Answers to All of Your Questions About Moving

When preparing for your move, there are inevitably questions that will arise. This FAQ page is designed to answer those questions. But if there’s a question you have that isn’t addressed on this page, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

In addition to this page, you can also find useful information regarding your questions on these pages:

Getting Started

What is a Bekins interstate agent?
Bekins agents are individually owned and operated businesses located throughout the country. When a customer moves from one state to another, our agents are authorized to act on behalf of the van line, Bekins, to transport goods across state lines (hence, interstate agent). These agents have met the stringent service and quality standards set to become an agent for Bekins.

Your local Bekins agent will coordinate all aspects of your move, work with corporate headquarters and with the Bekins agent at your destination, and remain your point of contact throughout the relocation process.

Is Bekins a broker?
Bekins is not a broker. Every move is done under Bekins authority by drivers and agents who meet our stringent procedures and requirements. We do not buy or sell your personal information or your move to other companies. Bekins and its agents work directly on your behalf to orchestrate your move. Bekins agents are authorized to act on behalf of Bekins to transport goods across state lines. These agents and their equipment have met the rigorous service and quality standards set to become an agent for Bekins.

When is the best time to move?
The best time to move is when it’s right for you. However, there are some times of the year that are busier for the moving industry than others. The summer months (May – September) and the end of each month are periods of heavier demand.


When should I begin to contact companies about estimates for my upcoming move?
It is a good idea to contact the moving companies you are considering for your move with as much notice as possible. It is ideal to have companies provide an estimate five to six weeks prior to your desired move date. Try to select the moving company four weeks before your moving date. Be sure to sign the Estimate/Order for Service and confirm your packing, pick-up, and delivery dates.

What is an in-home estimate?
With our in-home estimate, your local Bekins agent will come to your home to complete a visual survey of the belongings you plan to move. Your local Bekins agent has passed Bekins’ rigorous training and certification program and will be able to provide you with an accurate estimate of your belongings. Your estimate is based on a wide variety of factors, the two main ones being shipment weight and distance to destination. In addition, they will evaluate the need for professional services, such as packing and unpacking, appliance preparation, custom crating, and storage.

What are the different types of estimates?

  • Non-binding estimate. A non-binding estimate is the agent’s approximation of the cost, based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. The final cost will be based upon the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided, and the tariff provisions in effect. To verify the weight of your shipment, the driver will weigh his trailer prior to loading your shipment and then reweigh his trailer once your shipment has been loaded.
  • Firm-binding estimate. A firm-binding estimate is an agreement between the agent and the customer that the cost of the move will be a specific dollar amount based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the specific services requested. If the actual weight of the shipment is different than the agent anticipated, the price of the move does not change. However, adding items not surveyed by the agent at the time of the estimate or adding services not discussed at the time of the estimate could increase the cost of the move.
  • Option-binding estimate. An option-binding estimate (also known as a not-to-exceed estimate) is an agreement between the agent and the customer that the cost of the move will be no more than a specific dollar amount based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the specific services requested. If the anticipated weight of the shipment is less than estimated, then the customer’s bill is reduced by the amount of the cost associated with the weight difference between the estimated and actual weight. The customer will not pay more than the cost associated with the estimated weight, even if the actual weight exceeds the estimate. However, adding items not surveyed by the agent at the time of the estimate or adding services not discussed at the time of the estimate could increase the cost of the move.

What are the methods of payment Bekins accepts for my move?
The tariff provisions require that the charges be paid in full, prior to your shipment being unloaded at destination. You can pay for your move at the time of delivery with cash, money order, traveler’s check, certified check or cashier’s check. Or, with prior credit approval, you can charge the cost of your move to your personal credit card. Bekins gladly accepts the following credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express.

What is an Order for Service?
An Order for Service is a signed written agreement made in advance with the moving company, authorizing the company to move your goods.

What are my rights and responsibilities when I move?
All moving companies are required by federal law to provide each customer a copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. Your primary responsibility as outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is to select a reputable household goods carrier, ensure that you understand the terms and conditions of the contract, and understand and pursue the remedies that are available to you in case problems arise. You should talk to your mover if you have further questions. The moving company will also furnish you with additional information describing its procedure for handling your questions and complaints, and a telephone number you can call to obtain additional information about your move.


Can I leave the items in my dresser drawers?
Yes, you can leave clothing in your dresser drawers if your shipment will not need storage. If you will need storage at one of Bekins’ agencies, we recommend that all items in your dresser drawers be packed. We also recommend that all non-clothing items be packed, regardless of your storage needs.

Will the mover load the boxes that I packed?
Yes, the driver will load the boxes that you packed as long as the driver deems them safe for transport. Please note, the liability coverage for boxes that you pack yourself is not the same as the liability coverage available to you for carrier-packed boxes. Your valuation policy will not cover items damaged inside boxes you pack if the boxes themselves arrive to your destination undamaged. If the boxes themselves are damaged or crushed during transport, your valuation policy could be applied to the items inside.

Can I pack and move my plants?
Houseplants should not be moved. Most professional movers will only accept plants if the shipment is not going more than 150 miles and/or delivery will be within 24 hours. In addition, if you are moving across state lines, check with federal and state regulations for quarantines or other restrictions. Several states even require that plants be inspected and declared “pest free.”

What items cannot be packed?
Bekins wants your belongings to arrive at your new home safe and sound. That means not moving certain items. Aerosol cans and hazardous materials are unsafe for transportation on a moving van. In addition, perishable items and those of personal importance are recommended for your individual transport. Read our comprehensive list of What Not to Pack.

How should I move my jewelry and other valuable items?
Bekins recommends you do not pack or ship your fine jewelry, precious metals, irreplaceable family photos and smaller items, important papers (titles, tax forms, bank books, deeds, etc.), medical and dental records, prescriptions, coins, currency, stock certificates, notes or bonds. These items should be carried with you during your move.

How should I prepare my appliances?
All major appliances (washer, dryer, refrigerator, freezer, stoves, etc.) should be properly disconnected before the mover’s arrival. An authorized service firm can disconnect and prepare each appliance for transport. All refrigerators and freezers should be defrosted, cleaned and dried before the movers arrive. For more information, visit our packing of specialty items page.

Will Bekins move my automobile?
Yes, Bekins has the capability to transport your automobile. There are several options for this service, including in-van service or use of a third-party carrier. Whichever option you choose, Bekins can arrange this service for you. If you have a preference regarding the transport of your vehicle (i.e. inside the moving van versus a third-party auto carrier) you must let your agent know at the time of your estimate. Depending on your preference, there could be an added charge for transporting your vehicle.

How will my mirrors and pictures be protected and packed?
Your local Bekins Agent can pack all of your mirrors and pictures using specially designed cartons and wrapping materials to provide maximum protection for your goods.

What type of protection options do my belongings have during transport?
Bekins offers different levels of valuation options for your belongings. These options are not insurance, but provide for protection of your goods during shipping.

Loading and Delivery

What can I expect on moving day?
On moving day, you can relax and leave all of the hard work to the professional movers. For a detailed account of how your moving day will go, check out our What to Expect page.

What is a shuttle?
Shuttle service is the use of a smaller vehicle to provide service when the residence is not accessible to the mover’s normal over-the-road equipment. Shuttle service at origin involves loading the goods onto a smaller vehicle then transporting and offloading them onto the mover’s normal equipment. The process is reversed at destination, if necessary. Depending on the weight of the shipment, this could involve several trips with the smaller vehicle.

How will I know when my shipment is going to be delivered?
Based on the weight of your belongings and the distance they’re being transported, your local Bekins agent will provide you with a range of days during which your belongings will be delivered. Your driver will contact you 48 hours prior to confirm the delivery of your belongings. Ensure that the driver has your destination contact information prior to his departure from your origin residence.

Who do I contact if my shipment is delayed beyond my delivery dates?
In the rare situation that your belongings will not be delivered within the delivery spread that is stated on the Bill of Lading, please contact our customer service department at 1-800-248-4810. A customer service representative will be able to answer your questions and provide delivery updates. You should also feel free to contact us electronically if you prefer.

Who do I contact if my household goods were damaged during my move?
If you had items damaged during the move, please contact the Bekins claims department at 1-800-932-7799. A claims adjuster will be assigned and he or she will review the claim and contact you, if necessary, with any further instructions. Please take note of the following details on the claims process:

  1. All claims must be filed in writing, within nine months of the date of delivery to residence. If your goods were placed into storage-in-transit, and remain in storage in excess of 180 days, you have nine months from the date of conversion to permanent storage in which to file a claim.
  2. Please do not discard or repair any items without prior authorization from this office, as we reserve the right to inspect all claimed items.
  3. If you are claiming any damaged items which were packed, please indicate whether or not the carton was damaged. Please also save the packing material and carton for our inspection.
  4. Please describe the nature and location of damages for each article claimed, and furnish repair estimates whenever possible to support the claim.
  5. Please provide the manufacturer’s name, the model, and the serial number of any appliances or electronics equipment claimed as missing or damaged.
  6. Copies of original purchase receipts should be submitted with your claim for items requiring replacement.
  7. Please make certain that all items you wish to claim are included on your claim form, and that the claim form does constitute your complete and entire claim.