Your Rights When Moving Interstate – Don’t Be Taken Advantage Of
When moving your home across a state line, you are protected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration if you use a moving company to do the move. It is important that you understand your rights when moving interstate. If you use a moving company, they must adhere to the laws regarding how they can determine what is owed.
Your rights when moving interstate begin with the estimate the company provided for the move. If you have a binding estimate the carrier cannot make you pay any more than the amount that is on the estimate, unless you choose to add extra services after the fact, such as having the movers unpack when you had initially not chosen that option. Any additions must be paid when performed. If you have a non-binding estimate, you might owe and additional 10% if the costs go over the estimate. Any expense that would bring the price to more than the additional 10% will be charged to you to pay at a later date.
If you are being charged for the move by weight, the truck will be weighed before your items are loaded and then again after they are loaded to determine the actual weight. You have a right to be present for the "empty truck" weighing and the "full truck" weighing, or demand a reweighing later if you find out it's a lot heavier than you expected. A company is usually pretty accurate in determining how much your belongings weigh when they come to your house to do a walk-thru.
Insurance can be a surprise for some people because your stuff is not automatically covered for very much money. The default rate for insurance is usually $0.60 per pound per item, so a 100 lb couch would only be covered for up to $60! You can choose to purchase a higher rate per pound through a valuation with your moving company or purchase third-party moving insurance.
You must declare any items that are of exceptional value. Your carrier does not have to insure these items, but will usually do so for an extra price. It should be noted that any damage done to your things should be reported as soon as possible. It is best to inspect your things as they are being unloaded, note your inventory list, and have the movers note their list as well.
Your moving company should provide you a copy of Your Rights & Responsibilities When You Move from the US Department of Transportation. You can also read this pamphlet at protectyourmove.gov and get more information on the laws surrounding interstate moves.