What You Need to Know About Requesting a Moving Estimate

Back to Before My Move

See also:
Avoid Moving Fraud By Finding a Reputable Mover
Evaluating a Mover


Get a visual estimate by one of two ways:

1. Have the mover come to your location and walk through your house.
2. Complete a virtual survey with a representative of the company looking at the items.

Make sure a representative of the moving company physically looks at the items – either in person or through a web connection.

Legitimate moving companies understand what it takes to move goods and the size of your shipment. They should not rely on you, the customer, to provide that information – for example, by asking you over the phone to tell them what you are planning to move.

Confirm the name of the moving company that will be sending your estimate.

Read the fine print to understand if the company is simply a broker or is a legitimate moving company.

This information can usually be found in the first paragraph of your agreement wherein the company identifies itself as a broker. To verify if a company provides brokerage services, request the DOT number and check on the FMCSA website.

Choose an Appropriate Level of Valuation.

Some consumers mistakenly assume that the moving company is insured to cover the full value of their goods at no extra charge. This is not true, so make sure you inquire about “valuation” options which provide protection from loss or damage to your possessions. Moving companies are required to give you at least two different options for coverage and then have you sign on the one you choose. If the moving company does not attempt to educate you on the different levels of valuation in the estimation process, this is a red flag that you may be dealing with a fraudulent entity.

1. Full Value Protection: Regulations mandate that the standard level of valuation must be the full replacement value of your goods unless you elect to choose a lesser degree of carrier liability. The moving company you choose  moving  should be able to provide you with written information, outlining the various levels of valuation and the cost to you. The valuation option you select determines the basis upon which any claim will be adjusted and the maximum liability of moving company. Full (replacement) value protection is the default level of valuation although lesser degrees of protection are available at lower cost. 

2. Valuation: The most basic level of valuation, released value of $0.60/lb., may provide inadequate coverage if you have a number of “high-value” items. If the carrier does not offer you any other level of protection over valuation, then this would be a red flag that you may be dealing with a fraudulent company.

Inspect Your Estimate.

Do not sign blank paperwork. Take time to read and understand the estimate and ask questions.


Assume that the estimator works for an actual moving company.

Many companies pretend to be moving companies, but really broker out the job with extremely low estimates.

Hide items.

It is unlikely that you will not have to pay to move those additional items.