Moving Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Whether you’re hiring interstate movers, renting a moving truck, or doing something in between like moving containers, these questions will help you understand what to expect on your next move.

1. How Much Does it Cost to Move out of State

The cost of your move will depend on the type of move, size of it, time of the year, the moving company you hire, and many more factors.

Get a ballpark moving estimate now!

2. What documents do you need when you move?

Depending on whether you’re moving locally or from one state to another, there are a number of important moving documents you’ll need, including –

  • Cube sheet
  • Estimate
  • Order for service
  • Bill of lading
  • Valuation
  • Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move
  • Driver’s descriptive inventory
  • Change order
  • Freight bill
  • IRS Form 3903

Of these, the bill of lading is the most important, because it constitutes a contract between you (the shipper) and your mover (the carrier).

Complete List of Moving Documents

3. How can I pay for my move?

Generally, you can pay for a move in the following ways:

  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • Money order
  • Certified check
  • Personal loan

Though credit cards are the most common payment method, there’s something satisfying about saving and paying with cash.

How to Pay for Your Move

4. Should I purchase moving insurance?

Before answering this question you’ll need to consider –

  • How far you’re moving
  • The value of your items
  • The likelihood of damage

All moving companies offer free moving insurance (valuation) called released-value coverage, as well as full-value replacement coverage with multiple deductible options.

Alternately, your renter or homeowner’s policy may cover your move, or in some cases you can buy coverage from a 3rd-party insurer.

Everything You Need to Know About Moving Insurance

5. Do movers charge by weight or volume?

Unless you’re moving overseas, your mover shouldn’t charge by volume.

For interstate moves, the bulk of your moving charges will be based on –

  • The weight of your items
  • The mileage between your old and new homes
  • Other services like packing, crating and storage

To determine the actual weight of your household goods, the driver will weigh the truck on a certified scale before loading, then again once everything has been loaded.

The difference between the two is the net weight or actual weight.

On local moves you’ll probably pay by the hour, so the driver won’t weigh the truck.

Remember, if you have a non-binding estimate, your final charges will be calculated using the net weight, not the estimated weight.

Weight vs Cubic-Feet Estimate Breakdown

6. What can’t movers take?

Items movers can’t transport include:

  • Perishable food
  • Houseplants
  • Cleaning products
  • Hazardous materials
  • Ammunition and other explosives
  • Marine pollutants

It’s important to note that just because a mover can move certain things doesn’t mean they should.

Consider taking important documents, jewelry, family heirlooms, precious metals, and firearms with you.

Full List of Items Movers Will NOT Move

7. How to find a reputable moving company?

By hiring a reputable mover you’ll increase the likelihood of having a good move.

First, ask friends, coworkers, and family members for referrals.

Then, once you’ve compiled a list of candidates, check them out with the:

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA)
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

To check a company’s DOT number using the FMCSA’s website.

How to run a background check on a moving company

8. What are the different kinds of moving estimates?

There are three types of moving estimates –

  • Non-binding – Final charges may be more or less than the estimated costs based on the actual weight of your shipment and other services like packing.
  • Binding – Your final charges are fixed unless the mover can prove that you added items that weren’t originally supposed to be moved, or they provided services that weren’t included on the estimate.
  • Not-to-exceed – If the weight of your shipment is less than estimated your cost will go down, but if it’s more your cost won’t go up – unless you added items or additional services.

What to Look for in a Moving Estimate

9. How do movers charge?

Final charges for any move are based on a number of factors, including –

  • Weight and mileage for interstate moves
  • Hourly rate based on crew size for local moves
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Accessorial charges like long carries and shuttles
  • 3rd-party services like crating and appliance disconnects/reconnects
  • Storage
  • Which type of moving insurance (valuation) you choose

Remember, in-home estimates should always be free, and most movers don’t require deposits.

Related: 10 Different Types of Moving Companies for Your Move

10. How much do storage units cost?

Public storage rates vary based on numerous factors, like:

  • Size – bigger units are more expensive
  • Demand – units are often (but not always) more expensive in cities than rural areas
  • Length of storage – you may get reduced rates for signing a long-term contract
  • Whether the unit is on the ground-level or upstairs
  • Whether it opens to the inside or outside
  • Whether it’s standard or climate controlled

11 Ways to Make Storage Cheaper

11. Flat rate vs hourly movers?

Generally, flat-rate (binding) estimates are best when you’re moving from one state to another.

But keep in mind, even binding estimates aren’t necessarily set in stone when items have been added and movers perform more services than were originally estimated.

For local moves, it’s much more common to pay by the hour, and hourly rates depend on how many movers are on your crew.

In Depth Comparison: Flat rate vs Hourly Movers

12. What’s the difference between interstate and intrastate moves?

Interstate moves are those in which your old home is in one state and your new home another.

Intrastate moves are relatively long distance in-state moves, usually when the distance between residences exceeds 40 or 50 miles.

Local moves on the other hand, are in-state moves within the same town, city, or county.

Interstate vs Intrastate Moves

13. What are van lines?

Van Lines are multi-state affiliations of independently owned moving companies that operate in conjunction with one another under nationally recognized brand names.

The largest van lines are:

An in-depth look at the pros and cons of hiring a van line versus an independent mover.

14. What are moving brokers?

Moving brokers are companies that don’t actually own trucks or warehouses, but instead act as intermediaries between customers and actual movers.

Though there are reputable brokers, the industry is full of nefarious players, and in many instances, their “services” don’t add any real value to the moving process.

The Problem With Moving Brokers

15. When is the best time to move?

In many respects, it’s best to move during the non-peak season which generally lasts from the end of September until early May.

During this time –

  • Prices may be significantly cheaper
  • Your items may be delivered more quickly on interstate moves
  • You won’t run into capacity issues like movers being fully booked
  • Movers may be more inclined to offer incentives like free storage and used boxes

On the other hand, moving during the summer may be more disruptive for families with children.

16. What are high-value items?

On interstate moves, high-value items (articles of extraordinary value) are those with a value of $100 per pound or more.

Most interstate movers have a separate high-value inventory on which these items should be listed.

High-value items typically include –

  • Jewelry
  • Gold and silver
  • High-end electronics and computers
  • Furs
  • Original artwork
  • Oriental rugs

At delivery, all high-value items should be checked by you and the driver to make sure they’re accounted for and undamaged.

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