There's a lot at stake when you move.
There's the money you'll spend. The memories you're taking from one place to another. And, your treasured possessions—furniture, family pictures and children's toys. When you move, your personal property (including valuables) is loaded onto a moving truck. And while most moves go smoothly, accidents do happen and some items may be lost or damaged during shipment.
Under Federal law, interstate movers must offer two different liability options referred to as valuation coverage: (1) Full Value Protection and (2) Released Value
(1) Full Value Protection
Under Full Value Protection, your mover is liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods in your entire shipment. This is the more comprehensive plan available for the protection of your belongings. Unless you select the alternative level of of liability described below—Released Value—your mover will transport your shipment under the Full Value Protection level of liability. If any article is lost, destroyed or damaged while in your mover's custody, your mover will, at its discretion, offer to do one (1) of the following for each item:
Repair the item
Replace with a similar item
Make a cash settlement for the cost of the repair or the current market replacement value
Under this option, movers are permitted to limit their liability for loss or damage to articles of extraordinary value, unless you specifically list these articles on the shipping documents. An article of extraordinary value is any item whose value exceeds $100 per pound (i.e., jewelry, silverware, china, furs, antiques). Ask your mover for a written explanation of this limitation before your move.
The exact cost for Full Value Protection varies by mover and may be subject to various deductible levels of liability that may reduce your cost. Ask your mover for written details of their Full Value Protection plan.
(2) Released Value
The most economical protection available is Released Value, since it is offered at no additional charge. However, the protection is minimal. Under this option, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per article. For example, if your mover lost or damaged a 10-pound stereo component valued at $1,000, you would only receive $6.00 in compensation (60 cents x 10 pounds).
There is no additional charge for Released Value. However, you must sign a specific statement on the bill of lading or contract agreeing to it. But remember, it compensates you according to the weight of the item, not its actual value. And, if you do not select Released Value, your shipment will automatically be transported at the Full Value Protection level of liability and you will be assessed the applicable charge.
Full Value Protection and Released Value are not insurance policies governed by State insurance laws; instead, they are Federal contractual tariff levels of liability authorized under Released Rates Orders of the Surface Transportation Board of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Keep in Mind...
Do not sign a delivery receipt for your household goods if it contains any language about releasing or discharging your mover or its agents from liability. By law, you have nine (9) months to file a written claim. Strike out this kind of language or refuse delivery until a proper receipt is provided.
Report loss and damage promptly. You have nine (9) months following either the date of delivery, or the date on which the shipment should have been delivered, to file a written claim.