Moving and storage companies face many risks due to the nature of moving households or businesses. Whether your company is large or small, it doesn’t matter — you’re still dealing with other people’s stuff! And many times, the value of the items you’re moving and storing is extremely high. Think: their grandmother’s armoire, passed down from generation to generation since 18th century Italy. Or brand new 85-inch flat screen TV. And especially while moving household goods, there is increased risk for damages and accidents to occur in this process.
Luckily, you can program your insurance protection with the right coverage to respond to expensive claims and pay for the legal defense to settle a loss. In addition to commercial auto insurance, motor truck cargo, warehouse liability, commercial property, workers compensation, and employment practices liability, these are the insurance policies and bonding you need if you own a moving or storage business.
Inland Marine Coverage (Motor Truck Cargo)
Inland Marine also known as Motor Truck Cargo provides protection to goods in transit subject to the valuation chosen by the shipper/customer. Movers will provide .60/pound free, but the customer must purchase increased valuation protection. Offering two forms of valuation is equally important to both the mover and the customer. If goods are damaged, both the mover and the customer are bound by the agreed valuation on the signed Bill of Lading. The mover should include their valuation choices in their tariff. Tariffs were created for the public good to prevent discriminatory practices by movers.
For example, if you are moving furniture and your items are damaged due to a vehicle collision, this coverage will reimburse the consumer for their damages that occurred while your truck was in transit, subject to the valuation liability chosen by the shipper/customer before the move was started, and confirmed with a signature on the Bill of Lading.
Warehouse Legal Liability
Warehouse Legal Liability provides protection while the shipper/customers goods are stored in the warehouse. If you own a warehouse and store other people’s goods under your care and control, you should offer valuation options to protect the consumer and you as the mover.
Increased valuation of either warehouse legal protection or insurance agreements is purchased by the consumer and provide a higher level of protection after a loss. All options available should be included in your tariff and this will provide protection for the consumer and the mover. The highest standard of coverage is to offer the consumer insurance valuation protection. For example, if a hurricane hits the Northeast unexpectedly, and completely damages your storage facility the insurance will provide protection against claims for each shipment where the consumers purchased increased valuation with an insurance agreement.
Movers Equipment Coverage
This coverage protects the equipment essential to your business such as dollies, pads, skids, containers, racks, forklifts, tools, and packing materials. What would a moving company be without the tools to get the job done safely and effectively?
Intrastate Tariffs — Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities
Moving companies in Massachusetts are required to be licensed with the state, provide minimal limits for proof of Motor Truck Cargo liability, and file their rates for work performed within a tariff. Since the Massachusetts Mover Association dissolved their tariff in 2005, each moving company must now submit their own individual tariff. A complete tariff will include rates, terms, and conditions to include valuation options in transit, and in the warehouse, and define which property is covered. Jewelry and cash may be excluded. A tariff is designed for the public good and is a public record which may be viewed at the office of the Mass DPU in Boston by anyone who wishes to view them. If you are performing a commercial or office move, a tariff is not required to be submitted or prepared.
Interstate Tariffs (Required for Moves Across State Lines)
In 2007 the Surface Transportation Board terminated antitrust immunity for collective activity to ratemaking and competitive terms. In other words, collective tariffs were dissolved and new national regulations began on January 1, 2008. All Interstate independent movers and van lines were required to complete an Interstate Tariff in electronic form. The electronic tariff should be available upon request by law enforcement, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the consumer . The Department of Transportation (DOT) has a higher standard for valuation on Interstate moves. They provide full valuation replacement cost protection. The consumer can opt out by signing before the move for .60/pound and consciously chose the lowest level of protection. The Interstate Tariff need to be created in electronic format, and we can connect you to roughly 10 different vendors who can customize them to your business needs. Similar to the intrastate rules, it is not a requirement to have an interstate tariff if it is a commercial or office move.
The moving and storage business is complex and full of unique risks. At Eastern Insurance, we will work with you to understand the structure of your business in order to provide you with all the insurance protection you need. We’ll help you to understand your risks, the best way to protect your company, and offer solutions to make sure that your insurance program responds to an insurable loss. The correct policies and procedures can prevent claims or minimize liability to the unexpected loss.
Contact us today on our website, or Robert Alm, CIC, our Moving and Storage Specialist, by phone at (781) 261-2026 or by e-mail: RAlm@easterninsurance.com