Here you will find questions and responses about a broad range of household goods moving topics.
Q. What is an origin surcharge?
A. Surcharges vary by specific origin and destination and are intended to cover unique variable costs inherent in the designated area. For instance, large metropolitan areas have surcharges recognizing local licences, delays routinely caused by traffic, reduced access routes, etc. Fuel surcharges, for instance, vary on a month-to-month basis based on national/local fuel costs as published by agencies, such as the Federal Government. They vary by van line/carrier but are published in their individual tariffs.
Q. We are considering several movers for an upcoming move and they include a "Fuel Surcharge" in their quotes. What is this cost for?
A. The price of fuel can substantially change the cost of moving goods, therefore most movers monitor the average retail prices for diesel on a weekly basis. Transportation companies will often include a Fuel Surcharge (FSC) to the cost of moving goods that is either based on cents per mile or as a percentage of the line haul amount, rather than having to constantly change the base tariff for household moving. Fuel of course, is a significant cost factor in the transportation service. The trucks that movers use are large and, as a result, consume large quantities of fuel. Fuel costs are very volatile so most movers regularly review a publically-available national average fuel price, such as the Average Retail Prices for Diesel published by the Federal Government. The volatility of fuel prices is very apparent on cross-border moves to and from the US as well. For example, fuel was $2.02 per gallon ($3.02 per litre) in March 2016 and $4.13 per gallon ($6.18 per litre) in March 2013 – just three years earlier. The amount of the FSC depends on the price program being followed by each mover. Some tariffs, for example, assume a basic fuel price of $0.70 per litre. Below that threshold, no fuel surcharge would apply. Some movers build in a rate per hundredweight per mile; others build in a percentage of line haul cost. Often a low amount is rolled into the tariff to begin with – so the mover doesn’t overcharge clients when fuel price drops to unusually low levels. When fuel prices exceed the basic level built into the base rate, the FSC formula would apply.
Q. Is it standard practice for a mover to charge in advance for a move?
A. Most credible movers will not charge up front for a planned move. Some will charge a deposit to hold the moving date. However the industry standard is to require payment on delivery (just before the goods are moved into the new home).
Q. How does the mover know what my shipment weighs?
Q. How important is it for me to have insurance on my goods while they are in transit?
A. It's extremely important to understand what your liability and your mover's liability is for loss of or damage to your goods while in transit. Watch this short video.
Q. Does my own Personal Home Owners policy cover my personal effects while being moved from one home to another?
A. The answer is...sometimes. Generally speaking, your personal property policy will cover your items while in transit to, and at another location in Canada which is occupied by you as your principle dwelling. However, it's very important to keep in mind that the limit of insurance for your personal property will be divided between the existing premises, the belongings that are in transit and at the new location on the basis of the percentage of the total value of the property at each location. Coverage only applies for a limited number of days (e.g. 30 - 90 consecutive days) from the day you begin removing your personal property from your principal dwelling and not beyond the date the policy expires or is terminated. Not all losses will be protected as the policy does limit and/or exclude certain types of losses, i.e. marring, scratching of any property, breakage of any fragile or brittle articles unless caused by an insured peril so it's always best to purchase coverage from your moving company. It's also important to remember that any claims made on your home owners policy will affect future premiums. The claims free discount that is applicable to most policies is between 10-20% of the total policy premium. They will also have a deductible of at least $500 and more likely $1000 today. Home owners are often quite unhappy when they are forced to make a claim on their own policy due to what is often perceived as negligent actions of the mover who is a paid professional. (Courtesy of McLean Hallmark Insurance Group Ltd.)
Q. What is the obligation of the mover for damage to the residence in the process of moving, such as scratched floors, damaged walls, etc.?
A. If it was damage caused by the mover, the mover is fully liable.
Q. If our long-distance carrier got involved in an accident on the way and our goods were lost in a fire, would we be entitled to a refund for the shipping charges we (partially) paid for plus whatever insurance settlement for our goods or are we only entitled to the insurance settlement for the lost goods?
A. Shipping charges would not be included in the insurance settlement. If there was a separate charge for Coverage Protection, this amount would have to be paid in full prior to the insurer settling any amount for damages. It is not a legal requirement for the mover to return shipping charges. We believe that different movers handle this in a variety of ways, so it is difficult to give an opinion on which way is best.