Protecting Your Belongings

Preventing Claims

You have worked hard to buy the furniture, artwork and other items that make your home unique. When the time comes to move these valued possessions, you want them handled carefully to reduce any risk of damage. By selecting a quality carrier like United Moving & Storage and pre-planning your move, you can help prevent claims and ensure a smooth relocation. Please call us for more information on how to move specialty items like antiques.

Here are some quick links to the sections contained within this document.







  • Prepare major appliances and electronic equipment. You can either handle this yourself or ask us to arrange.
  • Determine if you want any packing services. If not, use appropriate materials and packing methods. See Packing Tips, which details proper packing techniques and lists flammable or other hazardous items that should never be part of a shipment.

Another precaution to take to decrease the risk of damage is to select a carrier like United Moving & Storage that uses air-ride vans to absorb road shock.

You may also select a valuation option from United that provides financial protection from loss or damage to your household goods. United is pleased to offer two types of protection for your shipment during transit.







United's Full-Value Protection program provides coverage for your household belongings based upon the amount of coverage you declare on the Bill of Lading on loading day. Under Full-Value Protection, you have three options:

  • No deductible
  • $250 deductible
  • $500 deductible

With Full-Value Protection, any cargo claim for loss or damage that occurs during transit as a result of carrier mishandling will be settled, at United's choice, by one of the following options:

A) Repair of the article to the extent necessary to restore it to its pre-move condition;

B) Payment of the full cost of repairs (minus any deductible);

C) Replacement with a like article (minus any deductible); or

D) Payment of the current market replacement value of the item (minus any deductible).

If you select a deductible, you will be responsible for the first $250 or $500 of any loss or damage incurred during transit. Depreciation is not a factor in determining the replacement value of the lost or damaged item.

Note: Keep in mind that when an item is either replaced with a like item or paid for with replacement value, you will be asked to relinquish the damaged item to United for salvage.

To select Full-Value Protection, you must declare an amount of coverage on the Bill of Lading. The amount you declare must be at least $5 multiplied by the weight of your shipment. For example, if your shipment weighs 10,000 pounds, you must declare at least $50,000 in coverage. You may, however, declare an amount higher than $5 times the weight of your shipment. The amount of valuation you declare on the Bill of Lading will be United's total maximum liability for loss or damage that may occur while the shipment is in United's care, custody and control.

The charge for valuation is based upon the amount of valuation you declare and the deductible option you select. Call us for pricing information on Full-Value Protection at (800) 434-0157.







(60 cents per pound per article)

United offers another option called Released Rate Liability. With this type of valuation, United's maximum liability for loss or damage to each article in your shipment is 60 cents multiplied by the weight of the article. For example, if a broken lamp weighs 10 pounds, the maximum settlement is $6 (60 cents x 10 pounds. If the article could be repaired for less than this amount, the carrier may elect to repair it. Released Rate Liability is the basic liability level and is provided at no additional charge. It is considerably less than the average value of household goods.

If you do not select Released Rate Liability, your shipment will be transported at the Full-Value Protection (no deductible) level of liability, and you will be billed the applicable valuation charge.







To illustrate the carrier's liability under the various valuation plan programs, United created this chart based on a 10,000 pound shipment.

(10,000 pound shipment)
Full-Value Protection
(No Deductible)
$50,000 minimum valuation purchase
(10,000 pounds x $5 = $50,000)
Full-Value Protection
($250 Deductible)
$50,000 less the $250 deductible
($50,000 - $250 = $49,750)
Full-Value Protection
($500 Deductible)
$50,000 less the $500 deductible
($50,000 - $500 = $49,500)
Released Rate Liability
(60 cents per lb. per article)
$6,000 maximum
(10,000 lbs. x 60 cents = $6,000)

Call us for pricing information for the option you select. If you request a quote for Full-Value Protection at the time of the estimate, the quote may be based on the estimated weight. Your minimum declared value and cost may change when the actual weight is determined.







If your shipment will contain any article of “extraordinary value”, notify us before packing or moving day. In the moving industry, items worth more than $100 per pound are considered to be articles of extraordinary value. Although you may have other articles of extraordinary value, the following list should help you identify some of your belongings that would fall into this classification.

  • Antiques
  • Art Collections
  • Cameras
  • China
  • Collectibles*
  • Computer Software
  • Crystal
  • Currency
  • Figurines
  • Firearms
  • Gold
  • Manuscripts/Rare Documents
  • Furs
  • Jewelry
  • Oriental Rugs
  • Platinum
  • Precious Metals
  • Silver
  • Stereos
  • Stones or Gems**
  • Tapestries
  • TVs

* coins, stamps, sports memorabilia, etc.

** precious or semi-precious

To ensure full protection on any items that you plan to have United move that have a value in excess of $100 per pound, be sure to list them on the High-Value Inventory. If you do not have a High-Value Inventory form, call us prior to packing/loading day.

This form must be completed prior to packing and/or loading your shipment. Be sure to list any identifying information, such as serial numbers or manufacturer marks on the High-Value Inventory form and sign the form.

The High-Value Inventory form should be completed on all shipments. If you select 60 cents per pound per article valuation, please note “Not Applicable” on the form and sign it. Under this valuation option, your settlement will be limited to 60 cents per pound per article. If you select Full-Value Protection, but your shipment does not contain any items of extraordinary value, please note “None” on the form and sign it.

When United provides packing services, give the High-Value Inventory form to the lead packer prior to beginning the packing process. If you are doing your own packing, properly wrap and place items in cartons. Do not close any cartons containing items declared as having “extraordinary value”. On loading day, give a copy of the completed High-Value Inventory form to the van operator prior to loading. The van operator will inspect the articles declared as having “extraordinary value” and seal these cartons in your presence.

Each item in your shipment will be tagged and given an inventory number. Be sure the packing crew transfers the inventory numbers for cartons containing High-Value items to the High-Value Inventory form. This will help you identify the boxes containing High-Value items during delivery. You should inspect these items in the presence of the van operator.

In the event of loss or damage, any settlement is limited to the actual value of the article, not to exceed the declared value of the entire shipment. All claims are settled based on the valuation level selected. If you selected 60 cents per pound, per article, the maximum settlement will be 60 cents times the weight of the damaged or lost item. If you chose coverage that has a deductible, the deductible will apply for all articles including articles of extraordinary value. It is important to note that proof of tender to United and proof of value will be required for such articles prior to settlement.

If articles valued in excess of $100 per pound are moved, but not listed on the High-Value Inventory form, United's liability is limited to a maximum of $100 per pound per article provided the shipment was released at a value greater than 60 cents per pound per article. The provisions applicable to articles of extraordinary value do not cover shipments for which the declared value is 60 cents per pound per article.







To select Full-Value Protection valuation coverage, you must:

  • Enter the level of valuation coverage you want for your shipment on the first blank line in the “Customer's Declaration of Value” box on the Bill of Lading following the words: “The value of my shipment is _________.” The amount must be equal to or exceed $5 times the weight of your shipment.
  • Select the desired deductible option ($0; $250; or $500).

To waive Full-Value Protection and select released rate liability, you must:

Enter the words “60 cents per pound” on the second blank line in the “Customer's Declaration of Value” section of the Bill of Lading following the words: “The value of my shipment is ________.”

To confirm your valuation selection and complete the declaration process, you must:

  • Sign your name on the signature line in the “Customer's Declaration of Value” section of the Bill of Lading and enter the date.
  • Sign the “Extraordinary (Unusual) Value Article Declaration” box on the Bill of Lading to acknowledge receipt and completion of the High-Value Inventory form. Be sure to give the packing crew and/or the van operator the High-Value Inventory form before the packing and/or unloading process begins.

Your selection of valuation coverage must be entered on the Bill of Lading in your own handwriting prior to the loading of your shipment.

Remember, you cannot change the valuation coverage you selected once the loading process has begun.







Valuation is not insurance.

Valuation is a type of coverage for your goods made available through United's tariff. Valuation is a means of protecting your goods by establishing a level of carrier liability for any cargo loss or damage while you shipment is in United's care, custody and control. The applicable tariffs may contain other conditions regarding the valuation coverage described in this brochure. Valuation as a means of determining liability is unique to various carriers.

Valuation does not cover:

  • Acts of God (earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, etc.)
  • Hostile or warlike actions.
  • Delay caused by strikes, lockouts, labor disturbances, riots, or civil commotion.
  • Terrorist activity.
  • Defects or inherent nature of the property (changes in atmospheric conditions such as temperature or humidity).
  • Acts or omissions of the customer such as neglecting to prepare an item for shipment.







Temporary Storage (storage-in-transit)

Storage-in-transit, or SIT, is the temporary storage of your household goods in a United-affiliated and/or approved warehouse, pending further transportation under the same Bill of Lading. Your belongings may be placed in SIT at either the origin or the destination location. While your belongings are in SIT, they remain part of the interstate shipment. For shipments in SIT:

  • The storage period cannot exceed 180 days.
  • The valuation option you selected and the declared value applicable to your shipment during interstate transportation remain the same. However, there is an additional charge for the extended valuation coverage while the goods are in SIT.

Permanent Storage (long-term)

Your belongings may be held in permanent storage at a United-affiliated warehouse. Typically, your belongings would be placed in permanent (or long-term) storage after the experation of the 180-day period of SIT storage. Permanent storage also would apply at the conclusion of the interstate transportation when storage of all or part of your shipment is expected to be lengthy, and there will be no further interstate transportation of your shipment. For shipments in permanent storage:

  • The shipment of your belongings under the United Bill of Lading terminates, and a new storage contract is entered into with the warehouse company storing your goods.
  • Liability for loss or damage to the goods shifts from United to the warehouse company for the period your belongings are in permanent storage.
  • Certain exclusions or limitations may apply to the coverage for your belongings while in permanent storage. Ask a warehouse representative for an explanation of the coverages available and any applicable exclusions or limitations.

Before your belongings are stored, you will need to pay the transportation costs at destination. Please remember that you are also responsible for storage costs and the final delivery charges, whether your belongings were placed in SIT or permanent storage.







When your shipment is delivered, follow these steps while the van operator is at your home:

  • Verify the delivery of all items by checking off the Inventory Control form.
  • Examine the outside condition of cartons.
  • Open any carton that appears damaged or has tape broken before the van operator leaves.
  • Examine condition of all non-packed items.
  • Make any exceptions to cargo loss or damage on the completed inventory lists, including the High-Value Inventory form if applicable.
  • Sign the inventory and the Bill of Lading. This indicates that the shipment meets your satisfaction, except for any notations made for damaged or missing items.

Remember, all of the steps are your responsibility.







  • Be careful when unpacking. Unfold each piece of packing material to check for small pieces.
  • Check to see if related items have been placed in different boxes.
  • Gather your order number (from the upper right corner of the Bill of Lading), the color(s) of your inventory tags, and the inventory number of the missing item.
  • Call to alert us of the missing item (800) 434-0157.
  • Call United's Overage and Shortage department at (800) 325-3606 immediately. Provide the information noted above as well as a description of the item missing.

If the Overage and Shortage department is unable to locate the item(s) reported missing, please follow the steps on the next page for filing a claim.







After delivery, call United Moving & Storage at (800) 434-0157 and request a claim form by mail.

Retain carton, packing materials and damaged item(s). A United agent or United's Claims department will, if warranted, authorize an inspection of the claimed item(s).

If you need further assistance, contact the Claims department at (800) 325-9970.







If a mutually acceptable settlement of your claim cannot be reached, you may choose to have your dispute arbitrated. Under arbitration procedures, two parties unable to resolve their differences submit their dispute to an impartial arbitrator for a final binding determination. The arbitration system is a less costly alternative to the civil litigation system. Arbitration is available for (1) resolving cargo loss or damage claims, and (2) disputes regarding charges invoiced to the consumer after delivery for transportation and auxiliary services provided by the carrier.

United Van Lines participates in a Household Goods Dispute Settlement Program sponsored by the American Moving & Storage Association. The arbitration program is administered by the National Arbitration Forum (“NAF”). The NAF is a non-governmental organization that is not affiliated with either the AMSA or its member household goods carriers. The NAF was chosen to oversee the program because it is nationally recognized as the leading independent arbitration authority in the country. It is a public service, non-profit agency with offices nationwide.

The Household Goods Dispute Settlement Program:

  • Remains a voluntary process for the customer, however, based up the disputed amount, may or may not be voluntary for the carrier.***
  • Is legally binding on both the consumer and the carrier.
  • Limits the carrier's maximum liability to the released rate valuation coverage declared by the customer on the carrier's Bill of Lading.
  • Was recently expanded to resolve disputes over transportation charges and auxiliary services invoiced to the consumer after delivery that are related to the transportation of household goods.
  • While the rules of the program provide that the arbitrator's fee is to be split between the customer and the carrier, United will agree to pay the entire fee as a customer service gesture.

To obtain information about the arbitration program, contact United Moving & Storage or the AMSA, the association which sponsors the program:

American Moving & Storage Association
Attn: Dispute Settlement Program
1611 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314-3482

(703) 683-7410

*** Under the current rules of the program, disputed claims of $10,000 or less require the carrier to arbitrate in the event settlement cannot be reached. Disputed claims in excess of $10,000 allow the carrier to choose whether or not it wants to arbitrate.









Staff & Training

Our exclusive "Quality Labor Program" requires movers to demonstrate mastery of 160 skills and competencies associated with the moving process as well as complete 200 hours of field training.