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Loss or Damage & Filing a Claim

Unfortunately, regardless of how reputalbe the mover may be, losses or damages are a part of moving business. What separates a great mover from its competition is the way they handle their claims. Here are some important steps to properly handle the damages or losses during your relocation.

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If you have a loss or damage to your items, be sure to describe such loss or damage on the mover's inventory form or a bill of lading. However, this action doesn't constitute a claim, but this will support your claim to be filed later, as we described below.

If you intend to file a claim for loss or damage to your goods be aware that one of the required documents in support of your claim is a copy of the paid contract aka freight bill or bill of lading. This means before you may file a claim with your mover for loss or damage to your goods, you must pay the mover for all charges due for transportation services. It is because the handling and settlement of the claim is a matter separate from the performance of and payment for the transportation service itself. If you do not pay for the transportation charges, the mover may not honor your claim.


1. Write the office of your carrier/mover and describe the loss or damage;

2. List separately all missing or damaged items;

3. Note the exact amount you are claiming for each missing or damaged item;

4. Provide the date of your move, the origin and destination, and carrier's contract number.


If the damage is to the packed item, you should retain the box, its contents and the packing materials. This is especially important if you did the packing since you will have to show that bad packing was not the cause of the damages.

Providing copies of the store receipts for the lost of damaged items and professional estimates for repair, will speed up the process of your claim by your mover.

You must retain the copies of all correspondence with the moving company. In addition, all correspondence should be made by registered mail so you can keep Returned Receipts, as proof of the movers receiving your letters. Emailing your claim to the mover's claims department is also an excellent idea, as you will have the record of all communications with your mover about your claim.

You must file your claim, in writing, within 9 months after delivery of the goods or within 9 months after a reasonable time for delivery has elapsed.

In California, Public Utilities Commission governs household moving services, they have specific rules set forth in the Maximum Rate Tariff 4. Your mover is required to acknowledge a receipt of your claim in writing with in 30 days, and must pay, provide you with a firm compromise settlement with in 60 days of receipt of your claim. If some reason beyond your mover's control delays the action for a longer time, the mover is required to notify you in writing within 60 days of receipt of your claim as to its status and the reason for the delay. And again 30 days thereafter until the final action is taken. If your carrier fails to acknowledge your claim in the manner described above you should contact PUC for local California moves or Department of Transportation for interstate moves.