Understanding how van lines, agents and household interstate moving and relocation works

Van Line Guide

The information contained within this document is intended to provide you with a broad overview of the "van line system" of moving and storage, and to introduce you to the different parties who will be involved in your interstate van line relocation. (in addition to providing you with an overview of how the van line system functions). It is also intended to outline the responsibilities of each party and to begin to inform you of your rights and responsibilities when you move. Please take the time to read this document thoroughly, as it contains information that will help you solve any problems that may arise quickly; and hopefully, to your satisfaction. In addition, please keep in mind that communications between you, the van line carrier, the booking, and the origin and destination agents (see below) are vital to the success of your move. So if you have any questions, don't be shy...ask!
Table of Contents

  • Who is the "Booking Agent"
  • Who is the "Origin Agent"
  • Who is the "Hauling Agent"
  • What is the Van Operator (The Driver) Responsible For?
  • Who is the "Destination Agent”
  • Establishing liability for loss or damage
  • How to file a claim for loss or damage
  • The "Statement of Additional Services" document
  • General relocation tips

Who Is The Van Line "Booking Agent"
You or your company has placed your move directly with the booking agent. The booking agent is responsible for setting up and managing your move. The quality of the booking agent's service - how well the agent sets up and manages the move - will be the single largest factor in determining whether or not you will have a high quality relocation.

Who Is The Van Line "Origin Agent"
The Origin Agent (who, for private "C.O.D." moves is often also the booking agent) is responsible for providing you with the following services at origin:

  • Estimates the size and the cost of your move.
  • Provides a crew to pack boxes (if you or your company has ordered this service).
  • Provides a crew to be hired by the driver to remove your belongings from your home and load the moving van.
  • Provides storage at origin, if this service has been requested and approved by you or your company.
  • Advises the Booking Agent and/or your van line's customer service team of any problems which may arise at origin.

Who Is The Van Line "Hauling Agent"
The Hauling Agent (who, for private "C.O.D." moves can often also function as the booking agent and the origin agent) is responsible for providing the truck and the driver to load, transport, and deliver your shipment

Who Is The Van Line Van Operator (the van line Driver)
Your van operator is responsible for providing you with the following services:

  • The van operator prepares the "Household Goods Descriptive Inventory" (see the below for important information regarding the Inventory).
  • Hires and supervises an adequate number of helpers to load your shipment at origin and unload at destination. Inside pickup (removing the goods from inside the origin residence) is included.
  • Transports your shipment from point of origin to it's final point of destination (unless your shipment is placed into storage at an origin or destination agent's warehouse).
  • The driver will place everything you have moved inside your new home in a location which you specify.
  • The van operator should reassemble any articles which he or she dismantled at origin. Please note that this does not include unusual articles such as swing sets, waterbeds, sheds, etc... which may require a 3rd party service reassemble.

Who Is The Van Line "Destination Agent"
The Destination Agent is responsible for providing the following services at destination:

  • Provides a crew to be hired by the driver to unload the truck and place your belongings inside your new home.
  • Provides a crew to unpack cartons (if you or your company has authorized unpacking service). Note that movers do not put the contents of unpacked cartons away into cabinets, drawers, or closets. The result of unpacking service is, therefore, quite often disorganized and cluttered. You may want to consider performing the unpacking of boxes yourself.
  • Provides storage at destination if this service has been requested and approved by you or your company.
  • Advises the van line and/or your booking agent of any problems that may arise at destination.

Establishing Liability For Loss or Damage
If any of your goods are lost or damaged while in transit or storage, it is imperative that you correctly document that such loss or damage occurred while the shipment was in the mover's care. This is accomplished with the "Household Goods Descriptive Inventory" (prepared by the driver at origin). The inventory establishes what is being moved and each item's condition when the mover takes possession. By signing the Inventory at origin you are acknowledging what was moved and its condition when the mover took possession. Upon delivery, you will be required to sign the inventory again. Any loss or damage to your shipment articles which occurred while your shipment was in the mover's care must be noted on the inventory at this time. If you fail to do so, your claim may be denied! Look your goods over thoroughly after they've been unloaded. If any are missing or damaged, note it on the mover's copy of the Household Goods Descriptive Inventory.
In addition to the standard household goods shipment inventory, your mover should present you with a “High Value Inventory” on which you must disclose and articles of extraordinary value. If for some reason you do not receive such a form, notify your move coordinator and ask what the procedure if for disclosing high value items. Items of extraordinary value are defined as those having a value greater than $1,000. Typical household goods items that frequently have a high value are currency, coins, jewelry, precious metals, precious or semi-precious stones or gems, gold, silver or platinum articles including silverware and service sets, china sets, crystal or figurines, fur or fur garments, antiques, oriental rugs or tapestries, rare collectible items or objects of art, computer software programs, manuscripts or other rare documents of course. Other items may also fall into this category and must be identified as well. The High Value Inventory is designed to protect you and your mover, so please make sure that you list all of your high value possessions on such a form.

To File A Claim For Loss or Damage
To file a claim call the booking agent, destination agent or the van line and request a claim form be sent to you. You will be dealing directly with the van line and local repair/appraisal firms when settling your claim. However, if you are experiencing a problem with the settlement process, your booking agent may be able to help. Remember that you must substantiate that the loss took place while the shipment was in the mover's care (the Household Goods Descriptive Inventory is the key document here). In addition, you will be required to substantiate the value of lost or missing items with old receipts or appraisals. As of this writing, you have nine (9) months to file an interstate claim with the van line carrier. However, do not delay, file your claim as soon as is possible.

The "Packing, Unpacking & Statement of Additional Services" Document (The "Pack Slip")
These documents detail the quantity of cartons the mover provided and/or packed, applicable "Long Carries", "Stair Carries", "Elevator Carries", Additional Labor hours and other information affecting the cost of your move. Definitions of these services should be shown on the reverse side of this document. Remember that you are approving charges by signing this document. It is imperative that the quantities listed accurately reflect the work that is performed during your move.
General Relocation Tips

  • Please don't make travel plans for packing, move out, move in or unpacking day. Plan on being occupied with the service being provided for the entire day.
  • Keep your telephone functioning through the planned loading day. Likewise, try to have your new telephone installed and functioning for move in day at your new (destination) residence. You or the movers may need to communicate with the outside world.
  • All personal items of high value such as jewelry, coins, prescriptions, etc... are best carried with you when traveling to your new residence.
  • Remember; note missing or damaged items on the Household Goods Descriptive Inventory upon delivery. Failure to do so could result in denial of your claim!
  • Remember that when filing a claim for missing or damaged items, you will be required to substantiate any loss with a proof of value and ownership. This can be accomplished in the form of cancelled checks, sales receipts, a homeowners policy or appraisals.
  • Never throw out an item that has been damaged! The van line's appraiser or repair firm may want to inspect it and if you dispose of a damaged item your claim may be denied due to the article not being available for inspection.
  • If you cannot be at your residence on the day of packing, loading, unloading or unpacking; you will need to name an agent or representative to act on your behalf and to supervise the movers, as the mover's may have questions which will require immediate answers.
  • You or your company has been provided with an estimate for the cost of your move. Only the services detailed on this estimate are approved. Any additional service that is required should be approved by you or your company before it can be performed.

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