Moving FAQ

When should I call a moving company?

The earlier, the better. Although the actual truck assignment may not be made until a few days before your move, it’s a good idea 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.

All moving companies, for their standard service, require flexibility with alternate pickup and delivery dates. United aspires to meet your preferred dates or the nearest possible alternatives. You will be notified in advance of the loading date for your goods and of the estimated date of arrival.

If your pickup and delivery dates are critical, due to a lease expiration or real estate closing, you may choose an extra-cost service which will enable us to accommodate a more precise schedule. You should discuss your specific pickup and delivery requirements with your United agent, who can advise you regarding the types and costs of services available.

If you decide to move with United, a move coordinator will be assigned to you. This person will help you select services (if needed) and can answer any questions you may have throughout the entire process.

When is the best time to move?

If there is a choice, most moving companies suggest you select a time other than summer, the end of the month or the end-of-year holidays. The heaviest demands are placed on trucks, equipment and personnel during these periods.

However, United Van Lines believes you should move when it is most convenient for you. Factors involved in the decision may include:

  • whether the move must be made immediately
  • moving children during the school term
  • separation of the family while the move is under way

Do I need an estimate?

A United agent will need to conduct a visual survey of the all of the items you plan to move by using our Virtual Moving Estimate or visiting your home. Your United agent will determine the approximate cost based on the amount of items you are moving and their weight and give you a written Estimate/Order for Service. An accurate estimate cannot be calculated without a visual survey of the items to be moved. There is no charge for this estimate.

Keep in mind that estimates (household goods surveys) are only guidelines. On interstate shipments, you must pay the total charges as determined by the actual weight of your shipment, the distance it travels and the services that you authorize or which become necessary to handle your shipment.

What is a binding estimate?

A binding estimate is an estimate for your move, based on the services and other information listed on the quote document. 

United provides binding estimates to our customers. Once we commence loading your shipment, the amount of the bound estimate will be the amount you will pay for your move – no more or less – unless you ask for additional services or make changes to the conditions of your shipment and/or we reasonably believe it is necessary to provide additional services to safely complete your shipment.

If you ask for certain services, such as additional storage or a change in your delivery address, you could be asked to pay for those services, along with the original quoted amount, prior to delivery. For all other additional amounts owed, you will be charged/invoiced 30 days after delivery.

Does United require deposits to book a move?

We don’t require an upfront down payment or deposit to book a move. If you want to pay by credit card, we’ll confirm your credit card limit within a few days prior to loading – but we won’t charge the card before the move starts.

What forms of payment does United accept?

Payment for your United shipment can be made by one of the following methods: cash, traveler’s check, money order or cashier’s check, and major credit cards (American Express® Card, Discover® Card, Visa®, and MasterCard®).

For some residential moves, we are required to ask for your planned form of payment at the time we prepare and/or present our quote.

When will I be charged for my move?

Per federal regulations, all charges are required to be paid before your shipment is unloaded at destination. If you’re paying with a credit card, an authorization will be requested up to two days prior your scheduled load date.

A successful authorization will put a hold on the funds that will be charged to your card after your shipment is loaded.

How long does it take to move?

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

Because the furnishings of the average household will not fill a truck, it is often necessary for two or more shipments to be loaded on the same truck. Each shipment is carefully sectioned off from the others.

With the help of United’s computer-assisted dispatching system, pickup and delivery dates are scheduled according to the origins and destinations of individual shipments on the trucks, as well as shipment weight.

My move date changed. What should I do?

Contact your move coordinator as soon as you can if your move dates have changed. He/she can process any changes to your plan and discuss updates; keep in mind your estimate may change depending on the dates you selected.

How is the cost of my move determined?

Unless you have been given a binding estimate, the exact cost of your move cannot be determined until after your shipment has been loaded on the truck and weighed.

If additional services are requested or become necessary after loading and weighing, additional charges will be incurred. Basic transportation charges depend on the actual weight of your goods and the distance they will travel.

The total cost will include these transportation costs, any charges for Full-Value Protection, plus charges for any additional convenience service package you may add or “accessorial” services (such as packing and unpacking) performed by the United agent at your request. These charges are based on “tariff” rate schedules.

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

Yes, but how much protection you have and its cost to you depend upon the United “valuation” program you choose – Full-Value Protection or Released Value Liability (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 United. The liability of United for loss or damage is based upon United’s tariffs, as well as federal laws and regulations, and has certain 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 insurance coverages, because United does not offer insurance.

Full-Value Protection

Under this protection plan, if any article is lost, destroyed or damaged while under United Van Lines’ interstate authority, it will either 1) repair the article to the extent necessary to restore it to the same condition as when it was received by United or pay you for the cost of such repairs; or 2) replace the article with an article of like kind and quality or pay you for the cost of such a replacement. An additional charge applies for this option and is included upfront in every estimate. United will determine the appropriate settlement method to be used.

United’s total liability for loss or damage will not exceed the amount you declare as the value of your shipment. However, the minimum total declared value must be at least equal to the weight of your shipment multiplied by $6.00 per pound.

Released Value Liability (basic protection)

With this type of valuation, United’s 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.

What are 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.” All “articles of extraordinary value” in your shipment must be listed on the High-Value Inventory Form which will be given to you by the salesperson to complete.

Although you might have other articles of extraordinary value, the following list should help you identify items that might fall under this classification: jewelry, furs, art 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 United valuation program applicable to your shipment.

If an article of extraordinary value is not listed on the form, United’s maximum liability is limited to $100 per pound per article. If you are not shipping any items of high value, sign the form and print the word “None” in the inventory list.

Shipments that move under the Released Value Liability program, in which the declared value of the shipment would be 60 cents 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.

You must select the valuation program and you must write your choice in the “Valuation” box on the Bill of Lading in your own handwriting.

For a full description of the Full-Value Protection and Released Value Coverage programs, please click here.

Can my possessions be stored temporarily?

If you are unable to take immediate possession of your new residence, your belongings can be stored in a local United agent’s warehouse. United agents throughout the country provide storage facilities for holding your goods until you’re ready for them. However, you are responsible for the 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, as mentioned previously. The type of coverage and cost be dependent upon whether the shipment is held in storage-in-transit (temporary) or in permanent (long-term) storage. Please ask your United agent for information regarding storage arrangements.

What type of packing/unpacking services do you offer?

At the time of your move, you can choose to pack as much or as little as you want. We can pack the entire shipment, pack only a portion of your belongings or you can pack everything yourself. United is here to personalize your move process and make this transition as smooth as possible.

If you’re interested in our packing services, you can discuss options with your salesperson during your in-home estimate. Your move coordinator can also go over these services or feel free to browse our packing options. United offers different packing services to fit all types of moves and budgets.

Will my furnishings stay clean?

United’s air-ride trucks provide a clean, smooth move. United protects your upholstered furniture with protective wrap before it is covered with furniture pads.

I need some advice on how to pack my belongings; can United Van Lines help with this issue?

You can certainly pack yourself. Visit our packing tips for advice on how to pack dishes, clothes, shoes and other items.

Can I move frozen foods?

Frozen foods can be moved, but only under specific, limited conditions. Be sure to discuss this with your United agent. In most instances, we suggest that shipping arrangements be made through a local frozen food locker, especially for a long-distance move. It is often easier to use up perishable food items prior to your move or just to donate them.

For a complete list of items that cannot be shipped, please visit the Non-Allowables section of this website.

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 United agent of these items before packing or moving day. However, we strongly recommend that you carry irreplaceable and expensive articles with you or make other arrangements for their transport.

In the moving industry, items worth more than $100 per pound are considered to be articles of “extraordinary” value. If you are moving items of extraordinary value then complete and sign the High-Value Inventory Form and sign the “Extraordinary (Unusual) Value Article Declaration” box on the Bill of Lading. If no articles of extraordinary value are included in your shipment, simply write “none” on the High-Value Inventory Form and sign it.

For a complete list of items that cannot be shipped, please visit the Non-Allowables section of this website.

Can I move my house plants?

United Van Lines cannot accept responsibility for safely moving your plants, because they may suffer from a lack of water and light as well as probable temperature changes while in transit. You may prefer to transport your house plants in the family car or ship them by plane.

Prior to your move you should also consider that some states prohibit the entry of all plants, while other states will admit plants under certain conditions. Be sure to check the regulations of the state to which you’re moving.

For a complete list of items that cannot be shipped, please visit the Non-Allowables section of this website.

Can I move my pet(s)?

Pets cannot be carried in the moving truck. Dogs, cats, canaries and parakeets can usually be transported in the family car. If this isn’t convenient, your United agent will be glad to suggest alternate ways to ship your pets safely. Check out our helpful article, “Moving with Pets.”

For a complete list of items that cannot be shipped, please visit the Non-Allowables section of this website.

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