If there is an aspect of the moving process that most people find to be even more painful than packing, it’s dealing with movers’ paperwork.
Not understanding clearly all the terms and provisions of the various documents you need to sign when scheduling your move may cost you a lot of money, time and headaches. But moving paperwork can be a reliable tool that helps you achieve a smooth and trouble-free residential move.
When you ask for a quote, the moving company will provide you with an estimate. But estimates received over the phone or online can never be precise and detailed enough. It’s a good idea to request an on-site visual survey of your household items in order to get an accurate written estimate for your move.
Generally, there are two types of estimates:
Your chosen movers will prepare an order of service and provide you with a bill of lading that serves as a contract between you and the company.
Remember that it is your responsibility to read the bill of lading before you accept it. Keep your copy, as it is the most important moving-related document you will receive.
Make sure you understand and agree with all the terms before signing the document, and pay special attention to the clauses related to movers’ liability.
Your bill of lading must include:
All items that will be shipped by your movers must be present on the inventory list, with their current condition properly noted.
You should be very careful when inspecting the records both on moving day and upon delivery, because if an item has been lost or damaged while in the carrier’s custody, the inventory list will serve as evidence in your favor.
Remember that when the shipment is delivered, it is your responsibility to check your items against the inventory list. If something is damaged or missing, notify your movers immediately, and request that proper notations are made on their copy of the inventory before you sign it.
Even if you are pressed for time or stressed by the tense and chaotic moving process, never sign blank or incomplete papers. Find the time to read the fine print on the documents you have been provided with, and research the moving company’s tariffs, rules and regulations. You’ll avoid moving scams, and ensure a problem-free moving process.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.
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