In the moving and storage industry, you have a lot of different responsibilities. You are not only responsible for your own liability and well-being, but when you accept a shipment, you are also liable, to some extent, for the value of the goods you are transporting.
However, there are different levels of liability. As a business owner, it is imperative to understand the rules that come with moving liability. The Surface Transportation Board (STB) outlines the different levels of liability and your rights and responsibilities. All movers are obligated to adhere to these standards. This makes understanding liability, in its most basic sense, extremely important to your business’s success.
You have two options:
1. Full (Replacement) Value Protection
2. Released Value
Let’s talk about the first one…
• This is the most comprehensive plan available for liability protection
• Articles that are lost, damaged or destroyed will be (at your option) either repaired, replaced, or paid for in a cash settlement
• This takes into account the current market replacement value – regardless of age or condition of the items in question
• Depreciation is never a factor with this option
The mover will charge a fee to the customer for this option. Since this type of liability is chargeable, the price varies from mover to mover. Under this option, movers are permitted to limit their liability for loss or damages if there are items of extraordinary value. These items are always specifically listed on your bill of lading (BOL).
*Remember, both of the options available 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.
Obtaining movers insurance is the first step to protecting your liability. The second step involves you understanding the guidelines put into place. Be sure to check in next week when we talk about the second option you may be obligated to when it comes to assuming liability. At Wolpert Insurance, we have carved out a niche for the moving and storage industry – understanding the rules and regulations is part of our job, and helping you is our passion! Call us if you have any questions, whether you’re on the road or not!