Frequently Asked Questions
Berger-Allied’s FAQ moving checklist can be a big help. We have researched the most commonly asked moving questions for you. From pre-move to claims, we answer all your moving questions.
If you don’t find what you need, please give us a call.
When is the best time to move?
Take all the factors into consideration when deciding on the best time for you to move. Keep in mind, however, that summer months (mid-May to mid-September) and the beginning and end of each month (regardless of the season) are particularly busy for moving companies and may require more flexibility and advanced scheduling.
How do I determine which moving companies to contact?
Ask your neighbors, friends, coworkers and family members if they can make recommendations. Investigate each of the movers you select with the Better Business Bureau. Good service is the best measure of a good mover!
When should I contact moving companies for estimates?
Try to provide moving companies with as much notice as possible, especially if you are moving during the summer months (mid-May to mid-September) or at the beginning or end of a month (regardless of the season). We recommend making arrangements at least four to six weeks before your desired moving date. This will increase your likelihood of securing the pickup and delivery dates you desire. Add even more time to make a decision if you are obligated by your employer to submit estimates for approval. Try to determine which mover you will use four weeks from your actual load day. Call the mover to confirm your booking and schedule your packing, loading and delivery dates. This timeframe can be shortened in the off peak season.
What happens when a relocation consultant comes to my home?
The relocation consultant will arrive at your home to perform a visual survey of your items. Once completed, the relocation consultant will calculate the weight, packing cost and any other charge related to your move.
The relocation consultant must be able to clearly see what is being moved in order to provide you with an accurate estimate. Don’t be alarmed if the relocation consultant goes through your cabinets and closets and looks under the beds and on top of cabinets. Crawl spaces, attics and cluttered closets can be deceiving, so organize your house before the relocation consultant arrives. If you know of items that are out of view or will be eliminated, be certain to point them out to the relocation consultant.
Pricing and Paperwork
What is a binding estimate?
A binding estimate is a contract that specifies, in advance, the precise cost of the move based on the services requested or deemed necessary at the time of the estimate. If additional services are requested or required at either origin or destination, the total cost will increase.
What is a non-binding estimate?
A non-binding estimate charges you according to the actual weight of your shipment and the actual cost of the services performed. You will still go though the estimating process to determine the approximate cost of your shipment.
To verify the weight of your shipment, the trailer will be weighed prior to loading your shipment and again after your shipment has been loaded. All other charges will be calculated at your origin address. If there are any additional charges that are incurred during the delivery process, the driver will provide you with the additional cost. This is a rare event, but it may occur.
How are transportation charges calculated?
If you are moving less than 50 miles, transportation charges are based on an hourly rate. If you are moving 50 or more miles, the charges are based on the weight of your shipment and mileage. A variety of additional charges that may appear on your estimate, so be sure to ask your relocation consultant to explain each item charge for you. Additional charges might include packing, crating, valuation or coverage, extra labor, or a bulky article charge for oversized items. Again, be certain you understand these charges so you can accurately compare your estimates.
How should I pay and what are the payment methods?
Tariff provisions require that all charges be paid before your shipment is unloaded at destination. Payments can be made using cash, certified check, or money order. Other payment options, such as a credit card, can be arranged with your professional moving service provider. Discuss these options with your relocation consultant and/or the customer service representative. In the event that your employer is paying for the move, the employer may pre-arrange to be billed via invoice. No matter what payment option you choose, be sure to have it all worked out prior to packing and loading. If the method of payment is not established prior to load day, it can cause you problems on delivery day.
What is an order for service?
All movers are required to prepare an order for service before transporting your shipment. The order for service provides you with written confirmation of the moving services you requested, the agreed upon pickup and delivery dates of your shipment, the amount of valuation you requested, and a telephone number where you can be reached during the move.
The order for service also shows the charges you will be assessed for your move. If you are moving under a non-binding estimate, the order for service will indicate the amount of the estimated non-binding charges, the method of payment for the charges, and the maximum amount you are required to pay at the time of delivery to obtain possession of your shipment in the event the actual charges exceed the non-binding estimate (you will have 30 days following delivery to pay the balance of the charges due). If you are moving under a binding estimate, the order for service will show the charges you will be required to pay at delivery, based on the binding estimate and the terms of payment. Both you and your mover must sign the order for service.
What is a Bill of Lading?
Every mover is required to prepare a bill of lading for every shipment transported. The bill of lading is the receipt for your goods and the contract with your mover for their transportation services. The driver who loads your shipment must give you a copy of the bill of lading.
It is your responsibility to read and understand the information on the bill of lading before you sign it. The bill of lading identifies the mover and specifies when the transportation services are to be performed. It specifies the terms and conditions for payment of the total charges, the maximum amount required to be paid at the time of delivery if you are moving under a non-binding estimate, the valuation of your shipment, and the amount the mover will be liable for in the event of loss or damage.
What is an Inventory?
The driver will usually inventory your shipment as it is loaded (but this is not required by law). When completed, the inventory provides a detailed, descriptive listing of your household goods and the condition of each item when received by the mover.
Be sure that everything listed on the inventory is correct. This is not always the easiest task, as you will find things written on the inventory like PBO, which means Packed by Owner. The contents of this carton can’t and won’t be listed because the driver is not able to see inside each and every box. You will also find CP on a line item in the inventory. CP means Carrier Packed. These are two important listings.
In the middle column of the inventory form, inventory codes are used to make note of any irregularities or existing damage to particular pieces. The code legend is listed on the top of the inventory sheet.
The inventory is for you to keep track of what is loaded and the condition of each item. If damage occurs on a particular piece during the loading process, get the inventory tag number on that item and make a note in the far right hand column on the line that corresponds with that piece. The inventory should also be used at destination to verify the delivery of your items and make note of any damage to your items. This document will be used if the claims process is initiated, so it is important to have any damage clearly noted.
Be certain to point out any damaged items to the driver. Often times people grow accustomed to looking at a piece of furniture in a certain place and in a certain light. Once this piece is placed in a new setting, damage that may have been there for a long time may be more noticeable. If you are unsure whether the damage is a result of the move, ask your driver to explain the condition of the piece as noted on the inventory during the loading process. This is the quickest way to clear up whether it is new or existing damage.
Can I pack anything in the drawers of my dresser or desk?
All loose items must be packed in boxes to prevent loss or damage. It is recommended that you pack all items and leave the drawers empty.
Will the driver load all the boxes that I packed?
Yes, as long as the driver deems them safe for transport.
How should I pack my waterbed?
Waterbeds need to be drained completely. Fiber-filled waterbeds need to be professionally vacuum-drained in advance of your move date.
Can I pack and move my plants?
Most moving companies will not take your plants. The stress and heat of being inside of the moving trailer usually causes them to die. Many states do not allow the entry of plants while other states will admit plants under certain conditions. There are some states that have no regulations at all. Be sure to understand your state’s regulations prior to moving the plants in your own vehicle.
What should I do with my jewelry and other valuable items?
Items of extraordinary value such as jewelry, money, antiques and stamp collections can be included in your shipment, provided that you notify your local moving representative of these items before packing and moving day. It is strongly recommended that you carry irreplaceable and expensive articles with you or make other arrangements for their transport.
In the moving industry, items worth more than $100 per pound are considered to be articles of “extraordinary” value. To be assured that a claim involving these articles is not limited to minimal liability, complete and sign your mover’s version of a high value inventory form. Also be sure to sign the “Extraordinary (Unusual) Value Article Declaration” box on the Bill of Lading.
Each mover has a slightly different procedure to follow as it relates to high value items. Ask your relocation consultant to provide you with an explanation of their process. This is a confusing but important task, so make sure that you clearly understand the rules prior to load day.
How do I prepare my appliances for moving?
Appliances such as washers, dryers and refrigerators must be disconnected, and the washer must have a stabilizer installed. Again, your estimator can help you understand how to these items are serviced. All local moving companies have business relationships with local service providers that handle this type of service. Be sure you know who your mover will be using as you will need to let these people into your home to provide the service.
How will Allied protect my upholstered furniture? Allied uses a special procedure called stretch-wrap. It is a heavy, clear plastic wrap that protects your furniture from being soiled.
Valuation of Coverage
Am I protected against loss or damage while my goods are in transit?
Yes, but how much protection and the cost of the protection is dependant upon the valuation coverage you select. This can be one of the most confusing aspects of moving, but it is important that you fully understand what is being provided to you. Valuation is the liability of the moving company; it is not insurance. Often times your homeowners insurance covers moving. Check with your insurance provider to find out whether you are covered for moving.
The valuation option you choose determines the basis upon which a claim will be adjusted and the maximum liability of the carrier. The liability of a carrier for loss or damage is based upon the carrier’s tariffs, as well as federal laws and regulations that have certain limitations and exclusions.
Released Value – This is the most economical option as it is no cost to you. This option, however, provides only minimal protection and is not sufficient coverage for most shipments. Released value pays $.60 per pound per article if lost or damaged. That means a piece of furniture weighing 75lbs would receive a settlement of $45.00. You will be asked to initial the bill of lading if you select this coverage. The only time this is applicable is if your homeowners insurance policy covers your goods for their entire value, and this would be supplemental coverage.
Full Extra Care Protection – This is your most comprehensive coverage. You may hear it referred to as “full replacement value” or “full value protection.” If you elect to purchase full value protection, articles that are lost, damaged or destroyed will be either repaired, replaced with like items, or a cash settlement will be made for the current market replacement value (regardless of the age of the lost or damaged item). Depreciation of a lost or damaged item is not a factor in determining replacement value when the shipment is moved under full value protection. The cost of full value protection may be further subject to various deductible levels of liability that may reduce your cost. Ask your mover for the details of their specific plan.
How do I prepare my home and myself for move day?
We may ask you to choose from several consecutive days during which your goods will be loaded. The number of days from which to choose is referred to as a load spread and depends upon the size of your shipment and the time of the year your shipment is being loaded. By being flexible during the busy season (mid-May to mid-September) and allowing for extra days on your load spread, you will have a better chance of securing a truck and driver to load your shipment.
Your customer service representative and/or driver will contact you at least 24 hours prior to load day to let you know time of arrival. Be sure to share any changes that have taken place that may affect loading day, such as construction on the street in front of your home which might prevent a large moving truck from getting near your home. In the event that you have not finished packing, contact your mover as soon as possible so professional packers can complete the packing.
In order to prepare your home for the crew, move anything off the porch and walkways that might obstruct movement of your goods out of your home. Take doors off the hinges if you know certain items will not fit through them. Remove all small throw rugs from traffic areas that could cause the driver or crew to trip or slip.
Have water, Gatorade or soda on hand for the driver and crew, especially on a hot summer day. They will come prepared, but will be grateful for your thoughtfulness.
Our drivers will prepare your home with runners, door jam protectors and railing protectors if applicable. This will help prevent little nicks that occur during the loading process.
How will I know where my shipment is once it leaves my home?
Berger’s satellite tracking capabilities will allow you to trace the whereabouts of your shipment via the internet. Ask your relocation consultant for details.
How will I know when my shipment is going to be delivered?
Your customer service representative can provide you with updates regarding the status of your shipment, and the driver will contact you 24 hours prior to delivery.
Be sure to provide your driver and customer service representative with your contact information. The phone number at your new home is only good if there is someone there to take the call. Be sure to let your moving company know if you can be reached at work, a hotel, a temporary residence, or by email. If you cannot be reached, make arrangements with a friend or family member to serve as the liaison between you and the driver and provide the driver with their contact information.
How do I file a claim and receive a settlement?
Be sure to understand your coverage and the claims settlement procedure prior to your move.