Ask several companies to bid on your move. Our ratings and advice will help you find reliable, well-priced outfits.

Local Moves

Review ratings. Our Ratings Tables report results from our surveys of consumers. We primarily surveyed Consumers’ Checkbook subscribers, but also invited a sample of others to participate. We asked them to rate moving companies they had used “inferior,” “adequate,” or “superior” for several questions, including “promptness,” “doing work properly,” “letting you know cost early,” and “overall quality.” For companies that received 10 or more ratings, our Ratings Tables report the percent of surveyed customers who rated each company “superior” (as opposed to “inferior” or “adequate”) on each question. We also report the percent of each company’s surveyed customers who rated it “adequate” or “superior” (as opposed to “inferior”) for “overall quality.” Click here for more information on our customer survey and other data.

Check complaint records. Our Ratings Tables also show counts of complaints we gathered from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for a recent three-year period. Click here for more information on reported complaint counts.

Consider working with certified moving consultants. These pros can come to your home to prepare an estimate and offer advice on packing and other moving matters. American Trucking Associations’ Certified Moving Consultants complete an online program and pass a test. Certification indicates knowledge but says nothing about whether the consultant practices “lowball” bidding or other unethical behavior.

Make sure they have adequate insurance coverage. Ask the moving company for proof that it carries liability insurance coverage for damage to your house, your neighbors’ property, and to any person, and that it carries workers’ compensation coverage.

Long-Distance Interstate Moves

For long-distance moves, there are other quality factors to consider.

Each major national carrier uses several local agents and hundreds of driver-operators. While long-distance haulers presumably try to maintain overall quality throughout their systems, there can be big differences.

Enhance the odds of a successful long-distance move by choosing a high-quality local agent. Though they won’t actually haul your goods or unload them at the other end, they will probably pack you up, and may help load, and can give tips on getting organized and saving money. Plus, the local agent can intervene if problems occur with the personnel at your destination.

For additional protection, be sure your mover is properly registered and insured. Check the U.S. Department of Transportation Protect Your Move website to determine licensure status of movers.

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Review Insurance Issues

Your mover’s standard contract language probably severely limits its liability for loss or damage to your belongings. While standard protection is free, its reimbursement rate is capped at 60 cents per pound, which won’t adequately cover most household items.

Most movers offer additional “valuation coverage protection” or “full-value protection.” $50,000 of coverage with no deductible typically costs $450 to $1,000. But before you pay several hundred dollars for moving insurance, check your homeowners or renters insurance policy; your belongings may already be covered. But you’ll have to file a claim for damaged or lost items, be responsible for any deductible, and run the risk of a future rate hike or getting dropped.


Most local moves are completed in a single day. If you are moving during peak season (May to August) or on a weekend, book far in advance.

Long-distance companies often cram several households onto a single truck. Setting accurate pickup and delivery dates is very difficult because a delay with one load affects the others. Long delays (five days or more) are more common on deliveries than on pickups, but problems can occur at either end. Although you can make a claim for costs resulting from delays (hotel rooms, etc.), there is no way to be compensated fully.

If the delivery date is critical, focus on movers with high ratings for promptness on our customer survey and movers that offer “guaranteed pickup and delivery service.” With this, if the mover fails to pick up or deliver the shipment on the agreed-upon dates, you’ll get reimbursed, typically $100 to $200 for each day of delay. Movers also sometimes reimburse their customers for a portion of living expenses (hotels and meals) caused by delays.

Storage Needs

If your new home won’t be ready when you leave your old one, have the mover arrange storage. Get proof that insurance will cover your belongings against theft, fire, and other risks while in storage—the coverage you can buy for goods in transit doesn’t protect you from damage while in long-term storage.

Long-distance movers often place customers’ belongings in temporary storage to access another client’s stuff on the same truck, or if they need to wait a few days until their customers are ready for final delivery. Try to avoid this because it substantially increases the risk of damage.

If your new home can’t fit all your belongings and you don’t want to part with them, you can rent a self-storage unit.

Special Services, Higher Costs

Most companies charge extra to handle certain bulky or exceptionally heavy items, such as pianos, ride-on lawnmowers, and grandfather clocks. Movers’ price schedules may also include special charges if the truck is too big to get down the street to your home and a smaller truck is needed to shuttle your belongings; or if the truck has to pick up or drop off belongings at an additional location. Discuss such matters with company representatives providing estimates.