Moving is a pain, especially when you become a grown-up and wind up with a houseful of stuff. But this is the time of year when many of us are on the move, and if you’re among them, here are some smart shopping tips you can use when you’re making your plans. For most of us, the days of grabbing a few buddies and someone’s van or pickup truck are long gone, so that means hiring movers.
Unfortunately, more than 9,000 complaints reached the Better Business Bureau (BBB) last year alone—so be careful when you’re hiring people to carry and/or pack your precious possessions. Follow these tips from the BBB and the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA):
Research the company thoroughly. While state regulations vary, all interstate movers must be licensed by the federal government and are assigned a motor carrier number you can verify on protectyourmove.gov, the website for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Get at least three written in-home estimates. Not all price-quotes online or over the phone are legitimate. The lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic low-ball offer, which can cost you more in the end.
Know your rights. Research your rights as a consumer with either FMCSA for interstate moves or with your state in which you reside for moves within that state. Also, enlist the help of BBB or local law enforcement if the moving company fails to live up to its promises or threatens to hold your belongings hostage. FMCSA requires interstate movers to offer arbitration to help settle disputed claims.
Consider accepting full value protection. This insurance may cost a few dollars more up front, but it can provide some peace of mind and eliminate headaches after your move. Purchasing full (replacement) value protection means any lost or damaged articles will be repaired or replaced, or a cash settlement will be made to repair the item or to replace it at its current market value, regardless of age. It’s important to note that the required minimum coverage of 60 cents per pound would not cover the replacement cost, for example, of a flat panel TV if damaged in transit.
Check out movers at bbb.org and moving.org.