for Clients of Realtors in the Twin Cities

Truck Unloading At Home

Questions? We have answers!

Here are some frequently asked questions about moving services and the entire moving process. If you have questions that aren't answered below, please contact a member of your Alexander's Move Team.


When is the best time to move?

Most moving companies suggest you select a time other than summer, the end of the month or the end-of-year holidays. The heaviest demand is placed on vans, equipment and personnel during these periods.

When should I call a moving company?

The earlier the better! Although the actual van assignment may not be made until a few days before your move, it is wise to give your moving company four to six weeks' notice, if possible. The more lead-time you can give, the more likely we will be able to meet your preferred delivery schedule.

How long does it take to move my household goods?

This depends on many factors such as the time of year, weather conditions, the size of your shipment, the time required to load/unload and the direction and distance your shipment is traveling.

What is a tariff?

A tariff is the list of rules, regulations, available services and resulting charges used by all motor carriers providing interstate transportation of household goods. Tariffs are published by each household goods motor carrier and include its various services. Tariffs are available for your inspection upon request.

What can I expect when the mover comes to my home to do an estimate?

When a mover comes to your home to prepare an estimate they need to see everything in your home that is being moved. This is usually called a survey.

The survey also includes the amount of space your household items require on the moving truck, the distance it will travel and the timeline of your move. The mover determines the approximate cost and gives you a written Estimate/Order for Service. Please keep in mind that this document reflects estimated costs which could vary when the actual move occurs.

There is no cost for the estimate. The moving company must perform your survey at no charge.

Am I protected against loss or damage while my goods are in transit?

Yes, however, the cost and level of protection depends on the valuation program you choose: Full-Value Protection Coverage or Limited Liability, which is 60 cents per pound per article.

The valuation option you select determines the basis upon which any claim will be adjusted and establishes the maximum liability of the moving company. The liability of the mover for loss or damage is based on the tariff, federal laws and regulations and has limitations and exclusions. Valuation is not insurance. It is simply a tariff-based level of motor carrier liability. If you desire insurance, you should consult your insurance company representative about available coverage. Moving companies do not offer insurance.

A. Released Rate Liability (Basic Coverage)

With this type of valuation the moving company maximum liability for loss or damage to any article in the shipment is 60 cents multiplied by the weight of the article. This is the basic liability level and is provided at no charge.

B. Full Value Protection Coverage

Under this protection plan if any article is lost, destroyed or damaged while under the mover's interstate authority, the mover will either...

  1. Repair the article to the extent necessary to restore it to the same condition it was when received or pay for the cost of such repairs; or
  2. Replace the article with an article of like kind and quality or pay for the cost to replace the article. An additional charge applies for this option. The moving company will determine the appropriate settlement method to be used.


Full Value Protection Coverage with and without deductible options are available. The deductible options are:

  • Option A -- Full Value Protection with no deductible
  • Option B -- Full Value Protection with a $250 deductible
  • Option C -- Full Value Protection with a $500 deductible


Items of Extraordinary Value

In the moving industry items having a value of more than $100 per pound are known as articles of extraordinary value. These articles in your shipment must be listed on a High Value Inventory Form which you are to complete and give to the driver. Although you might have other articles of extraordinary value, the following list of examples may help you identify items falling under this classification:

  • Jewelry
  • Furs
  • Art, stamp and coin collections
  • Crystal
  • Figurines
  • Antiques
  • Oriental rugs
  • Precious stones or gems
  • China and silverware


In the event of a claim, any settlement involving an article of extraordinary value listed on the High Value Inventory Form is...

  • limited to the value of the article
  • not to exceed the declared value of the shipment
  • based upon the moving company's valuation program


If an article of extraordinary value is not listed on the High Value Inventory Form you will not receive more than $100 per pound per article. If you are not shipping any high value items, sign the form and print the word "None" in the inventory list. 

Shipments moving under the Released Limited Liability program in which the declared value of the shipment is $0.60 per pound per article, would not be covered by the provisions applicable to articles of extraordinary value. The High Value Inventory Form should still be signed with the words "Not Applicable" written on the form.

Do my appliances need special attention?

Most refrigerators, washers, dryers and other electrical or mechanical appliances require special servicing to ensure safe transportation. Any moving parts such as motors on major appliances, washer drums and ice makers should be securely fastened for shipment. Gas appliances need to be serviced and disconnected prior to your move.

How do the movers protect my furniture?

All furniture is blanket-wrapped and/or shrink-wrapped during transportation.

Do I have to disassemble my beds, desks and other furniture items?

Disassembling your own beds and furniture may save you time and money on your move. Moving crews are well skilled in disassembling/reassembling beds and other furniture items.

What do I do about packing?

You can certainly pack yourself or the moving company can do it for you. Packing always seems to be the most laborious and time-consuming part of a move. We all seem to have many more possessions than we first estimate and the time involved with packing them seems to grow after we begin. Here are some quick packing tips:

  • Start packing as soon as you can. It always takes longer than you expect.
  • Eliminate as many items as you can by donating to charity and/or holding a moving sale. It will save you time in the long run.
  • Pack a suitcase for each family member as if you were going on a three day trip. Keep the suitcases with you instead of putting them on the moving truck.
  • Create one or two Open Me First boxes for each room containing the items you'll need immediately upon arrival at your new home. This saves a lot of time.
  • Number and label each box on all four sides and on top with an abbreviation for the destination room. This allows the movers to identify and place boxes quickly rather than having to constantly ask the question, "Where do you want this box?".
  • Focus on one room at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed.
  • Hold a packing party with friends, family and other recruits. Offer free food and music to entice packing party-goers.
  • For more detailed information read our Packing 101 tips.
Can I pack my clothes in a chest or dresser drawers?

Lightweight clothing such as sweaters, shirts, blouses and lingerie may be left in dresser drawers. Do not fill drawers with heavy items like books, table linens or sheets. Doing so can damage the piece of furniture during transit. Be careful NOT to leave fragile items, money, jewelry, watches or other valuables in the drawers. Do not leave anything that might spill or leak in drawers.

Will the driver load all the boxes that I packed?

Yes, as long as the driver deems them safe for transport. However, packed by owner (PBO) cartons may not be covered by your valuation. Because we cannot control how the items are actually packed, most moving companies will not accept liability for damaged contents of PBO cartons unless there is physical damage to the box itself.

Can I move jewelry and other valuables?

Items of extraordinary value such as jewelry, money, photographs, antiques and stamp collections can be included in your shipment provided you notify your mover of these items before packing or moving day. However, we strongly recommend that you carry irreplaceable and/or expensive articles with you or make other arrangements for their transport.

Can I move my house plants?

Moving companies cannot accept responsibility for safely moving your plants because they may suffer from a lack of water, light and temperature changes while in the moving van. You may prefer to transport your house plants in the family car or ship them by plane.

Some states prohibit the entry of all plants while others will admit plants under certain conditions. Some states have no plant regulations. Be sure to check the regulations of the state to which you are moving.

How will I know when my shipment is going to be delivered?

The moving company assigns a customer service representative (CSR) as your primary contact throughout your move. Your CSR provides you with a delivery spread (a date range for delivery) so you can plan ahead. Your CSR will contact you with updated information during the delivery spread. Your driver will contact you 24 hours prior to delivery to finalize delivery arrangements.

How can I make sure my boxes go to the proper room or location at the final destination?

It is best to carefully label all boxes corresponding to an inventory list. You can also use color-coding stickers on boxes with matching colored stickers on doors and walls to assist the movers with carton placement. 

Should I tip my movers?

Tips are always appreciated but never expected. On average, tips range anywhere from $10.00 to $100.00 per crew member. If you decide to tip, you can give a tip to each crew member separately or simply give your entire tip to the driver/crew chief and let him or her divide it up evenly among the crew.

Can my goods and possessions be stored temporarily?

Yes. If you are unable to take immediate possession of your new residence, your belongings can be stored in a local warehouse. Van line agents throughout the world provide safe storage facilities for holding your goods until you are ready for them. However, you are responsible for storage charges, warehouse valuation coverage and final delivery charges from the warehouse.

If your goods are placed in storage there will be an additional charge for the valuation coverage provided for your shipment. (See Am I protected against loss or damage while my goods are in transit? above.) The type of coverage and cost depends on whether your shipment is held in storage-in-transit (temporary) or in permanent (long-term) storage.

What can I do to lower my moving costs?

One of the best tips for lowering moving costs is to pack and organize. It sounds simple, but you would be surprised how fast moving day sneaks up on you. By packing all of your small or loose items into sealed boxes you are cutting down clutter. Smaller items actually slow down your moving team.

One way to help reduce clutter is to donate or sell any items you haven't used in a while or don't really need. Use local charitable organizations, garage sales and online classifieds to pare down as much as possible before your move.

How do I file and receive a settlement on my claim?

The best advice is to understand the claims settlement process prior to your move. It is important that you know your coverage and the procedure to file a claim should damage occur. Your claims adjuster will walk you through the steps to file a claim and explain your options. 

Understand your coverage and have proper documentation available. An inventory with noted damages, photographs, receipts, etc. will be needed.

If I have a problem with a moving company how do I lodge a complaint?

There are several ways you can file a complaint against a moving company. However, before you do, you should contact the moving company directly to try to resolve the issue.

If you decide a formal complaint is warranted, here are some options:

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides an online complaint form and a toll-free number you can call.
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Bureau of Consumer Protection, also provides an online form and process.
  • The National Association of Attorneys General offers a full contact list of Attorneys General to whom you may lodge a complaint.