Are My Movers Licensed and Insured? (And Does it Matter?)


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Category: Moving Advice, Regulations

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Updated: We’ve added updated info and new links for 2019.

First of all, I want to say, “well done.” If you’re taking the time to ask this question and figure out the answer, you’re off to a great start! Nothing will ruin your move more than becoming the person in that horror story who has all their belongings stolen by their movers or is charged 300% more than the original quote. It’s important to protect yourself from rogue movers and scammers operating nationwide.

What is a “licensed mover”?

Regulations and requirements for licensure vary from state to state. You can check out your state’s requirements here. Some states require movers to register with the state as a moving company and to offer at least two options for insurance (full-valuation or released-value). Some states have additional requirements. Beyond insurance, states might set standards regarding estimates, liability, mover agreements, etc.

If you are moving across state lines, your mover should have federal licensure, meaning the government has signed off on their business. Being licensed requires the movers to follow certain guidelines regarding insurance, safety measures, financial responsibility and so on.

If your potential movers will be traveling across state lines, check to make sure they are licensed for interstate moves on this government website.

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What is an “insured mover”?

When I first got into the moving business, I struggled with understanding the difference between a mover who is insured and one who offers insurance.

If your mover is insured, it generally means they carry basic moving insurance (release value insurance) that will cover a very small portion of damage or loss to your stuff while they’re handling it (typically at a payout rate of $0.60 per pound, per item). So a dropped 10 pound, $1,000 TV would only see an insurance check of $6.00!

“…ask them for a copy of their COI (Certificate of Insurance) and to see their state and/or federal license.”

A small handful of movers offer an even better option – the opportunity to purchase additional, full-valuation insurance. Full-valuation covers the total cost of repair or replacement in the event that your movers ruin or lose seriously valuable items during your move (e.g., gold and fine china).

Make sure you about this critical difference.

How do you know if your mover offers insurance?

The first and most obvious way for you to check out your mover’s credentials is to simply ask them. However, if you ask a thief whether or not they are a thief, they won’t likely tell you the truth!

So with that in mind, ask them for a copy of their COI (Certificate of Insurance) and to see their state and/or federal license. If you’re booking a mover online, they will likely have credentials listed on the site you’re booking through. The FMCSA (listed earlier) is also available if you want to be absolutely positive about their current licensure status.

As far as insurance goes, ask for everything in writing – on paper or via email. You should have your coverage in writing not only to retain proof of that coverage, but also so you know exactly what you’re entitled to in the event that something is broken or lost.

Have a story to share? Please share your moving insurance stories, tips, and experiences – good or bad – in the comments below.

Victoria is enjoying her summer time off from grad classes by soaking up rays, spending time with family and working with HireAHelper from her small town in Nebraska (aka “the good life”).

Do Movers Always Add on Extra Fees After a Job?


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Category: Moving Advice, Operations

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A customer tweeted a review of their helper yesterday that reminded me, again, of one of the main reasons we’re trying so hard to let everyone know about HireAHelper.

Screenshot of HireAHelper Customer Review

It’s too often that customers note, and appreciate the fact that they aren’t charged additional fees at the end of jobs booked on This should be the industry standard! I understand it takes more effort than usual to go up 5 flights of stairs or to safely carry a baby grand piano out of a house. Those parts of moving that require extra skill or energy should be compensated with appropriate additional fees. But let the customer know up front what all the fees and costs are. It only takes a few seconds to say “Here’s our price, plus we charge $100 to move upright pianos, and $10 per flight of stairs above 3 flights.”

I don’t walk into In-N-Out, order a double-double, extra cheese, animal style, sit down and enjoy it, to then get up and be met at the door by an employee asking me for a $3 seat-fee. I know exactly what I’m paying and why, and so I return to In-N-Out regularly (plus the burgers are great). More and more people each year are scared away from using the moving industry to help them relocate because of terrible past experiences, most involving bogus extra charges that surprised them at the end of a job.

My plea with those of you in our glorious moving industry is simple:

Be clear and upfront with your pricing and fees.

Charge what you need to in order to make a good living – you work hard and deserve that. Just be as forthright as you can with what they can expect to pay, and we’ll all see the moving industry established in the mind of the consumer as the professional service it really is.

And if you’re a customer wondering if you’ll always have to worry about fees being added on to your bill at the end of your move, our answer is a resounding, “No!” Quotes on HireAHelper are as clear as we can possibly make them – a flat cost for the first set of hours, and one hourly fee for any time used beyond that. The extra hourly fee doesn’t change as the job gets closer, and there are no hidden travel fees or gas costs to be worried about. Thanks for letting me vent a little. Have a great rest of your Tuesday.

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How to Avoid Moving Scams


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Category: Movehacks

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As I was reading through moving-related news today, I noticed most the articles were about moving scams. What frustrates me the most is that we’re now going on decades of this behavior without a clear end in sight. You’d think at some point the criminals would be caught and locked up leaving the rest of us a little less stressed about our next move. Moving is stressful enough even if it all goes perfectly. So I put together a quick note with some tips on how to avoid moving scams.



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