Moving and Planning Guide

Things You Should Know About Moving

Interstate Commerce Commission Requirements

The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) requires strict compliance with provisions set forth in tariffs it has on file. The tariffs govern all costs of moving and services performed by all moving companies.

At the time our agent gives you the estimated cost of service (non-binding) or a binding estimate, or when you sign the Order for Service, you have acknowledged receiving a copy of the Annual Carrier’s Performance Report (OCP-101) and the booklet Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move (OCP-100), both required by the ICC.calendar (12639 bytes)


The Best Time to Move

If you are able to move at any time of the year, don’t wait until summer when the children are out of school. The summer month are the "peak" moving season. In addition, the first and last few days of the month are extra busy.


How Long It Takes

Many factors can affect the time required for your move, such as the time it takes to load and unload, and whether conditions. The van operator, in planning his schedule, allows extra time for any foreseeable delays, but an occasional unexpected event can upset even the best planned schedule.

Because the amount of time connected with planning a move is sometimes underestimated by the shipper, we ask that you give our agent alternate dates for loading and unloading your shipment. This will allow you greater flexibility in making plans.

United offers one of the best pickup/delivery schedules in the moving industry. However, if you need even more specific scheduling than normal, ask you United agent about Selected Delivery Dates Service and how it can be used to meet your requirements.


Estimated Cost of Service

EstimateTo determine the approximate cost of your move, as well as the space needed on the van for your household goods, our agent will conduct a household goods survey in your home. Show the agent everything to be moved, specifying any items off-premises or other items to be added later. The agent will then compute the approximate cost of your move and give you a written "estimated cost of service."

Keep in mind that the estimate is only a price guideline. You must pay the total charges for the services performed, the materials provided, and the valuation coverage selected based upon the tariff provisions, unless you have requested a "binding estimate."


Binding Estimate

A binding estimate or binding cost of service specifies in advance the precise cost of the move. Binding estimates include all transportation costs and other services (excluding charges for valuation coverage) requested when the computation and estimate were performed. The estimate is based on information provided on the "cube sheet" – a listing of individual items to be shipped – as well as additional services like packing. You should ensure that the agent has noted all such items on the sheet. Binding estimates are valid for the time period specified, up to 60 days.

Between the time of the estimate and the time of your move, if you include more items to be moved or require additional services such as packing, there will be additional charges. Extra services at destination, such as a shuttle or stair carry, also will result in additional charges above the amount of the binding estimate. Your approval will be obtained for all of these supplementary charges.

If you are interested in obtaining a binding estimate, please discuss it with your United agent.


Determining Cost

Unless you have been given a binding estimate where a firm cost is established in advance, the exact cost of a move cannot be determined until after the shipment had been loaded on the van and weighed. Basic transportation charges depend on the actual weight of your goods and the distance they will travel. The total cost of the move will include these transportation charges, any charges for declared valuation, plus charges for any accessorial services performed by our agent at your request. All of these charges are based on tariff rate reviewing billing (15772 bytes)

Unless other billing arrangements are made in advance, payment is required upon delivery in cash or by traveler’s check, money order or cashier’s check. Personal checks are not accepted.

Payment can also be made by The American Express Card, Discover Card, Visa or MasterCard. If you choose to use a credit card, you must make this arrangement with your origin agent because authorization is required prior to loading. Credit cards are accepted only for interstate household good moves in the continental United States.



packing box (13725 bytes)The accurate weight of your shipment is a primary factor in determining the transportation cost, unless you have received a binding estimate. The weight on which charges are based is calculated by weighing the van both before and after loading, and then subtracting the smaller weight from the larger. If you believe an error may have been made, based on information provided during the estimate, call you destination agent and request a reweigh. There is no charge to you for this service. You should be present at the scale to witness the reweigh, and reasonable time will be allowed for you to get there. If you request a reweigh, the transportation charge will be based on the reweigh weight, no matter how it varies from the original weight.


Appliance/Electronic Servicing

It is the owner’s responsibility to see that all mechanical and electrical equipment is properly serviced for shipping prior to the arrival of the moving van. Servicing is at the owner’s expense. Most items such as washers, stereos, grandfather clocks, copiers and computers have components which must be securely fastened prior to shipping. For safe moving of such articles, the units should be prepared by a licensed or properly trained service technician. Upon request and for an additional charge, a moving company is permitted to perform this service with qualified personnel or arrange for it though an authorized service company. If the owner has failed to have an article serviced, the van operator may load and haul it but will mark the inventory sheet, "Not Serviced – Loaded at Owner’s Risk." Request a copy of United’s "Moving Appliances & Other Home Furnishings" booklet for more information.


Loss and Damage Liability (Valuation)

In general, the household goods moving industry provides two programs for determining carrier liability, both of which consider depreciation in calculating claims settlement. (These programs are frequently identified as "declared valuation.") In addition, most major van lines like United offer full-value protection programs which do not incorporate depreciation as a factor in determining replacement value. The program which you select will determine the carrier’s maximum liability to you for your shipment.

United's’s Gold Umbrella program provides full-value protection for your household belongings, up to the amount of coverage you specify or "declare." Purchase of a Gold Umbrella protection plan option means that if articles are lost, destroyed or damaged while in United’s care, United will either repair them, replace them with like items, or make a cash settlement for the current market value, regardless of the age of the lost or damaged item. United will determine which of these methods will be used to settle the claim. Depreciation of the lost or damaged item is not a factor in determining replacement value under the Gold Umbrella protection plan options.

Please note that when an article is replaced or the carrier pays you the full current market replacement value, you must relinquish the damaged item to United.

There are three Gold Umbrella protection plan options:

  • Full coverage (no deductible)
  • $250 deductible, under which you are responsible for the first $250 of loss or damage
  • $500 deductible, under which you are responsible for the first $500 of loss or damage

Under all three options, the minimum value you declare must be at least equal to the weight of you shipment multiplied by $3.50.

Gold Umbrella protection plan options are available in various increments, beginning with $5,000.

There is an additional charge for the Gold Umbrella protection plan options. The charge is based on the value declared and the deductible option selected.woman viewing frame (20555 bytes)

United’s industry-standard protection plan program is called Blue Umbrella. With this type of protection, a claim settlement will be the lesser of the cost to repair an article or a cash payment of the depreciated value of an article. Both of the Blue Umbrella protection plan options, outlined below, consider depreciation in each claim settlement:

Lump-Sum Value – You place a total value on your shipment at a cost of 70 cents per $100 of value for shipments moving within the continental United States. The value declared must be at least $1.25 times the weight of your shipment. Any claim will be settled based upon the depreciated value of your lost or damaged items, up to maximum value declared.

Pound-Weight Value – The maximum value of your shipment is $1.25 times the weight of the shipment. Cost is 70 cents per $100 of maximum liability value for shipments moving within the continental United States. Any claim will be settled based on the depreciated value of your lost or damaged items up to a maximum liability value which has been calculated based on the actual weight of your shipment.

In Addition to its Gold and Blue Umbrella valuation programs, United offers Released Rate Liability. With this type of valuation, the maximum liability for loss or damage to each article in the shipment is 60 cents multiplied by the weight of the article. This is the basic liability level and is provided at no charge.

Ask your United agent to calculate price information for the valuation option you select. If there is a difference between the estimated and actual weight of your shipment, your declared value and cost will be based on the actual weight.

The valuation option you select must be written in the space provided on the Bill of Lading prior to loading. You cannot change the valuation coverage selected once your shipment is loaded.

The valuation option you choose determines the basis upon which your claim will be adjusted, as well as establishes the maximum liability of United. The liability of a carrier for loss or damage is based upon federal laws and regulations, and has certain limitations and exclusions.

Valuation is not insurance; it is simply a tariff-based level of motor carrier liability. If you desire the kinds of additional protection afforded by insurance coverage, you should see your insurance company representative.

High-Value Inventory

If your shipment will contain any articles of "extraordinary value," notify your United agent before packing. In the moving industry, items worth more than $100 per pound are considered articles of extraordinary value. Although you may have other articles of extraordinary value, the following list should help you identify some of your belongings which might fall into this classification:  

  • Antiques
  • Firearms
  • Art collections
  • Furs
  • Cameras
  • Jewelry
  • China
  • Manuscripts
  • Coin collections
  • Oriental rugs
  • Computer software
  • Silver
  • Crystal
  • Stones or gems
  • Currency
  • Tapestries
  • Figurines
  • TVs or stereos

To assure that these article are not limited to minimal liability, complete the High-Value Inventory form. (If you do not have one, contact your United sales representative.) Be sure to document any signatures, serial numbers or manufacturer marks. Once you have filled out the High-Value Inventory form, you must sign it.

The form must be completed on each shipment, provided that it is released to the carrier at a value greater than 60 cents per pound per article. Even though there may be no articles of extraordinary value included in your shipment, you must still complete the form. You must also sign and date the "Extraordinary (Unusual) Value Article Declaration" box on the Bill of Lading, if applicable to your shipment.

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 valuation selected. If you choose a coverage which has a deductible or depreciation, this will apply for articles of extraordinary value. It is important to note that verification of ownership and proof of value will be required for such articles prior to settlement.

When articles of extraordinary value in your shipment are not listed on the High-Value Inventory form, the carrier’s liability is limited to $100 per pound per article – provided the shipment was released at a value greater then 60 cents per pound per article. Shipments for which the declared value is 60 cents per pound per article are not covered by this provision.


Temporary Storage of Possessions

If you are unable to take immediate possessions of your new residence or if the van operator is unable to contact you upon delivery, arrangements can be made for your belongings to be stored at a reasonable cost until you are ready for them.Chipman storage (36717 bytes)

Storage-In-Transit (SIT) is the temporary storage of your household goods in the warehouse of the carrier’s agent, pending further transportation. If you want your goods held in such temporary storage, you must specifically request SIT services, which may not exceed 180 days. During this time, the moving company is liable for the goods to the same extent as during their interstate transportation. However, there is an additional charge for the extended valuation coverage while the goods are in SIT. After 180 days, your shipment will convert to permanent storage and the extended valuation coverage will no longer be in effect. The warehouse in which your goods are stored then assumes responsibility for your shipment.

You are responsible for storage fees, warehouse valuation coverage, warehouse handling and final delivery charges. Be sure to discuss the total cost of storing goods with your salesperson. Your warehouse agent can provide further details, too.


When to Make Payment

The van operator is obligated by law to collect the charges for your shipment before it can be unloaded, unless other arrangements are made in advance.

If you have received a non-binding estimate and your actual moving cost exceeds the estimated amount by more that 10 percent, you will be required to pay a minimum or 110 percent of the estimated amount at the time of delivery. The balance of the total charges must then be paid within 30 days following the date of delivery.

Payment of estimated charges plus 10 percent does not apply if goods are delivered into storage. If storage-in-transit at destination is necessary, all transportation charges must be paid at time of delivery of the shipment to the warehouse. You will be assessed storage charges based on daily rate set forth in our tariff.