No matter where you operate or what type of items you are transporting, movers are required to assume some form of liability. In the moving and storage industry, things are typically regulated by governmental agencies. When it comes to your liability as it relates to transported goods, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) makes the rules.
Last week, we talked about one of two options for liability: full (replacement) value protection. With that option, the movers are responsible to replace, repair or make cash settlement for any items lost, damaged or destroyed. However, there is a second option: released value
This option is the most economical protection available to the customer. There is no additional cost, as with Full Value Protection. However, this option provides minimal protection to the consumer in terms of the liability the moving company takes responsibility for.
• The mover assumes liability for no more than 60-cents per pound, per article
• The loss or damage is based on 60-cents, based on weight, not the actual value of the item
• There is a place on the bill of lading (BOL) for the customer to sign and agree to this type of liability protection
By default, this type of liability coverage applies to all moving companies, regardless of the type of movers insurance they hold or any of the limits within that coverage. It is up to the customer to request the type of protection that he or she wants. It is up to the moving company to understand the limits of each option and explain both to the customer before signing off on a BOL.
*Remember, both of these options are not insurance agreements. They are contractual levels of liability authorized under Released Rates Orders of the Surface Transportation Board of the US Department of Transportation.
Additional liability insurance can be purchased by moving companies and by customers. Always be sure everything in a transaction is documented. This is the most fool-proof way to protect yourself. At Wolpert Insurance, our agents are experts in the moving and storage industry. Should you ever have any questions, all you have to do is give us a call. We’ll be glad to help in any way we can, even if all you need is a clarification on a regulation!