Moving Paperwork: Tips on How to Protect Your Move

This is a guest post from Manuella Irwin, a relocation expert and editor at MyMovingReviews.com. She covers news from the moving industry and provides in-depth advice on moving related issues. When she is not reading, writing, or talking about the moving industry, Manuella enjoys travelling (a lot) and exploring new places. Follow her @manuellairwin.

When moving, your mover is obliged by law to issue you a bill of lading. The bill of lading is the contract between you, the shipper and your carrier. That contract defines the rules under which your move will happen.

Moving Paperwork


Here are the elements constituted by the regulatory agency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which each legit mover's bill of lading must include:

  • Mover's contact information - name, address, phone numbers, including office address and telephone so you can contact the mover in case of an issue during the move.

  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of any other carrier who will be engaged during the move. Your mover should inform you in advice if he considers using subcontractors.

  • Another element that must be included in your bill of lading is the method of payment. The form of payment noted must be the same one in the all moving paperwork – estimate and order of service. Your moving company must properly annotate the terms and the conditions for payment of all charges including any minimum charges and rates. Keep receipts for all payments to your mover. A legit bill of lading must include the maximum amount mover will demand upon delivery based on your estimate when your transport is under collect-on-delivery basis.

  • If your mover transports your household goods under a collect-on-delivery basis, your name, address and phone number must be noted so you can be informed about the charges. If you won't be able to be present on delivery day, the contact information of an entitled by you person must be included.

  • Agreed pickup and delivery schedule: there are two options under which your mover may transport your furniture – non-guaranteed and guaranteed service. For a non-guaranteed service, your mover will give you a time window only, not a specific period of time for delivery. Guaranteed service is optional service available at additional cost. Under guaranteed service mover must specify pickup and delivery dates and he is entitled to compensate you at a predetermined amount or daily rate. Pickup date must be clearly noted.

  • Check whether the identification numbers of the vehicles in which your mover loads your furniture are the same ones in the bill of lading.

  •  If your mover has procured insurance for you from an insurance company, it should be added to the bill of lading too, including the amount of money paid for such insurance.

  •  The binding or non-binding estimate, the order of service, the valuation addendum and the inventory are integral part of your bill of lading. Read all of the attachments and ask your mover to explain you any language you do not fully understand.


As by law interstate movers are allowed to limit their liability, it is very essential to understand the terms under which that happens so you can protect your furniture when moving. Perhaps, movers won't be liable for damages of items packed by you regardless of the fact that you have purchased full value protection. Movers won't take responsibility for any item valued at more than $100 per pound, unless agreement is made upon reservation. Mover may assume no liability for damages to the interior or exterior of your apartment building.

Never sign blank or incomplete moving  estimates or "Rescission of old estimate" as unscrupulous and rogue movers will take advantage and use it to extort you for more money by just adding new charges. And any objections and claims filed by you will be found groundless as there will be your signature on the moving paperwork. It is your responsibility to understand the moving paperwork before accepting and signing it. Since movers won't start the moving job unless you sign, ask for the loads of paperwork in advance, before the moving day.

This is a guest post from Manuella Irwin, a relocation expert and editor at MyMovingReviews.com. She covers news from the moving industry and provides in-depth advice on moving related issues. When she is not reading, writing, or talking about the moving industry, Manuella enjoys travelling (a lot) and exploring new places. Follow her @manuellairwin.