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Understanding Valuation Charges and Insurance Options

During your move, the moving company is responsible for the value of the items that you ask it to transport. There are, however, different levels of liability that the moving company will assume depending on how much you are willing to pay. The level of liability that you choose will determine how much compensation you will receive if anything is damaged during transport. Federal law stipulates that interstate movers must offer clients two liability options, released value and full value protection. Make sure to understand these options fully so that you will know what to expect in the event of breakage. Consumers should note that released value and full value protection are not insurance policies governed by state insurance laws- they are federal contractual tariff levels of liability that are authorized under the Released Rates Orders of the Surface Transportation Board of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Released value protection offers minimal protection with no extra charge to the customer. Under the guidelines of released value protection, the moving company assumes liability for up to 60 cents per pound per article. In other words, even if a 100 pound, $1000 flat-screen television was broken enroute, the mover will only be required to pay $60. All customers opting for released value protection must sign a contract agreeing to these terms. If such a contract is not signed, the shipment will automatically be transported with full value protection, and consumers will be subject to all applicable fees.

Consumers who opt for released value protection may also choose to purchase third-party insurance that will increase their compensation on all lost or damaged goods. If third-party insurance is purchased, the insurance company will assume responsibility for the value of all items above the 60 cents per pound that the moving company is obligated to pay. Some homeowners' insurance packages offer protection for items during transport. For this reason, it is recommended to check your policy before purchasing third-party insurance.

Under full value protection, the moving company is responsible to repair or replace most broken or lost items- or to compensate the customer with a payment equaling the item's current market value. Needless to say, this protection is significantly more comprehensive than released value protection. However, moving companies can limit their liability for objects that are of exceptional value (such as jewelry or antiques), unless these items are explicitly listed in the shipping documents. The cost of the full value protection plan varies from company to company and is subject to various deductible levels that will reduce the compensation that you will receive.

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