Found Your New Home? Prepare for the Move!


 Here is valuable information to help you deal with movers:

“Valuation” Coverage 

When scheduling your move, there are many things to consider.  One that is often overlooked is coverage for items that may be damaged during the move.  Damage claims are infrequent for most moving companies, still, it’s important to be realistic: when hundreds of items are being hauled up and down stairs, through doorways and in and out of trucks, often in inclement weather, the occasional “casualty” is to be expected.  In Washington, the State regulates movers and mandates the process by which damage is addressed.  Most States havevery  similar rules.  Coverage for damaged items is called “Valuation” and is similar to, but not, insurance.  You will be required to choose your desired level of valuation prior to beginning your move, so it helps to be familiar with it.  Valuation is divided into three categories:

“Basic Valuation” is minimal coverage provided with all moves, at no cost.  Based strictly on weight, it allows for reimbursement at sixty cents per pound, regardless of value.  Basic Valuation is the most common choice. 

Example: If a ten pound lamp is broken reimbursement is $6.00, no matter the actual value.


Option Two allows for repair, replacement or reimbursement (at the mover’s discretion), with a $300 deductable.  People with many high value items frequently choose this option because it provides coverage as considerably less cost than option three.

Example: If your broken lamp cost $500, the remedy would be either to repair it, replacement with a duplicate lamp, or $200 ($500 value, less $300 deductable), whichever the mover chooses.


Option Three allows for repair, replacement or full reimbursement (at the mover’s discretion) with no deductable. This is the most costly options, and chosen least often.

Example: If your broken lamp cost $500, when the claim is addressed, it would be repaired, replaced with a duplicate lamp, or reimbursed at  $500,  as the mover chooses


Options Two or Three are available for a fee and must be purchased for the entire load. 

The cost depends on the value of your goods – you may declare a value or the movers will calculate it based on weight…in either case, the minimum value allowed is no less than $5 per lb, though you may declare a much higher value.


There are exceptions for all levels of coverage…valuation coverage does not apply to:

  • Load/unload only jobs
  • Commercial moves.
  • Items you packed yourself
  • Items made of particleboard
  • Fine art, antiques, or items of exceptional value Money, jewelry, documents, small personal valuables
  • Anything that was not included in the move


See the consumer guide provided by your mover for additional exceptions.



Your mover wants to address your claim promptly and in such a way that you will be satisfied, but remember the rules set out by the state apply to both the mover and the customer.

If something is damaged you need to:

  • Bring it to your mover’s attention promptly
  • Note it on the bill of lading at the end of the move.
  • If discovered later, call your movers and let them know right away.
  • A claim form will be sent for you to fill out and return.
  • This form must be filled out completely. Incomplete forms may result in claim delay or denial.
  • Claims for items valued over $100 should be accompanied by a receipt.
  • If receipts are unavailable, provide as much detail as possible so claim can be addressed:
  1. approximate date purchased brand
  2.  model or style name or number, and dimensions.
  3. 3.       Clear photos of the entire item and close-ups of the damage, include a ruler for scale. 


Valuation can add several hundred dollars to the cost of a smaller move, and may add thousands to a very large move with costly furnishings. (And it is a good profit maker for careful movers.) Because of the cost most people choose free, Basic Valuation.  When choosing it is important to consider both the cost and whether you’ll be happy with the level of coverage chosen in case of damage. 

Free coverage may sound good prior to the move, but sixty cents per pound can be disappointing if something is actually damaged.


Provided by:

Express Movers, Incorporated

Seattle’s Premier Home and Business Movers, Proud Members Of GSBA.