The valuation of possessions being shipped in any relocation of a person, family, or business from El Paso to some other location – or from anywhere to anywhere – is strongly regulated by the federal government.
Yes, generally speaking, your moving company is legally liable for any loss of or harm to your household goods at any time during the haul. It’s also liable for loss and damage while its crews are caring for your household goods in fulfillment of any other El Paso moving services you selected. Such services should be listed on the bill of lading: packing, unpacking, disassembly and reassembly, for example.
There are, however, limits to your moving company’s liability. Those limits are set by the federal Surface Transportation Board’s Released Rates Order. You can obtain a current copy of it here.
The crucial thing is, know what options you have available to you for the safeguarding of your household goods. And know your El Paso moving company. Just because a mover makes it known his firm is “fully insured and bonded” is no insurance that your possessions themselves are automatically covered. In the same vein, your local mover being affiliated with a leading national van line is no guarantee that you’re protected either. In both cases, you might be required to get get hold of extra third-party liability insurance. Your mover could offer to sell it to you, but he has no legal obligation to sell it to you. Ask questions when you first meet in order to learn specifically what your course of action should be.
Keep this in mind when you’re determining your options here in El Paso: Two different levels of moving-company liability pertain to interstate moves – Full Replacement-Value Protection and Waiver of Full Replacement-Value Protection, or Released Value.
Obviously, Full Replacement-Value Protection affords you the fullest coverage. But choosing it means the price of your move will be higher. With this degree of liability (subject to allowable exceptions in your mover’s tariff), your mover will either do whatever repairs are necessary to return a damaged piece to the condition it was in when you first turned it over to him and his crew … or he’ll replace it a higher price. Whatever valuation you and your mover mutually consent to, it must be shown on your mover’s tariff. Note also that movers are allowed to limit their Full Replacement-Value liability for loss or damage of items valued exceptionally high. Those would be possessions valued at $100 or more per pound, such as jewelry, antiques, silverware, china, oriental rugs, and so on. Seek further details on all this from your mover. In the end, though, it lies with you to declare accurately.
If you go for a Waiver of Full Replacement-Value Protection, or Released Value, you will, of course, receive minimal liability protection. But you won’t pay anything for it. What this degree of protection does is limit your mover’s liability to no more than 60 cents per pound, per article. Certainly, that won’t provide you with enough of a reimbursement to replace any piece valued above 60 cents per pound! Goods like stereo equipment, gym equipment, computer hardware, and computer software are therefore significantly more at risk. That’s something to ponder before you [[commit in writing to|contract with]150 any mover!
You may, however, have one other option: your existing homeowner’s policy. Re-examine it and speak with your insurance agent to see if there’s anything in it about coverage of possessions during a relocation. If there is, you might find the minimum level of mover liability coverage – Released Value – appropriate enough.
Just make sure you understand what degree of protection your moving company is including in his quote: Full Protection or Released Value. That way, you should be fully prepared for just about anything your move throws at you!
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