upon request.

Valuation: The degree of “worth” in a shipment; the valuation charge compensates the mover for assuming a greater degree of liability than is provided for in its base transportation charges. (All movers are required to assume liability for the value of goods they transport. Most movers offer two levels of liability — basic and full value. Basic value is also referred to as released value.)

Relocation Package: The benefits a company provides to new employees who must move or current employees who are transferred. The package may include real estate commissions, closing costs, temporary living expenses, house-hunting trips, travel expenses, apartment lease cancellation fees, tax gross-up, spouse/partner job assistance, double mortgage assistance or home buyout.