Moving is a demanding process that includes planning, packing, labeling, hiring movers. In addition to that, it involves a lot of documents. That is probably the most daunting part of this procedure. Understanding your mover contracts and paperwork is extremely important. By knowing what each document is for, you will avoid being the victim of a scam. Here are several contracts and documents that you need to comprehend to ensure a smooth and successful move.

Understand mover contracts and paperwork before signing
It’s essential to understand mover contracts and paperwork

Moving estimates

When hiring a professional moving company, you need to sign several documents. If you understand their content, you will have a stress and hassle-free move. Moving estimate is probably the first paper that you will see. That is the quote or offer that the moving company provides. There are two different types of moving estimates:

  • Binding
  • Non-binding

The difference between a binding and non-binding estimate

It’s important to understand the difference between these two estimates so that you would make an informed decision when choosing. A non-binding estimate is not a precise cost of the move but rather a general idea of it. The price that the movers quote in the estimate might change on the day of your move – it can be higher or lower. It depends on the final weight and volume of your items, relocation distance, number of workers, and time spent.

On the other hand, a binding moving estimate guarantees the final cost that you pay on the day of your move. It will not change even if the shipment weights less or more than the estimated amount. That is a perfect option for people who are moving on a budget and want to know the total cost in advance.

The third option: binding not-to-exceed estimate

When going through mover contracts and paperwork, you might come across this document. A binding not-to-exceed estimate means that the company will provide a quote based on the weight of your belongings. If your items weigh less than estimated on a moving day, your price will be lower. If they weigh more, the cost will remain the same. That means that you will either pay the estimated amount or the actual cost, whichever is lower. However, if you request an additional service afterword or add new items on the inventory list, there will be additional charges.

Mover Contracts and Paperwork

Moving contract is the official agreement between you and the moving company. It will state all the terms, conditions, and services that the company will provide. Make sure to read the contract carefully and understand everything noted. If you don’t understand mover contracts and paperwork, you may have some problems. For instance, getting insurance for damaged or lost items or being charged more than agreed. That is why you shouldn’t throw away the contract until you move all your possessions and inspect them carefully in your new home. The information that the moving contract includes is license and insurance, the list of services and total cost, delivery date, and the destination of the shipment.

signing mover contract
Inspect all details of your contract before signing it

Bill of lading

That is a document that you will be given on the moving day. It will specify the terms and conditions that you previously accepted. Bill of lading is a written statement of the cost and services without which movers cannot move your items. This document is your contract, official receipt, and confirmation of the services provided. It serves to ensure that they transfer your goods legally and safely to the new home. Make sure to read this document carefully before signing it. It should include contact information of the moving company, your contact information, dates for the pickup and delivery, time frame, cost, method of payment, and valuation coverage.

What is valuation coverage?

Valuation coverage is the insurance that the moving company offers. That is the compensation your company provides in case they damage or lose your belongings during the move. There are two different types of valuation: released value protection and full value protection. Released value protection is the basic insurance included in the original cost. Movers usually offer compensation of 60 cents per pound per article, in case of the movers damage something during the move. That means that this coverage isn’t related to the actual value of your possessions.

On the other hand, full value protection ensures that the company will pay the compensation for the actual value of your item. They can repair it, replace it or pay you its current value. Also, beware of fraudulent movers, which will offer you insurance but never actually process your claim in case of damage.

Inventory list

To provide a moving estimate, you movers will have to make a list of all your possessions. Make sure that everything is included in the list so that you don’t incur some additional expenses afterward. Also, if movers lose or damage some of your items during the move and they are not on the list, you won’t be able to file a claim. It’s a good idea to create a moving inventory list yourself, and compare it to the movers’ later. It’s easier to create a list for each room than write everything together. All your possessions should be included – art, jewelry, electronics, furniture, clothes. And don’t forget to take photos. That will not only help you keep track of items but also help if something is misplaced, damaged, or stolen.

make an inventory list
Include all your possessions in the inventory list

Mover contracts and paperwork are probably the most painful and tedious part of the moving process. However, it’s extremely important to understand all the details and terms clearly. If you don’t check everything, you might end up spending a lot of time and money. On the other hand, if you understand all aspects of your contract, it will be a reliable tool that helps you achieve a smooth move. Find experienced and trustworthy professionals who fit your budget and your needs. Movers should be licensed, well trained, and client-focused.

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