Your List of Important Moving Documents
When it comes to moving, there are a number of important documents and forms to keep track of. If you plan to hire a professional moving company, make sure to consolidate all copies of these important documents in a moving binder. Of course, it helps to know what exactly these important documents and moving forms are before organizing your move. To help you out, we’ve included a list of 10 must-keep moving documents, forms and receipts below. Best of luck and happy moving!
Once a moving company has surveyed your belongings, either in-person or through video, they will send you a written estimate or quote for your move. Typically, a moving estimate includes transportation charges, labor, packing services, storage charges, insurance and any other accessorial services. Before agreeing to an estimate though, be sure to check the specific type of moving estimate your mover has sent you. There are three types:
Non-binding estimate – This type of estimate is not set in stone and is subject to change depending on the actual weight of the move. In general, we do not recommend hiring a moving company that gives a non-binding estimate. The reason? If your items end up weighing more than originally estimated (and they probably will!), you will be responsible for footing the high bill.
Binding estimate – A binding estimate is a fixed price based on a shipment’s estimated amount of weight. It cannot be adjusted, even if the items end up weighing more or less than originally estimated. If a customer agrees to a binding estimate, then they will pay exactly what they were originally quoted, regardless of the shipment’s actual weight.
Binding not-to-exceed estimate – This type of moving estimate is the most customer-friendly estimate. Moving companies give customers an estimated cost based on their belongings. If the actual weight is more than estimated, the customer won’t be charged for the additional costs. If the actual weight is less than estimated, the customer will only pay for the actual cost of shipping. In other words, they will pay less than originally estimated.
Bill of Lading If you plan to hire a professional moving service to handle your relocation, the bill of lading will be the most important moving document you’ll receive. This document is a legally binding contract between you and the moving company. The contents of the bill of lading should be the same as those on the order for service. You can think of it as a receipt of sorts that lists all items included in the shipment, as well as your moving rate, payment method, origin and destination, insurance information and mover information.
Order for Service When hiring a moving company, you should receive a copy of the order for service for your shipment. This important document is typically attached to your bill of lading and includes moving estimate details, pick up and delivery dates, and any special services needed. You and your mover will both sign the order for service.
Inventory Documentation Once the driver has evaluated your inventory, he or she will issue you a descriptive inventory form, which describes all inventory loaded onto the moving truck. Beside each item, the driver should also note its “condition at origin.” Of course, if you’ve packed your items inside boxes or totes, the driver will only note that it was “packed by owner” (or “PBO”) with the condition of the contents unknown. Once the driver has issued the form, make sure to thoroughly review your list of inventory before the move.
A Copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities” When hiring a moving company for an interstate move, your mover should provide you with a copy of the “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” pamphlet and a copy of the official Ready to Move Brochure, according to the FMCSA. These important documents should provide you with ample information about choosing a reputable household goods carrier, as well as instructions for how to handle complaints and questions regarding your move. If your interstate mover does not provide you with these documents, you may be dealing with rogue movers.
Explanation of Liability Options While the different levels of liability are explained in the Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move document, your mover may still provide you with an additional explanation of liability options. Local movers, who are subject to state transportation laws and not federal regulations, may have multiple liability options for customers. Make sure to request a full explanation of these options before choosing your plan. Interstate movers are required by Federal law to offer two liability options to customers: Released Value Protection and Full Value Protection. For an explanation of these two offerings, check here.
Statement of Services (after delivery) When moving long distance, your interstate mover should provide you with a final Statement of Services after delivery of your belongings. This statement includes the final cost for your shipment and reflects the tariff charges based on the actual weight and services.
IRS Tax Deduction Forms Moving for work? You may be able to claim moving expense deductions using IRS Form 3903. According to the IRS, these moving expenses must be related to starting work in a new location. For more information, check here. In addition, if you choose to donate items before moving (as many do!), you may be able to deduct these charitable donations from your taxes. Just make sure to save your donation receipts, so that you can file them with your taxes. For more information, check Goodwill’s IRS guidelines.
School Records Moving with school-age children? Make sure to request a copy of their school records when transferring schools. Official transcripts should include report cards, test scores, immunization records and anything else their new schools may need. For more information on moving your child’s school records, check here.
USPS Change of Address Once you move, it’s time to change your mailing address with the United States Postal Service. All you have to do is enter your contact information, old address, new address and the date you’d like to begin forwarding your mail. To officially change your address with the USPS, check here.