How to Properly Haul Household Goods
Household Goods are a hot commodity to transport during peak holiday seasons. It is essential to register your company as the proper authority with the FMCSA, and also very important to understand how to list these commodities on your policy.
Firstly, two operating authorities you can apply for are the Motor Carrier of Property (except Household Goods) and Motor Carrier of Household Goods (Moving Companies).
Motor Carrier of Property (except Household Goods)
This authority is for carriers shipping B2B or a shipper to a receiver in exchange for payment. These are typically goods packaged in boxes and require little to no handling from the carrier. You can still ship household items if covered by your insurance provider.
Motor Carrier of Household Goods (Moving Companies)
An authorized for-hire Motor Carrier transporting only household goods for the general public in exchange for payment. Household Goods are personal items that one uses in a home. These goods always will be purchased with the intent to be used in a home. The transport is usually at the cost of the homeowner in most instances. These items also can require delivery into a home and assembly by the carrier.
To apply for these authorities, you must fill out an OP-series form. According to the FMCSA, “OP-series forms can ONLY be used to apply for additional authorities, not for initial registration with FMCSA.”
Secondly, properly labeling the commodities on a policy reduces the risk of a claim denial in the event of a loss. Items included in the Household Goods category include but are not limited to General Merchandise/General Cargo, Branded Goods, Fragile Goods, Computers, Electronics, and Cell Phones.
General Merchandise/General Cargo
NEW or refurbished goods that are not specifically subject to breakage such as (but not excluded to): Fabrics, Clothes, Metal and Plastic Items, Shoes, Brand New Furniture without any Glass, Housework Articles, Tools, Domestic Appliances, Washing Machines, Dishwashers, Ovens, Cookers, Grills, and Fridges
Brand name Goods, Cosmetics, Sports Goods, Perfumes, Garments, Eye ware, Leather goods/leatherwear
Furniture with Glass
Desktop computers (PC, MAC), CPUs, Laptops/notebooks, servers, monitors, computer display screens, mainframes, computer chips, and computer components
Radios, Audio/stereo equipment, Cameras, computer printers, other printers, Photocopiers, Scanners, All Televisions, (Analog, HDTV, Plasma), TV Receiver Sets, Projectors, DVD Players, DVR (DVD Recorders), Digital Interactive Receivers (Tivo, etc), VCR’s, Telephones and Telephone Equipment, play station's, X-box, video games, consoles, Electronic Juke Boxes, and Electronic Slot Machines
Cell Phones and PDA's (iPhone, treo, blackberry, blackjack, etc.) handheld digital computers (palm pilots, etc.)
If you are ever confused or unsure of the exact commodity name you should have listed on your policy, you can call your agent. Staying in touch with your insurance agent will help avoid any mislabeling and possible claims denials.
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