The valuation of items being shipped in any transfer of a person, family, or business from Oklahoma City to some other locale – or from anywhere to anywhere – is severely regulated by the federal government.
It is true, by and large, that your moving company is legally liable for any loss of or damage to your household goods during transit. It’s also liable for loss and damage while its crews are handling your household goods in satisfaction of any other Oklahoma City moving services you purchased. Such services should be noted on the bill of lading: packing, unpacking, disassembly and reassembly, for instance.
That said, there are limits to your moving company’s liability. Those limits are determined by the federal Surface Transportation Board’s Released Rates Order. You can look at a current copy of it here.
The critical thing is, know what choices you have for the safeguarding of your possessions. And know your Oklahoma City moving company. Just because a mover tells you his company is “fully insured and bonded” is no insurance that your items themselves are automatically covered. What’s more, your local mover being affiliated with a major national van line is no pledge that you’re protected either. In both events, you might be forced to get yourself some added third-party liability insurance. Your mover might offer to sell it to you, but he has no legal obligation to do so. Ask questions in your preliminary negotiations to figure out just what your course of action should be.
Don’t lose sight of this when you’re checking out your options here in Oklahoma City: Two different levels of moving-company liability are relevant to interstate moves – Full Replacement-Value Protection and Waiver of Full Replacement-Value Protection, or Released Value.
Obviously, Full Replacement-Value Protection provides you with the most all-embracing coverage. But picking it means your move costs will rise. With this level of liability (subject to allowable exceptions in your mover’s tariff), your mover will either do whatever repairs are required to reinstate a damaged object to the condition it was in when he first got it from you … or he’ll replace it a greater price. No matter what valuation you and your mover agree upon, it has to appear on your mover’s tariff. Note also that movers are granted authority to limit their Full Replacement-Value liability for loss or damage of belongings valued exceptionally high. Those would be goods valued at $100 or more per pound, such as jewelry, antiques, silverware, china, oriental rugs, and so on. Seek further information on all this from your mover. In the final analysis, though, it falls on your shoulders to declare accurately.
If you go for a Waiver of Full Replacement-Value Protection, or Released Value, you will, of course, get 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. Clearly, that won’t provide you with enough of a reimbursement to replace any item valued higher than 60 cents per pound! Things like stereo equipment, gym equipment, computer hardware, and computer software are therefore much more at risk. That’s something to mull over before you [[commit in writing to|contract with]150 any mover!
You could, however, have one other option: your present homeowner’s policy. Review it and speak with your insurance agent to discover if there’s anything in it about coverage of belongings during a relocation. If that’s the case, you may find the minimum level of mover liability coverage – Released Value – satisfactory.
Just make sure you’re clear about 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 nearly anything your move throws at you!
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