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Moving 101: Understanding Moving Company Quotes and Insurance

Moving 101: Understanding Moving Company Quotes and Insurance

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Planning for a move usually means visiting or calling several local movers to get an accurate free moving quote that tells you roughly how much it will cost for you to move with their company. It can be tricky trying to understand moving quotes. Luckily, you have no need to worry. In this post we’ll tell you everything you need to know about moving quotes.


What is Included in a Mover’s Quote?

When you are asking for a moving quote, you should provide as much details as possible so the salesperson can give you a quote as accurate as possible. A moving quote for a full-service moving company normally includes the following things:

  • Tariff Cost
  • Distance Traveled in Miles
  • Minimum and Estimated Weight of Your Belongings
  • Discounts (if applicable)
  • Packing Supplies
  • Packing and Unpacking Service
  • Storage
  • Transportation Charges
  • Additional Fuel
  • Insurance Surcharge
  • Additional Services

Note: If you choose to use a company that is not full service, like a self-service or specialized moving company (such as van lines or piano movers), this list can change.


Quick Tips on Moving Quotes.

  1. Consider Your Moving Date.

    Remember that the time of year significantly affects your moving cost. For example, if you’re planning your move from May to September, there’s no doubt that you’ll be charged more due to peak moving season. The same goes for moving on a weekend, on holidays, and at the beginning or end of the month.

    If you want to keep costs down, plan your move during a weekday in a less busy month. When receiving quotes from the movers you choose, ask if the moving costs would change if you adjust the date by a few days or weeks.

  2. Get an In-House Estimate.

    You can definitely get your quotes over the phone or online. But it’s better if movers inspect your home in person, this way you’ll get the most accurate quote.

  3. Get an Accurate Inventory List.

    Along with the written estimate, moving companies usually provide a full list of all your items that will be moved. Check it carefully, make sure that every item, each piece of furniture and approximate number of boxes are included in the list. The inventory list can also be called a cube sheet or table of measurements.

  4. Never Sign Blank Documents.

    Don’t sign blank or incomplete estimates and contracts. If any mover asks you to do so, it’s better changing to a different company. The reason is that a moving company can scam you by adding extra charges you never agreed to after you sign their papers.


Factors that Affect Moving Costs.

When a mover is giving a moving quote, they are considering several different things that can affect how much your move costs.

  • Weight or Volume.

    Because moving companies will generally quote you a price based on weight, your moving costs can change depending on how much stuff you have to move and its volume or how much it weighs. A larger and heavier move is going to cost you more.

  • Type of Move.

    Depending on whether you are looking into local or long distance moving can change the price you are quoted. Long distance moves almost always cost more than local moves. So, if you’re moving a long distance, don’t be surprised if you are quoted a higher price.

  • Packing and Labor Costs.

    You’ll be charged extra if you decide that you want your moving company to pack your boxes for you. It’s important to keep in mind that some companies only insure boxes that they themselves have packed. So, if you decide to save money on packing your boxes, you might want to look into buying additional insurance from third party providers.

  • Insurance.

    Speaking of insurance, whatever protection the moving company gives you can affect the price. Legally, movers can’t sell insurance. Instead, they sell something called valuation (which is very similar to insurance). There are two types of valuation: full value protection and released value protection. In this post, we’ll also talk about moving insurance.

  • Obstacles.

    Believe it or not, obstacles to your move can cause the price to go up. For example, lots of staircases or narrow hallways that require more work can increase the price you are quoted. Also, any uneven terrain, long carrying distances, or difficult arrivals (like a long, steep driveway or impassable bridge) can all affect the price of your move.

  • Beware of Scams.

    When you are asking for a moving quote or estimate, it’s important to be careful of scams. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has reported a recent increase in local and long distance “movers” who lowball clients in the beginning of the moving process only to hike up the price on moving day.

    Read this post to learn more about avoiding moving scams.

  moving quotes and estimates

Moving Estimates.

In the moving industry, a moving quote and a moving estimate are more or less the same thing. The type of estimate will determine the price you pay while the moving quote is the number that you are initially given.

All movers are obliged by law to issue written estimates to customers. There are three types of moving estimates: a binding estimate, a non binding estimate, and a binding not to exceed estimate.

When you are planning a move, it’s normal to ask moving companies in your area for a moving estimate. The confusing part comes when you start looking at the different types. Especially long-distance moving estimates are confusing: weights and cubes, binding, not-to-exceed… What is a binding or not binding estimate? How do you know which one is best for you?

Again, we do not suggest blindly agreeing and signing any contract before you research and read thoroughly the given papers. It’s crucial to understand the different types of estimates, their pros and cons – that will improve your moving experience. The average moving company could offer you three types of moving estimates.

Remember that good, reliable moving companies try to be as accurate and detailed as possible with their quotes. They will help you guide and explain which type is best for you, and also explain ahead of time about potential additional charges. Be aware if suspicious movers try to rush the estimate and insist on signing a contract without explaining the details.

In this post, we’ll explain each type and tell you how to decide which one is best for you. Your task is finding an honest moving company and this article can help you make the right decision and hire a reliable moving company.


What are the Three Types of Moving Estimates?

When getting a moving quote from a professional moving company, there are three types of moving estimates that they can give you for your upcoming move.

  • Binding Estimate.

    A moving company estimate that is binding holds the company to their original quote. That means that whatever they quoted you in the beginning for the amount of things you had or the estimated weight of your belongings is the price that you pay.

    A binding estimate is a great option if you’re worried about a mover hiking up the price of your move at the last minute. But, it’s also not so great if your belongings end up weighing less than they were originally quoted for. In that case, you would be overpaying.

  • Non-Binding Estimate.

    A non-binding estimate does not hold professional movers to the original price that they quote you. Instead, you pay the cost of the actual weight of your belongings on moving day.

    Initially, a non-binding estimate can seem really appealing. But, you need to be cautious of a company that only offers non-binding estimates or one that gives you an incredibly low quote. This could be a sign that they’ll raise the price drastically when the actual moving day comes.

    Of course, there are lots of reputable companies that offer non-binding agreements who are professional about the process. You just need to keep a good head on your shoulders and be realistic about what’s too good to be true.

  • Binding Not to Exceed Estimate.

    A binding not to exceed estimate is most likely the best option for customers. It’s certainly the recommended option if you’re doing a long distance move or an interstate move because it can help save money.

    In this type of estimate, the mover agrees to an original price in accordance with the estimated weight of your belongings. If the actual weight exceeds that estimate, you won’t get charged more. In addition, if the weight ends up being less than the quote you were originally given, you’ll pay for that weight.

    A binding not to exceed agreement is the best way to assure that you are paying the exact cost of your move.


What is the Average Cost of a Move?

According to the American Moving and Storage Association, a local move, on average, costs $2,300 and an interstate or long distance move costs $4,300. Of course, your estimated moving expenses can change depending on the amount of things you have, how much they weigh, and what moving and packing services you decide to purchase. If you’re moving locally within the Los Angeles area, this article would be helpful for you to understand the costs of your upcoming relocation.


Which Moving Estimate is Best for Me?

Deciding which moving estimate is best for you depends entirely on your situation and the weight of your belongings. You need to compare the costs and benefits of each type. There are also other things you can do to ensure that your move goes smoothly.

Do Your Research.

The best option would be to talk to several movers in your area and have them give you an house estimate. Talk to them about the different estimates they offer, and do your research on each moving company to make sure they are a reputable business who doesn’t scam their customers.

Do It Yourself.

Maybe dealing with a moving company isn’t something that you want to do. A DIY move is a definite possibility and it can really help you save on the cost of moving services.

To move yourself, you need to start by renting a moving truck from a local company. You’ll want to do so ahead of time to ensure your move dates are available.

Once you have your truck rental and it’s moving day, you’ve got to load everything into it and make the move. Think about getting some friends or family to help you. Also, if you’re stuck on how to get started packing, check out our post on how to pack for a move.

Protecting your belongings is important. If you’re planning a move, you’ve probably thought about how you can insure your items. Insurance has always been a complicated subject, and moving insurance is no different. In this post, we will explain the ins and outs of moving insurance, including the different types offered by moving companies, and when you need to purchase additional insurance.

  Moving Insurance or Valuation

Moving Insurance or Valuation

If you’ve been researching moving insurance, you’ve probably seen something called valuation. First, let’s explain exactly what this is.

What Is Valuation?

Because of federal law, moving companies are not legally allowed to sell insurance, so they offer valuation. Valuation works almost exactly like insurance: it determines the worth of your items and ensures compensation if they are lost or damaged. There are two types of valuation.

Type 1: Released Value Protection.

This is the most basic coverage you can have. Almost all moving companies offer this type of protection. You have to ask for it and sign a contract, but it’s entirely free. With released value protection, your belongings are protected at 60 cents per pound.

This means that if you have an expensive mattress that weighs 90 pounds and it gets lost or damaged, you will only receive $54 as compensation. Even if you file a claim, with released value protection you would only get the monetary compensation determined by the pound per item.

Type 2: Full Value Protection.

A step up from released value protection, many moving companies also offer full value protection. Usually, you will need to pay a premium for this type of coverage. Depending on the company you use, this plan covers your belongings for up to $4 to $6 per pound with a minimum of 1,000 pounds.

For example, if your movers offer full value protection at $5 per pound and you have 10,000 pounds of household goods to be moved, they are valued at $50,000. This is the maximum amount of compensation you can receive if everything in the moving truck is lost or damaged.

With full value protection, the movers can choose between two options when reimbursing your lost or damaged item. First, they can choose to replace the item with something similar in price, or condition. The other option is that they can choose to pay for repairs to bring the item back to its pre-move state.

One other important thing to keep in mind with full value protection is that movers do not have to cover items valued at more than $100 per pound. For example, if you have a 3lb laptop that costs $1,200, it’s worth more than $100 per pound (worth: $400 per pound) and the moving company would not reimburse you if it were lost or damaged. Because of this, we recommend that if you decide to do full value protection, you personally handle any small items of extraordinary value. Alternatively, you could look for a third-party insurer.

Where You Don’t Have Coverage.

Something else you should consider with valuation is what is covered and what is not covered. Moving companies are not required to reimburse you for damaged or lost items in any boxes that they themselves did not pack. They are also not responsible for damages or losses caused by natural disasters.


When Do I Need to Purchase an Additional Insurance?

Like we’ve said before, valuation from your moving company is not the same as insurance. Although it works in a similar way, there are some extra addons that buying moving insurance can give you.

Your homeowners or renters insurance might offer you some sort of protection for your move, but usually they don’t. If they do, it’s not much. Alternatively, your insurance company may offer something called relocation insurance. This tends to be similar to the valuation offered by moving companies. If your moving company does not offer valuation, this is a good option.

Another option is total loss coverage. This will protect you against disasters, like a fire, accident, or robbery. Be aware that this insurance covers you only if 100% of your belongings are lost or damaged. Otherwise, you get nothing.

Contracting a third-party insurance can also be helpful in covering those items that are of extraordinary value that full value protection won’t cover.


Tips for Protecting Your Relocation.

The most important thing you can do is take an inventory of everything you are going to be packing. This should hypothetically be done if you’ve followed the right steps for how to pack for a move.

With this list, you can put an estimated value next to each item. This will help you decide what you think the total worth of your items is. It can also help you decide what type of insurance to get and how you will move your items. Using this tool can help you determine how much your stuff is worth.