Understanding Moving Claims & Liability
Interstate moving companies are liable under US law for all damages and losses. These situations take place when shipments get transported. This is why the Bill of Lading is so important. It helps companies understand how their services should operate. There is a governance that oversees cases of company liability. It’s called the Surface Transportation Board’s Released Rates Order. They are a great resource for your company to contact. Do so if you ever get confused about claims and liability. Better yet, you can contact our company and we will reach out to them on your behalf. Sometimes it benefits our clients to receive and read the Released Rates Order form. Our company can send you a copy or you can find it on the website of the Surface Transportation Board. Also, moving companies have a right to sell their customers third-party liability insurance. If you would like to learn more about this, please call or email us today.
Introduction to the Two Levels of Liability
US law says every moving company must hold liability for transported household items. There are two levels of liability when it comes to interstate moving. There is:
- Full (Replacement) Value Protection
- Full (Replacement) Value Protection (Released Value)
In order for your company to achieve success, it must have a full understanding of both levels. This is so your staff is aware of the amount of protection they can give and also the charges they can apply.
Full (Replacement) Value Protection
When it comes to a customer’s options, this one is the most comprehensive by far. The purpose, of course, is to protect the customer’s household goods. But the customer should know that this protection will make total charge increase. That level of protection should get included in the initial estimate. That is when a company provides all information to the prospective customer. Say the customer agrees to the terms. Next, his or her items get transported with the terms of this liability in place. The exception is when the customer decides to waive Full Value Protection.
Let’s say the customer has Full Value Protection. And an item gets lost, damaged, or destroyed. Subject to exceptions in the moving tariff, the moving company has two options:
- Replace the item with a similar one of equal value. Or, pay the customer the total cost of replacement.
- Repair or restore the item. This means the items has to be in the same condition that it was in before the error took place. Or, pay the customer the total cost of the repairs.
There may be certain deductible levels that could influence the total cost. This varies on a case-by-case basis. Some moving companies offer higher lowest-amount values than others. Also, the customer can state a higher value for a shipment. But that requires the cost to increase. What is the lowest level for figuring out a shipment’s Full Value Protection? Six cents per pound multiplied by the shipment’s weight. Make sure all charges related to Full Value Protection get stated on the moving tariff.
Full (Replacement) Value Protection: Released Value
What does Released Value mean? It’s defined as Minimal protection. It is the best way for a customer to ensure that they will not receive extra charges. This involves the interstate moving company holding liability. But that liability does not cover more than 60 cents a pound, per item insurance. A customer, should of course, put a lot of though into what decision he or she should make. Here is an example of Released Value. Say a $1,000 television gets destroyed during the move. The moving company would not be liable for more than $40.00. Why? Because sixty cents x 40 pounds equals $40.00.