As a moving company, you will inevitably have to deal with damage to a customer’s items. Accidents can happen during a move – items dropped, weather-related issues, etc. In these instances, customers may file a damage claim for the item. Luckily, there are ways you can prepare for this eventuality and protect yourself and your moving company from liability issues.
Create A Written Damage Policy
In your bill of lading, make sure you communicate clearly what your moving company will cover in case of damage. Many moving companies offer either Standard Valuation Coverage or Additional Valuation Coverage. Standard Valuation Coverage can differ from state to state, but it’s usually 60 cents per pound. That means if a 20 pound item is broken or damaged, the moving company will reimburse the customer 12 dollars. Additional Valuation Coverage goes beyond that minimum coverage by offering things like repairs, replacements, or full compensation.
Get specific – maybe you offer Standard Valuation for certain items and Additional Valuation for others. Many moving companies also have items they will not assume liability for at all, such as china or fragile art that they have not packed/unpacked themselves. The more details you can add to the fine print, the better.
Communicate With Customers
Establish the terms and conditions of your damage policy early on with the customer. That way, there isn’t any surprise or confusion if something does end up being damaged in the course of the move. Understand that even if the customer is aware of your policies, they will likely still be upset if an item is damaged. Use compassion and patience in your approach, even as you stay firm to the original terms.
Make sure your business’s insurance includes general liability insurance. If it’s not included, it may be smart to invest in an additional policy. On average, moving companies in America invest only $450 to $1000 per year for $1 million in liability coverage. General liability insurance typically covers things from employee injury, property damage, and legal costs.
For example, if an employee drops an expensive couch down the stairs, injuring themselves and damaging the couch and the customer’s house in the process, general liability insurance will cover the hospital bills as well as the cost of the couch and home repairs.
As a moving company owner, you will have to deal with damage claims at some point. Make sure your moving company is prepared and protected by following these tips.
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