Terms you should know before signing a moving contract

During the process of relocating to a new home, a lot of things tend to happen, so it’s easy to get caught up in the moving chaos and overlook the moving contract or simply choose the first company you find on the Internet. In any case, knowing a little about moving can help you save money and safeguard your belongings. Here are some moving industry terms you should know before you sign your moving contract if you’re moving soon:

Carrier vs. Shipper

In a move, despite what it may seem, you are the shipper and the mover is the carrier. You may want to know the differences now in case a problem arises later on since these phrases will appear on every document you have to sign.

Bill of Lading

This document serves as your legal moving contract and contains a list of the items you are moving. This agreement will require your signature at the beginning and end of your move to identify ownership and confirm delivery.

Moving Company vs. Moving Agent

If you search for moving companies on the Internet, you’re likely to go through a lot of movers’ links, but are they all legitimate? You may unknowingly select a link from a moving agent instead of a moving company. Although it is a legitimate business, a moving agent contacts movers on your behalf and gets paid upfront. If you speak directly with the mover, you can avoid paying that extra fee.

Moving Estimates: Non-binding, Binding, or Unlimited

The weight of your belongings and the distance to be moved significantly determine the cost of the interstate move. Once a representative of an interstate moving company visits your home (or conducts a virtual moving survey), they will give you an estimate taking these and other considerations into account.

There are three types of estimates

  • A binding estimate guarantees that, even if the weight of your shipment is less than specified, you, the shipper, will pay that amount.

  • A non-binding estimate indicates that, depending on the actual weight of the shipment, your actual charges may differ from the estimate. Making an estimate is now more difficult, but an experienced mover should be able to give you a very realistic quote.

  • Among the most popular options are no-limit estimates, which ensure that even if your shipment weighs more, you will only be charged what you agreed to once the estimate is made. If the load weighs less than the estimate, you will also pay less. An important negative aspect to keep in mind is that once the contract is signed and the quotation received, the quotation can be canceled if you decide to add more items to the shipment.

Value Protection

Although they cannot technically offer insurance, movers can offer what they call “value protection” for your belongings. There are two forms of value protection coverage: released value protection (free to you) and full value protection (flat rate depending on the value and weight of your items).

It is fundamental to be aware of the actual coverage, because if the customer chooses the released value protection (which only pays 60 cents per pound per item), it is almost like having no coverage at all. In other words, consider receiving only $6 for a 10-pound jewelry box that gets lost.

To avoid unpleasant surprises later, be sure to ask your mover to explain each type in detail before approving the move and signing a moving contract.