LIABILITY FOR LOSS & DAMAGE:
All moving companies are required by law to assume liability for the value of the goods they transport. There are different levels of liability, and consumers should be aware of the amount of protection provided and the charges for each option. Most movers offer 2 different levels of liability under the terms of their tariffs and pursuant to the TxDOT and UsDOT, which govern the moving industry. Any moving company that tells you they never damage any furniture is lying, and you should find another moving company. According to the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA), damage claims are filed on nearly 15% of all moves completed by moving companies throughout the U.S. What sets Delicate Moving Systems (DMS) apart from a majority of our competition is that our claim rate is 60% lower than the national average and, when a claim is submitted, we are efficient in resolving that claim. We are first and foremost committed to moving your belongings safely. Our BBB record reflects that as well. If you are not satisfied with the 2 options that we offer, contact your insurance agent about possible alternatives.
OPTION 1: RELEASED VALUE
This is the most economical protection option available. This is a no-additional-cost option which provides minimal protection. Under this option, the carrier assumes liability for no more than $0.60 per pound per article. Loss or damage claims are settled based on the estimated pound weight of the article multiplied by $0.60. For example, if a 50-pound TV valued at $1000 were lost or damaged, the carrier would be liable for no more than $30.00. There is no extra charge for this protection, and you will be required to sign specific statements on the bill of lading or moving services contract agreeing to it. ALL MOVERS must follow these guidelines in the State of Texas. When a mover says that they are completely liable for your goods, they are referring to the liability mentioned above. The only way for your goods to be covered at an amount higher than the state-mandated $0.60 per pound per article is if the shipper and carrier agree to such in writing prior to the move, and almost all moving companies charge for this coverage.
OPTION 2: Replacement Value Protection (RVP)
Replacement Value Protection (RVP) may be available to the shipper at an additional cost through the carrier. THIS IS NOT INSURANCE. RVP is an increase to the carrier’s liability. The cost of the increased protection is based on the following factors: the declared value of the entire shipment and the deductible amount chosen by the shipper. The carrier is not required by law to offer RVP. The carrier may also refuse RVP to a shipper if the carrier does not deem the shipment to be a “good risk.” If the carrier offers RVP and the shipper purchases the coverage, the shipper must declare the shipment value at a minimum of $5 per pound (10,000lb. shipment = $50,000 of declared value). If you elect to purchase RVP, articles that are lost, damaged, or destroyed will either be repaired or 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. The method of settlement is at the sole discretion of the carrier. Keep in mind that when a claim is settled for current market replacement value, you must relinquish the damaged item to DMS for salvage. If a claim is made for an item that is “lost,” the shipper must verify the “lost” item on the inventory. If an item that is claimed as “lost” is not on the inventory and/or an inventory was not prepared, then the claim will be denied. It is the shipper’s responsibility to request that an inventory be prepared by the carrier. If you choose to have an inventory prepared, speak with your estimator as there are typically additional costs associated with the preparation of an inventory.
Exclusions: A carrier is not liable above and beyond the standard liability ($0.60 per pound per article) for damages caused to the following goods:
particle board, pressed wood, or other similar materials;
artwork, glass, marble, stone, or other similar materials, unless crated or packed by the carrier;
electronics, appliances, or other similar devices where visible damage is not noticeable to the exterior of the item in question and/or the mechanical condition in question is unknown to the carrier;
the contents of any box packed by the shipper to which there is no visible damage to the exterior of the box, and where the carrier was not allowed to inspect the contents of the box in question prior to the completion of the shipper unpacking the box;
an entire set when only one piece is damaged;
antiques, fine furniture, furs, or any other items of “high value” not declared as such before the move;
items that have been previously broken and repaired.
DMS is not liable for damages if the damage occurs as a result of any of the following:
any item damaged as a result of Acts of God (rain, earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, etc.) or hostile or warlike actions;
items that are damaged as a result of defects or the inherent nature of the property (including due to changes in atmospheric conditions such as temperature or humidity);
items that the shipper neglects to prepare properly for shipment.
There are certain “high value” items that cannot be moved as part of your shipment, and DMS will not assume any liability for them. Examples include, but are not limited to: furs, cash, coins, credit cards, stamps, sports card collections, jewelry, watches, medications, receipts, deeds, appraisals, software licenses, legal documents, passports, computer backup disks, manuscripts, precious stones, and tax records. In the event that DMS moves these types of items, DMS is not liable for any claims related to them.
To obtain RVP for your shipment, you must:
determine and submit the declared amount of your entire shipment (you cannot purchase RVP for selected items; the entire shipment value must be declared);
select a deductible;
contact and inform our office prior to your moving day that you want to purchase the coverage, and we will provide you with a price;
sign the Moving Services Contract on the day of your move and complete Section (D);
sign and submit a High Value Inventory form to our office.
HIGH VALUE INVENTORY
If your shipment will contain any article of “high value,” notify your DMS representative before packing or moving day. In the moving industry, items worth more than $100 per pound are considered to be articles of “high value.” Although you may have other articles of “high value,” the list below should help you identify which of your belongings might fall into this classification. If you select RVP but do not have any items of “high value,” a High Value Inventory form, signed by you, must be submitted notating that no such items are being transported by DMS.
Examples of “high value” inventory include, but are not limited to, the following: antiques, art collections, cameras, china, crystal, figurines, oriental rugs, audio/visual equipment, tapestries, and TVs.
To assure that these articles are not limited to minimal liability, complete the High Value Inventory form. (If you don’t have one, contact your DMS sales representative.) Be sure to document any signatures, serial numbers, or manufacturer marks. Once you have filled out the High Value Inventory form, you need to sign it. The form should be completed on all shipments, even though there may be no articles of extraordinary value. When DMS provides packing services, give the High Value Inventory form to the lead packer. If you are doing your own packing, you should move any boxes that contain items of this nature. If you cannot move those packed items, please contact our office prior to your move to obtain approval for our men to move those items. In the event of a claim, any settlement is limited to the value of the article — not to exceed the declared value of the entire shipment. Claims are still settled based on the type of coverage selected. If you choose a coverage program that has a deductible, this will still apply for articles of “high value.” It’s important to note that verification of ownership and proof of value will be required for such articles prior to settlement.
When articles of “high value” in your shipment are not listed on the High Value Inventory form, the carrier’s liability is limited to a maximum of $100 per pound per article — provided the shipment was released at a value greater than $0.60 cents per pound per article. Shipments for which the declared value is $0.60 cents per pound per article are not covered by the provisions applicable to articles of “high value.”