Moving Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any moving questions that need to be answered, Finest Mover’s FAQ moving checklist can be a big help. We have researched the most commonly asked moving questions, and then answered them all via this moving checklist. From pre-move to claims, we answer all your moving questions on Finest Mover’s FAQ moving checklist.
Understanding the move process
* When should I call a moving company?
* When is the best time to move?
* How do I select which moving companies will provide me with a moving estimate?
* Do I need an estimate?
* What is a binding estimate?
* What is a non-binding estimate?
* How is the cost of my shipment calculated?
* How long does it take to move?
* What is a tariff?
When should I call a moving company?
The busiest times for moving companies are during the summer months, May 1 – September 30. At the end of these months, the volume of shipments is extremely heavy. This is the case for all professional moving companies so the earlier, the better. it’s wise to give your moving company from four to six week’s notice, if possible. The more lead time you can give, the more likely we will be able to meet your preferred delivery schedule.
Try to provide the moving companies with as much notice as possible, especially if you are moving during the busy season as noted above.
All moving companies, for their standard type of service, require alternate delivery dates. We’ll do our best, of course, to comply with the dates you prefer or the nearest possible alternatives. You will be notified in advance of the loading date for your goods and of the estimated date of arrival.
If your pickup and delivery dates are critical due to such factors as a lease expiration or a real estate closing, you may choose an extra-cost service which will enable us to accommodate a more precise, reasonable schedule. You should discuss your specific pickup and delivery requirements with your Finest Movers agent, who can advise you regarding the types and costs of services available.
When is the best time to move?
If there is a choice, most moving companies suggest you select a time other than summer, the end of the month or the end-of-year holidays. The heaviest demands are placed on vans, equipment and personnel during these periods.
However, Finest Movers believes you should move when it is most convenient for you. Factors involved in the decision may include:
* whether the move must be made immediately
* moving children during the school term
* separation of the family while the move is under way
If the move can be scheduled for a time when vans and trained personnel are more readily available, we’ll be better able to meet your preferred delivery schedule.
How do I select which moving companies will provide me with a moving estimate?
Investigate each of the movers you select with the Better Business Bureau. Good service is the best measure of a good mover!
Do I need an estimate?
A Finest Movers agent will make a pre-move survey of your household goods to be transported. A pre-move survey is needed to determine the approximate cost of a move and the amount of van space/weight your goods will occupy. Your Finest Movers agent will compute the approximate cost and give you a written Estimate/Order for Service. There is no charge for the estimate.
Keep in mind that estimates (household goods surveys) are only guidelines. On interstate shipments, you must pay the total charges as determined by the actual weight/van space of your shipment, and the services that you authorize or which become necessary to handle your shipment.
Charges for local shipments are generally calculated on an hourly basis. There may be a minimum number of hours required.
What is a binding estimate?
A binding estimate or binding cost of service 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 (such as a “shuttle” to or from a location to which a full-size van cannot operate directly), the total cost will increase. Binding estimates are valid for the time period specified, up to 60 days.
If you add items to be moved or require additional services, such as packing, between the time of the estimate and the time of your move, there will be additional charges. An addendum specifying these additional charges will be prepared for your signature.
If you are interested in obtaining a binding estimate, please discuss it with your Finest Movers agent.
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 that are performed. You will still go though the estimating process to determine what your shipment may cost.
To verify the weight of your shipment, the driver will weigh his trailer prior to loading your shipment. Once your shipment is on board, the driver will weigh his trailer again. 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.
* Click here to Request an Estimate.
How is the cost of my shipment calculated?
If you are moving to a new state, the charges are based on the weight of your shipment or van space. These are referred to as the transportation charges. There are a variety of different charges that could appear on your estimate, so be sure to ask your relocation consultant to explain each item charge for you. Some of the additional charges that may appear include packing, crating, valuation or coverage, bulky article charge for oversized items and extra labor. Again, be certain you understand these charges so that you can accurately compare the estimates you receive.
How long does it take to move?
This depends on many factors, such as the time of year, weather conditions, size of your shipment, time required to load and unload, and the direction and distance your shipment is traveling. Because the furnishings of the average household will not fill a van, it is often necessary for two or more shipments to be loaded on the same van. Each shipment is carefully sectioned off from the others. With the help of Finest Mover’s computer-assisted dispatching system, pickup and delivery dates are scheduled according to the origins and destinations of individual shipments on the van.
What is a tariff?
This is the list of rules, regulations, available services and resulting charges used by all motor carriers which provide interstate transportation of household goods. The tariffs are published by each household goods motor carrier and include its various services.
Understanding moving paperwork
* What is an order for service?
* What is a Bill of Lading?
* What is an Inventory?
What is an order for service?
All movers are required to prepare an Order for Service before they transport your shipment. The order for service provides you with written confirmation of the services that you requested to be performed in conjunction with your shipment. It lists the agreed upon dates for the pickup and delivery of your shipment and the amount of valuation that you requested, along with any special services that you ordered and a place and telephone number where the mover can contact you during the move.
The order for service also shows the charges that 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 in case the actual charges exceed the non-binding estimate, the maximum amount that you are required to pay at the time of delivery to obtain possession of your shipment. If you are moving under a binding estimate, the order for service will show the charges that you will be required to pay at delivery, based on the binding estimate and the terms of payment. 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. 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 is to be performed. It also specifies the terms and conditions for payment of the total charges and the maximum amount required to be paid at the time of delivery if you are moving under a non-binding estimate. Information regarding the valuation of your shipment and the amount the mover will be liable for in the event of loss or damage is also shown.
What is an Inventory?
The driver will usually inventory your shipment as he or she loads it (but it’s 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. This means Carrier Packed container. These are two important listings.
Remember, this 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. This is the document that will be scrutinized when the claims process is initiated so it is important to have the damage clearly noted.
This inventory should also be used at destination when your shipment is delivered. Use the inventory to verify the articles that are delivered and again note an exception to the condition of the items as they are brought into your home. Point out the damage to the driver.
What often occurs is that a piece of furniture has been in your home for many years and you grow accustomed to looking at it in a certain place and in a certain light. When you bring that same piece into your new home, you may notice damage that may have been there for a long time. The driver will have noted the scratch or chip at your origin residence. If you are not sure if it was existing damage or new damage, ask your driver to explain the condition of the piece as he noted on the inventory during the loading process. This is the quickest way to clear up what is new damage and what was there all along.
Finest Movers drivers are very careful about the way they handle your items and the inventory is their safeguard against felonious damage claims. Use this inventory as a positive tool to make sure that you are protected just as the driver will use it to protect him or her.
* Click here to Request an Estimate.
Understanding What Things Cost and Insurance
* How and when should I pay?
* Am I protected against loss or damage while my goods are in transit?
* Released Rate Liability – Basic Coverage
* Full-Value Coverage
* Items of “Extraordinary Value”
How and when should I pay?
Tariff provisions require that all charges be paid before your shipment is unloaded at destination (unless prior arrangements have been made for later billing).
Payment for your Finest Movers shipment can be made by one of the following methods: cash, money order or cashier’s check. In addition, the American Express® Card, Visa® or MasterCard® can be used to pay for interstate moves only, with advance approval required prior to loading (unless other billing arrangements have been made). Personal checks are not accepted. In the event that your employer is paying for the move, the employer may pre-arrange to be billed via invoice. Whatever works for you is great. Just be sure to have this 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.
All payment forms apply to both binding and non-binding estimates.
If you have received a non-binding estimate and your actual moving costs exceed the estimate, you will be required to pay no more than 110% of the estimated cost at pickup. Should your actual costs exceed the estimate by more than 10%, you will be required to pay balance before delivery of the amount over 110%.
Payment of estimated charges plus 10% applies if goods are delivered into storage. If storage at destination (storage-in-transit) is necessary, all transportation charges must be paid at time of delivery of the shipment to the warehouse. You will then be assessed storage charges based on the applicable rates set forth in our tariff.
Am I protected against loss or damage while my goods are in transit?
Yes, but how much protection you have and its cost to you depend upon the Finest Movers “valuation” program you choose â€“ Full-Value Coverage or Released Rate Liability (60 cents per pound per article).
The valuation option you select determines the basis upon which any claim will be adjusted and establishes the maximum liability of Finest Movers. The liability of Finest Movers for loss or damage is based upon Finest Movers tariffs, as well as federal laws and regulations, and has certain limitations and exclusions. Valuation is not insurance; it is simply a tariff-based level of motor carrier liability. If you desire insurance, you should consult your insurance company representative about available insurance coverages.
Released Rate Liability – Basic Coverage
With this type of valuation, Finest Movers maximum liability for loss or damage to any article in the shipment is 60 cents multiplied by the weight of the article. This is the basic liability level and is provided at no charge.
Under this protection plan, if any article is lost, destroyed or damaged while under Finest Movers interstate authority, it will either 1) repair the article to the extent necessary to restore it to the same condition as when it was received by Finest Movers, or pay you for the cost of such repairs; or 2) replace the article with an article of like kind and quality, or pay you for the cost of such a replacement. An additional charge applies for this option. A Finest Movers will determine the appropriate settlement method to be used.
Full-Value Coverage and deductible options are available in dollar increments to fit your needs at very attractive rates.
The deductible options are as follows:
* Option A — Full-value protection with no deductible
* Option B — Full-value protection with a $250 deductible
* Option C — Full-value protection with a $500 deductible
Finest Movers total liability for loss or damage will be the amount you declare as the value of your shipment. However, the minimum total declared value must be at least equal to the weight of your shipment multiplied by $6.00.
Items of “Extraordinary Value”
In the moving industry, items having a value of more than $100 per pound are known as “articles of extraordinary value.” All “articles of extraordinary value” in your shipment must be listed on the High-Value Inventory form which will be given to you by the salesperson to complete. Although you might have other articles of extraordinary value, the following list should help you identify items that might fall under this classification: jewelry, furs, art and coin collections, crystal, figurines, antiques, Oriental rugs, precious stones or gems, china and silverware. In the event of a claim, any settlement involving an article of extraordinary value listed on the High-Value Inventory form is limited to the value of the article, not to exceed the declared value of the shipment, based upon the Finest Movers valuation program applicable to your shipment. If an article of extraordinary value is not listed on the form, Finest Movers maximum liability is limited to $100 per pound per article. If you are not shipping any items of high value, sign the form and print the word “None” in the inventory list.
You must select the valuation program, and you must write your choice in the “Valuation” box on the Bill of Lading in your own handwriting.
For a full description of the Full-Value Coverage and Released Rate Liability programs, please ask your Finest Movers agent.
Questions about my belongings
* Can my possessions be stored temporarily?
* Will my furnishings remain clean?
* Do my appliances need special attention?
* Can I pack my china, glass and crystal?
* Can I pack my clothes in a chest or dresser drawers?
* Will the driver load all the boxes that I packed?
* How should I pack my waterbed?
* How do I prepare my appliances for moving?
* How should I pack my waterbed?
Can my possessions be stored temporarily?
If you are unable to take immediate possession of your new residence, your belongings can be stored in an Finest Movers warehouse. Finest Movers agents throughout the US provide safe storage facilities for holding your goods until you’re ready for them. However, you are responsible for the storage charges, but no charges for final delivery from the warehouse.
Will my furnishings remain clean?
Finest Movers protects your upholstered furniture with ClearGuard shrink wrap if needed, a clear plastic material, before they are wrapped with furniture pads.
Do my appliances need special attention?
Most refrigerators, washers, dryers, and other electrical or mechanical appliances require special servicing to ensure safe transportation. Any moving parts such as motors on major appliances, washer drums, and ice makers should be securely fastened for shipment. Gas appliances need to be serviced and disconnected prior to your move.
It is the owner’s responsibility to see that appliances are serviced for shipment before they are loaded on the van. Upon request and for an additional charge, a moving company will perform this service, using either its own qualified personnel or an authorized service company.
Can I pack my china, glass and crystal?
Most people prefer to have their household possessions, especially fragile items, professionally packed by a moving company. However, if you decide to pack these items yourself, remember that the basic principles of good packing include wrapping the items individually, providing plenty of cushioning and making sure of a firm pack.
Be sure to select a sturdy container with a lid. Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper on the bottom of the carton as a cushion. Wrap each item individually with a soft material to provide a safe, protective, “padded nest.” Pack the heaviest items on the bottom and the lighter ones next, filling in empty spaces with crushed paper. Place plates on edge and glassware on rims for maximum protection. Mark the carton “Fragile,” and list the contents on the outside. Be sure to seal the carton with tape.
Can I pack my clothes in a chest or dresser drawers?
Please do not fill drawers with any items which can damage the piece of furniture during transit. Be careful NOT to leave fragile items, money, jewelry, watches or other valuables in the drawers, as well as anything that might spill or leak. For more information on how to pack clothing, please visit the Packing Tips section of this Web site.
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.
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 Finest Movers protect my upholstered furniture?
Finest Movers uses a special procedure called Blanket-wrap. It is a heavy and very thick blanket that protects your furniture from being soiled.
Understanding the day of move
* How do I prepare my home and myself for move day?
* How will I know where my shipment is once it leaves my home?
* How will I know when my shipment is going to be delivered?
How do I prepare my home and myself for move day?
You mover may ask you to select from one to several consecutive days during which your goods will be loaded. The amount of days in what is referred to as a load spread depends upon the size of your shipment and the time of the year when your shipment is loaded. Remember to try to remain flexible during the busy season by allowing for extra days on your load spread to have a better chance of securing a truck and driver to load your shipment.
The 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. A good example of changes that may take place is that the street in front of your home is now under construction, preventing the large over-the-road truck to get near your home. You may have not completed the packing as something unanticipated took you away from packing. Contact your mover as soon as possible so that they can send out professional packers to complete the job for you.
Make sure your home is ready for the crew. Move anything off the porch and walkways that may obstruct movement of your goods out of the home. Take doors of the hinges if you know certain items will not fit through. 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.
How will I know where my shipment is once it leaves my home?
Give a call to the dispatch department and someone will be able to locate the shipment in route.
How will I know when my shipment is going to be delivered?
Your driver will contact you 24 hours prior to delivery. The moving company will assign a customer service representative as your primary contact and they will be able to provide you with an update as to the date your goods will arrive.
Be certain to provide the driver with all your contact information. The phone number at the new home is only good if there is a person there to take the call. If you can be reached at work, a hotel or temporary residence or by email let the driver know. If you will be impossible to reach, make arrangements with a friend or family member to serve as the liaison between you and the driver and provide the driver with that contact information.
Items that we can’t move
* Can I move my frozen foods?
* Can I move jewelry and other valuables?
* Can I move my house plants?
* Can I move my pet?
Can I move my frozen foods?
Frozen foods can be moved, but only under specific, limited conditions. Be sure to discuss this with your Finest Movers agent. In most instances, we suggest that shipping arrangements be made through local frozen food locker plants, especially for a long-distance move. It is even easier just to use up the foods prior to the move or donate them to someone.
For a complete list of items that cannot be shipped, please visit the Non-Allowable’s section of this Web site.
Can I move jewelry and other valuables?
Items of extraordinary value such as jewelry, money, photographs, antiques and stamp collections can be included in your shipment, provided you notify your Finest Movers agent of these items before packing or moving day. However, we strongly recommend that you carry irreplaceable and expensive articles with you, or make other arrangements for their transport.
Can I move my house plants?
Finest Movers cannot accept responsibility for safely moving your plants, because they may suffer from a lack of water and light as well as probable temperature changes while in the van. You may prefer to transport your house plants in the family car or ship them by plane.
Some states prohibit the entry of all plants, while other states will admit plants under certain conditions; still others have no plant regulations. Be sure to check the regulations of the state to which you’re moving.
Can I move my pet?
Pets cannot be carried on the moving van. Dogs, cats, canaries and parakeets can usually be transported in the family car or pet carrier.
How do I file and receive my settlement on my claim?
Claims are always unpleasant – no one wants to have to deal with the problem but damage does occur and claims are a result. The best advice is to understand the claims settlement procedure prior to moving. It is important that you understand your coverage and how to proceed through the claims process.
Claims adjusters are people with a difficult job. It is better to approach them with kindness than anger. Understand you coverage and be certain to have the proper documentation in the form of an inventory with the damage noted.