When your goods arrive, be sure you check each item off the inventory list as it comes through the door. When delivery is complete, if anything is damaged or lost, make a notation on the DRIVER’S copy of the inventory list before you sign it.
Making the notations is not the same as filing a claim; it only makes it easier to prove the loss or damage was transit related when the claim is investigated. If you discover loss or damage after the workmen have left, call your mover or insurance carrier and ask for a claim form immediately. Fill the form out completely and be sure to sign the form where indicated. Unless you are delivering to a storage facility not operated by the carrier or the furniture is re-handled after delivery, there is normally a grace period after delivery during which you can make a claim for concealed damages which may have been overlooked but be sure to return the claim form as soon as possible – certainly within the period of time allowed by your Bill of Lading or insurance contract.
You may be required to provide the claims adjustor with repair estimates, salvage or documentation of value. Until your claim is settled, do not discard damaged or ruined items or have repairs performed unless it is necessary to do so in order to mitigate the damages. If mitigation is necessary, call the underwriter to advise them what you are going to do and why it is necessary. If an adjustor is not allowed the opportunity to inspect damaged items, it is unlikely you will be properly compensated.
You should save the carton in which any packing damage is found. Inventory tags should not be removed from damaged items. Do not allow anyone to use damaged items if it might cause additional damage or danger to the user. If you are requested to provide estimates of repair and a repair firm charges for estimates, be sure the adjustor guarantees IN WRITING he will reimburse the estimate charge.
The legal burden of proof of loss, damage and value always rest with the claimant. If ANYTHING adverse happens on your move, document it on the Bill of Lading, inventory form or other mover’s documents OR call the moving company to advise them and record the date and time of the call, with whom you spoke and the situation which was discussed. This is especially important if there is damage to your home or landscaping. The better documentation you have, the more likely you are to obtain a prompt, fair settlement.
Know your Rights
Movers are required to provide you with basic information about their tariff and regulations.
The US Dept. of Transportation
Rights and Responsibilities
Texas Dept. of Transportation
Rights and Responsibilities
These booklets review the regulations governing movers and explain claims procedures and dispute resolution.
Understanding how a mover operates can prevent expense and inconvenience, so don’t discard the information before you read it. The more you know, the more likely you are to make good choices.