Moving Insurance Claims
If you believe that your mover didn’t treat you or your belongings right, you have options available to try to set matters straight.
Your first avenue for claims should always be with the moving company itself, and the sooner the better. The most common complaints fall into three categories:
- If anything lost or damaged, note it on the mover’s copy of the inventory sheet before you sign it. If you don’t discover the loss or damage until after you’ve packed, you must file a loss and damage claim within nine months after delivery.
- You may feel that you’ve been overcharged, particularly if you’ve used a nonbinding estimate or if you feel you’ve been charged for services that weren’t provided. You’ll need to file an overcharge claim with the company.
- If you have unforeseen expenses because of a delay in pickup and delivery, you may be eligible for some reimbursement. Your belongings must be shipped with what’s called “reasonable dispatch,” which means that your mover needs to pick up and deliver on the dates you have requested–unless the movers encounters delays that are beyond its control, such as weather, road construction, or equipment breakdown.
If the delay occurred because of such circumstances, you may still want to file a delay claim, although under “reasonable dispatch,” the mover isn’t contractually obligated to pay you.
On the other hand, if your mover missed a guaranteed pickup or delivery date and no such mitigating a guaranteed pickup or delivery date and no such mitigating circumstances were in play, you are entitled to an agreed-upon reimbursement rate. But you’ll still have to file a claim.
If the moving company doesn’t settle your claim to your satisfaction, you can request arbitration. The company is required by law to have an arbitration program, and you should have received information about it when first received an estimate.
Be aware that under federal regulations, only loss or damage claims on interstate shipments are subject to mandatory arbitration.
Filing a Complaint
If you want to go on record with a complaint against your mover or if you believe your mover has broken the law, you can file a complaint with FMCSA’s Household Goods Consumer Complaint hotline at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) or online at www.1-888-dot-saft.com/CC_main.asp. You should include your name, address, and telephone number, as well as those of the mover; the mover’s DOT and MC numbers (if available); and a short narrative of specific violations that you allege.
The complaint will be maintained in the carrier’s file as part of its permanent record, and if FMCSA decides to take enforcement action against the mover, you may be contacted to provide additional information.
You should also contact your own state’s attorney general, the Better Business Bureau, and your state’s moving association.