Handle with Care: Protecting Your Belongings in a Move


No one would deny that moving is a very stressful time in life. Pulling up roots and trying to set up again in a new place is never easy. So imagine how much worse it can be if your movers are responsible for substantial damage or loss to your belongings!

This is a nightmare scenario that happens to people every day. Unfortunately, very few of those people have done their homework and understand their rights and responsibilities during a move. The vast majority have no idea how poorly protected they are until the worst happens to them — and by then, it’s too late.

To start with, a distinction must be made between two types of moves: interstate moves and intrastate moves. Interstate moves are those made from one state to another. Those moves are governed by federal laws and regulations, and are not the main focus of this article.1 Intrastate moves are moves made between two points within the State of Texas. These moves are governed by Texas statutes and regulations, set forth by the Texas Department of Transportation (commonly referred to as TxDOT). Although TxDOT requires that every consumer be given a copy of its official form, "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move in Texas," by the mover prior to signing the contract,2 few people take the time to carefully read the form and understand how heavily weighted the regulations are in favor of the movers and against the consumers.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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