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Moving industry is governed by California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for in state moves and by Department of Transportation (DOT) for out of state moves. Both agencies require similar protection plans.
Both in California and out of state licensed movers must offer customers basic protection coverage at no cost. Unfortunately, not many customers fully understand what that protection plan really covers and what other options are available to them at extra cost.
Be sure to check any insurance policies you have before paying for additional protection. If you don't fully understand them ask your insurance agent.
The mover can charge you for the level of protection and the value you place on your goods.
Actual Cash Value Protection covers the depreciated value of your goods and is determined by such things as the cost of items, its age, its condition when received by mover, and the value you declare.
Full Value protection usually costs more, since it will cover the replacement cost of lost, or damaged article. The mover may opt to replace, reimburse, or repair the damaged item based on the protection you choose. Remember to declare articles of extraordinary value. If you fail to do so, the mover may not be liable for the full value of those items, regardless of the level of protection you chose.
In addition, your goods are protected while they are stored in transit at your request, and mover can charge additional premium for that service. However, if the storage in transit for the convenience of mover, you will not be charged for this additional protection.
The Agreement includes a section "Consumer Protection and Waivers" on which you are supposed to declare the value of your shipment and choose a level of protection. If you fail to do so, your items will automatically revert to basic coverage at 60 cents per pound per article. If you choose the level of protection but fail to declare the value of your shipment, mover will cover your shipment at level up to $20,000.
Here are the three levels of protection:
BASIC COVERAGE at 60 cents per pound per article insures recovery of 60 cents multiplied by the weight of the item or the carton/box it was packed in. Thus, if an item weighing 50 pounds will recover $30.00 (.60 x 50 = $30). This is the minimal protection available to customers at no additional charge.
ACTUAL CASH VALUE protection ensures recovery at the actual cash value (i.e. fair market value), upto the total value you declare. The mover will charge a premium for this protection, and will state the rate on the Agreement.
FULL VALUE protection insures recovery of full value of item (i.e. replacement value) of your lost or damaged article, up to the full value you declared. The mover may offer deductibles for Full Value protection. You are responsible for the item, unless the item is lost by the mover. The mover will charge for full value protection and will state its rates on the Agreement.