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How Do You Move Long Distance?

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There's always a lot of speculation as to what constitutes a long distance move.

Truth is, you can have a long distance move that is within the same state, and an interstate move that's 50 to 100 miles away from your original destination. Moving locally is very straight forward whereas long distance moves require time, preparation, paperwork, planning and so much more.

How much do long distance movers cost?

Pricing for long-distance moves is typically determined by the weight and size of the shipment. Moving a one-bedroom apartment can cost anywhere between $850 and $4,500. Prices will vary greatly depending on your location (a move from Manhattan to Los Angeles costs $2,500 on average) and the weight of your shipment.

Tip: To avoid being surprised by the total cost of your move, use our weight calculator to help estimate the total weight of your move.

What are some common hidden charges in long distance moves?

  • Dense or urban areas might require a shuttle service to transport your items to your front door, because the truck itself is too large to fit or park near the destination. This can add $300 to $500 to your final bill.

  • If your new home isn't ready, the company will place your belongings in short-term storage. Depending on the amount of items you have, this can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,000 monthly.

  • Some companies offer a guaranteed delivery date. The pricing depends on the volume of belongings as well as the driver's flexibility (based on the route). This will add $300 to $1,500 onto your final bill. The less availability the company has, the more they will charge.

How do you find the right long distance mover?

Once you know where and how many items you're bringing with you, it's time to select a moving company. Start your research at to get long distance moving quotes from several reputable companies. We check the company's licensing and insurance qualifications, so you don't have to. Listen to reviews from real customers detailing their experiences.

Companies should have all the proper documentation, licensing and insurance in order to legally provide you moving services. These include:

  • United States Department of Transportation number
  • Interstate Commerce Commission Motor Carrier number (companies before 1995)
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration registration
  • State regulated insurance card

How do you prepare to move long distance?

Give yourself ample time to inform those who should be informed that you're moving.

Start with, at least:

  • Doctors, dentists, other healthcare providers
  • Banks, credit cards, student loans
  • Schools
  • Employers
  • Insurance providers
  • the US Postal Service

Research what you need to apply for a driver's license in your new state. You don't have to switch insurance companies when you move to a new state, which makes the transition a little easier.

Switch your accounts over a month in advance. Let them know when you would like the services turned off, which should be the day after you vacate the home. At the same time, you will need to contact the utility providers in your new location and set up accounts.

Utility accounts, like gas, water and electricity should be turned on one day before your move in date. Take a few days between your move in date and having your telecommunications hooked up so you can decide where the components will be placed prior to drilling holes in your wall.

How do you pack for a long distance move?

As your move approaches, start creating a list of everything you need to bring with you. Since your goods will be traveling a long distance, you'll want to take extra care when packing them.

TIP: Label any boxes that you pack yourself as "P.B.O." (Packed By Owner) so you do not get charged for packing them. But be careful packing them, the moving company can't be held responsible for broken items inside these boxes.

Use wardrobe boxes for suits, coats, and other items that need to be hung. Your more durable clothing items can be folded and packed into garbage bags. Shoes should be packed in their original box.

While you can pack your clothes and other objects yourself, it may best to have professional movers wrap up and pack:

  • Large appliances
  • Heavy furniture
  • Any oversized items
  • Antiques
  • Artwork

Before putting anything in the truck, though, the moving company will prepare a Household Goods Descriptive Inventory document, which lists all of your goods and their condition prior to the move. You will be asked to review this list and sign it before your items are moved.

Plan to take any irreplaceable things as well as some necessities your will need for your first day in the new home. These items should include:

  • Moving company contact numbers and information
  • Important documents (birth certificates, social security cards, etc.)
  • Medications
  • Any valuables (old photos, jewelry, tablets, etc.)
  • A couple changes of clothes
  • Toiletries and towels
  • Anything you would need in case the moving truck is delayed

What type of insurance do you need for a long distance move?

Insure everything you move. Regardless of your moving company's expertise, there is still the chance that your belongings can be damaged as they are packed up, when they are on the road or as they are being brought into your new house.

Though very rare, there is the possibility of total loss of your goods -- whether due to theft, fire or natural disaster. Therefore, you should get insurance to protect your goods from the wear and tear involved in a move and from the possibility of something worse.

Things to consider before choosing liability insurance:

  • Find out if your current home insurance provider will cover your goods during a move. If so, don't spend the extra money on additional insurance.

  • You can find a company to insure your move on your own. This may be cheaper than using one affiliated with your moving company.

  • For the most comprehensive coverage, you should get full value protection. With this service, the moving company will repair, replace or give you a cash settlement for all damaged items, up to the declared value of the shipment.

Other things to know about long distance moves

Plan for delivery. Research the parking regulations in your new neighborhood. If you're moving into an apartment complex, talk to the super about getting access to the freight elevator.

Inspect the delivery for any damages or missing items. Triple check everything! If you happen to notice some damage after signing the Household Goods Descriptive Inventory, it can be difficult to file a claim and be compensated by your moving company.

Tip your movers to show your appreciation and provide water or other refreshments while they work.

Kelly Martini  Posted by Kelly Martini on September 17, 2018

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