How to Choose a Mover
Intrastate moving companies (movers that help you relocate inside the state of Florida) are required to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). To find out if a company is registered and if it has any complaints filed against it, use our Business/Complaint Lookup or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).
Learning if a mover is registered with FDACS should be your first step when researching a company to handle your moving and storage needs. In addition, find out the following information:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Does the company offer extra services, such as packing, unpacking and storage?
- What type of protection does the company offer against loss or damage?
- Does the mover have a good reputation for settling claims?
- Does the company offer arbitration for claim disputes?
- Does the company have a good record of meeting its delivery schedules?
- Can the company provide proof of workers' compensation coverage, general and legal liability coverage?
Liability for Loss/Damage
Moving companies are required to assume some basic liability by carrying legal liability valuation and insurance coverage. Moving companies must also carry cargo legal liability coverage (loss or damage to household goods resulting from the negligence of the mover, its employees or agents, in an amount not less than $10,000 per incident).
Movers must provide motor vehicle coverage, including combined bodily injury and property damage liability coverage in the following minimum amounts:
- $50,000 per occurrence for a commercial motor vehicle with a gross weight of less than 35,000 pounds.
- $100,000 per occurrence for a commercial motor vehicle with a gross weight of more than 35,000 pounds, but less than 44,000 pounds.
- $300,000 per occurrence for a commercial motor vehicle with a gross weight of 44,000 pounds or more.
The law also provides for a limitation on the release of the mover’s liability for the value of a shipper’s goods at a rate not less than 60 cents per pound, per article. Your mover must disclose this limitation of liability to you, in writing, at the time the estimate or contract for services is executed and prior to any services being provided to you. Your mover must also inform you of the opportunity to reject or select additional valuation for goods being moved.
Terms to Know
Many movers will store your possessions when requested. Remember that there is a charge for storage services. You should also know that the additional handling of your goods into and out of storage increases the possibility of damages.
Except on local moves, your mover will normally write an inventory of the items being moved before loading the items on the delivery vehicle. The mover will walk through the house and place a numbered sticker on each item being moved and provide a description (including condition, or preexisting damage) of that item.
Make sure your mover provides detailed descriptions of the preexisting damage of each item. If the damage description is unclear or confusing, ask for clarification before the items are moved.
Be sure to get a copy of the inventory list and contract for your records.
Scams can occur whether you are dealing directly with a moving company or using a broker. One such scam occurs when a moving company quotes a low price to secure your business, then increases the cost substantially after loading your household goods onto the truck. If you refuse to pay, the company will hold your belongings hostage until you comply. Keep a copy of your contract with you during the move to be able to show law enforcement if necessary. It is a third-degree felony for a mover to refuse to relinquish your household goods if law enforcement has determined you have tendered payment in the amount of the written estimate or contract.
Florida Statutes, requires any person engaged in intrastate moving to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
is required if you are an intrastate mover, regardless of any other local, municipal or county licensing requirements. However, state registration does not exempt you from obtaining a local, municipal or county license..
Frequently Asked Questions
Who has to register?
What documents are required to register?
Is the registration assignable?
Are there any additional requirements?
How can I apply for a military waiver of an initial or renewal registration fee?
Movers and Moving Companies
Source: The Marvin I. Moss, P.A. – an Aventura, Florida (FL) Movers Law Firm
Obtain written estimates.
There are thousands of moving companies in Florida. Before moving, obtain at least three written estimates. Interstate moves are priced according to weight and distance. Local moves are usually based on hourly charges. The estimate is either binding (the mover guarantees the price) or non-binding (your final charge is unknown until after they weigh your shipment or after your property is loaded onto the truck). A binding estimate is more advantageous because there are no surprises at the end of the move. Get multiple written estimates. Not only will this allow you to compare prices across companies, it will help you determine how much the move should actually cost. Be wary of “low ball” estimates. If it appears too good to be true, it probably is a scam. Quality movers usually require a small “good faith” deposit when the contract is signed. However, beware of firms requiring a large up-front deposit or full payment beforehand.
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