Managing Transition

Submit YOUR Story

Share your

move experience

with us in a story



 We'll post your story in 


Submit YOUR Photo

Do you have a


to share with us?

 We'll post your picture in


Moving Definitions

The following definitions are popular terminology used by moving companies for the shipment of household goods.


also see Relocation and Real Estate Definitions >


Access Space at and around the property for removal vehicles, and whether lifts are available for apartments. This is usually assessed by the consultant to ascertain any difficulties the vehicle may encounter. 

Accessorial Services Services such as packing, appliance servicing, unpacking, crating, piano carry, long carry, and other required services to be performed. Same as 'Additional Services.'
Additional Services Services such as packing, appliance servicing, unpacking, crating, piano carry, long carry, and other required services to be performed. Same as 'Accessorial Services.'
Advanced Charges Charges for services not performed by the mover but instead by a professional, craftsman or other third party at our request. The charges for these services are paid for by the move and added to your bill of lading charges.
Agent The local moving company representing a national van line. May serve as booking, origin, destination and/or hauling agent.
Air Ride Suspension A vehicle air suspension feature used to aid smoother ride in transit.
AMSA Certified Mover An interstate carrier that transports your household goods shipment under its own operating authority, granted by the Federal Highway Administration. AMSA Certified Movers subscribe to the AMSA Code of Conduct.
Anti-Static Bubble Wrap Bubble wrap that helps prevent static charge usually pink in color and often used on electronics such as computer monitors

Appliance Dolly A special dolly with straps to help load and unload large items like appliances and oversized furniture

Appliance Service Preparation of major electrical appliances to make them safe for shipment; also for reinstallation.
Assessed Value Coverage Insurance to cover your household goods based on their assessed value. The amounts are based on $1,000 of the assessed value. Some valuation policies are calculated on a sliding scale, where the price per $1,000 of coverage will vary depending upon the total amount of coverage. 

Auxiliary Service A shuttle truck service provided when a moving truck cannot safely complete the pickup or delivery due to physical constraints such as an especially narrow road. This additional service uses a smaller vehicle to carry the items to or from the moving truck.
Bill of Lading The contract between the mover and the customer that also acts as a receipt. One of the most important documents of a move that acknowledgesthe transportation and reciept of all items.
Binding Estimate A flat price based upon a given inventory meaning no matter how long the job take. The price is contractually guaranteed; more commonly used with intrastate moves.
Blanket Wrapping Method of packing furniture to prevent damage in transit

Bonded Warehouse A warehouse that meets Customs specifications, and allows shipments to be stored pending clearance by Customs.
Booker The company that you have chosen to be in charge of your move.
Booking Agent The agent or person who sells and registers your move.
Bulky Items Items that are oversized by thier nature and may be low-weight for their size, such as boats, snowmobiles, golf carts, and campers. Moving these items will cost extra due to the additional work involved in transporting them and the excess room that they occupy.
Carrier The moving company transporting your household goods.
Cartons Boxes for packing smaller items, some are specifically designed for certain types of items e.g. Books, Clothing on hangers.
Cash on Delivery (COD) Transportation for an individual shipper for which payment is required at the time of delivery at the destination residence (or warehouse).
Change Order A form used to amend the amount indicated on the original estimate due to the addition or deletion of items to be shipped or services requested by the customer.
Chargeable Weight The weight used by an airline to determine the airfreight charge. 

Claim A statement of loss, damage, or delay to a household good shipment while in the care, custody or control of the carrier or its affiliated agent.
Consignee The person to whom the shipment is to be delivered.
Consultant A person who visits a home to discuss move requirements, provide information about their company and prepare move quotes. 

Container Steel container used for shipping your belongings overseas, can be used for sea, road or rail shipments

Container Storage Large wooden containers, your belongings are loaded into them, sealed and then the container is stacked away

Containerized Vehicle Specialist removal vehicle which is designed to carry storage container, your belongings can therefore be loaded or unloaded at your residence. 

Conventional Storage When goods are stacked on the floor or shelving in an allocated space; usually covered with sheeting.

Corporate Account An employer that is responsible for the move charges.

Cost per 100 lb. A rate given on the estimated weight of the goods to be transported.
Cost per cubic feet A rate given on the estimated space that the goods will occupy on a truck or container.
Cost per cubic meter A rate given on the estimated space that the goods will occupy on a truck or container.
Cost per hour  A rate given per hour based on the number of men and the size of truck needed to conduct the move.
Crate A wooden crate made specifically to carry a high value or delicate item (e.g., large mirror), or a wooden case made for storage, to transport items long distance, or for international moves. 

Custom Approved Warehouse A warehouse that meets Customs specifications, and allows shipments to be stored pending clearance by Customs.
Customs Clearance Formal inspection procedures carried out before allowing a shipment into a country.
Declared Valuation Your statement of the value of the possessions your moving company is shipping.
Declared Value Value you the owner declare your goods to be for the purpose of insurance. This will form the basis of your insurance cover and it is important that it reflects the value of your belongings; it could be the full replacement value or the second-hand (Indemnity) value dependant on the type of cover you are arranging. 

Declared Value A value that the owner declares for the purpose of insurance. This forms the basis of insurance coverage and should reflect the value of all belongings.
Dedicated Truck or Container A truck or container carrying one set of belongings exclusively, with specified move dates which are agreed by the mover. 

Department of Transportation (DOT) The federal agency which governs the interstate transportation industry, including movers of household goods, through the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Destination Agent The agent located at or near the destination who provides necessary services and information at the end of a move.
Dishpack A sturdy, movers-grade box ideal for packing everyday dishes, china, glassware, and stemware.
Domestic Move within same country, state, county. 
Driver The operator of a moving truck and the supervisor of all packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking crews.
Estimate A general calculation of the transportation charges, as well as costs for additional services requested by the customer. Includes an estimation of shipment weight.
Excess The amount that will be deducted from any insurance settlement, may be a per item excess or per total claim. 

Exclusions Items or cause of damage specifically excluded from an insurance policy (e.g., money, jewelry, mechanical derangement).
Expedited Service An agreement with the mover to perform transportation by a set date in exchange for charges based on a higher minimum weight.
Export Wrapping A method of packing household and personal effects for transportation overseas. Usually involves heavier and more specialist materials.
Extra Pickup or Delivery Linehaul stops beyond the standard pickup from a single address and delivery to a single address. Additional charges are assessed for each stop requiring an additional pickup or delivery.
Federal Moving Regulations U.S. government laws that regulate moving companies and transportation.
Ferry Vehicle A small vehicle used when access at residence is restricted, the ferry vehicle goes between the house and large removal truck with your possessions; shuttle service. 

Fire Insurance Insurance to specifically to cover the risk of fire, sometimes this risk is included within a policy, other instances it is specified separately.

First-Day Storage The delivery of items into storage and the first day of storage (also see Short-Term Storage and Long-Term Storage).
Fixed price quote A rate given based on all the information supplied by you to the mover, this is the price charged as long as the information supplied is accurate. 

Flight of Stairs Fee An additional cost for a flight of stairs either at the point of origin or the destination.

Foam Molding Foam molded to the shape of specific items, usually very high value and delicate items. 

Fuel Surcharge A percentage adjustment to transportation charges and storage-in-transit to aid in recovery costs due to the high cost of fuel. The surcharge, which can change monthly, is based upon the national average cost of diesel, as reported by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Full Container Load A truck or container carrying one set of belongings exclusively, with specified move dates which are agreed by the mover. 

Full Cover Detailed insurance coverage, which usually includes loss, theft, fire and breakage, . May carry excess or deductible, maximum limits on total value or certain types of items, pairs and set clause, mechanical derangement clause and specific exclusions on high value items or collections.

Full Valuation Protection The most comprehensive insurance plan available for protection of your goods.
Full-Service Mover Movers that move all household goods from one address to another in their entirety. Includes full packing and unpacking of items and all other necessary services.
Gross weight The weight of the moving truck after your goods are loaded.
Groupage Belongings that are co-shipped in a container with another shipment. This method of transport usually results in a savings, although transit times are usually longer.
Guaranteed Not to Exceed Estimate An estimate that allows you to pay a lower price if the actual weight is lower than the estimate.
Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Service An additional level of service whereby dates of service are guaranteed, with the mover providing reimbursement for delays. This premium service is often subject to minimum requirements.
Gypsy Moth Inspection Report Paperwork required to ensure moving companies have completed an inspection of transported household goods from gypsy moth infested areas. Required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Hauling Agent The agent assigned to transport the household goods.
High-Value Article Items valued at more than $100 per pound.
Home Packing When the customer performs the packing of goods.
Hourly Rates Charging costs by the hour, per person and per truck.
Household Goods Personal effects or property within the home.
In-Home Survey An in-home inventory of belongings conducted by a moving company representative to allow for a comprehensive estimate of costs and services.
Indemnity Cover The value of all items allowing for depreciation and ware, the second-hand value.

Inland Move Move within same country, state and/or county

Insurance Monetary protection against the damage or loss of items in transit or storage.

Insurance Certificate A document given as proof of insured items.
Insurance Proposal Form A document outlining all items proposed for inclusion on the insurance certificate, and used to calculate insurability. 
Interstate Move A move that crosses a state boundary, regardless of the number of miles driven.

Intrastate Move A move within a state boundary.

Inventory List A detailed list of all items to be transported in the moving truck and its pre-move condition. Used upon delivery to the home to verify recipt and condition.
Less than Container Load (LCL) A shipment that does not fill a complete shipping container.
Liftvans A crate used in the packing of items.
Linehaul The charge to move a shipment by road from the point of collection to it's final point of destination.
Local Move A move of short distance, such as within same state or county.
Long Carry An additional service for carrying articles excessive distances between the mover's vehicle and a residence
Long-Term Storage (LTS) The storage of items for a duration of more than 31 days.
Lump Sum An all-inclusive rate for services based on information supplied by the customer. 

Maid Service An additional service where movers place items into their final location, such as clothing, bedding, kitchen equipment. 

Marine Insurance Insurance specifically to cover items in transit over long distances and/or across water by vehicle, ship or aircraft.
Materials Various items with which items are packed for safe transit, e.g., cartons, crates, bubble wrap and removal blankets.
Moving Company A business that coordinates and conducts the transportation of household goods.
Moving Crew Workers from the moving company who load, transport and unload household goods.
Moving Truck The vehicle in which household goods are transported.
National Move A move of long distance, such as outside of the same state or across country.
Net Weight The gross weight of the truck and all household items, minus the weight of the truck and it's equipment.
Non-Binding Estimate An approximation of what a move will cost. The final amount could be higher or lower depending on the actual weight of the shipment and services provided.
Order Number The Bill of Lading number used to identify and track your shipment.
Order for Service A document authorizing a moving company to transport your household goods.
Origin Agent The agent located at or near the origination who provides necessary services and information at the start of a move.
Overflow A term used when there is insufficient space to fit articles on the primary van. An additional van(s) is then utilized for transportation and delivery.
Packed By Owner (PBO) When the customer performs the packing of goods.
Packers Persons in charge of wrapping and packing goods at origin, and unpacking and unwrapping the goods at destination.
Packing List An itemized listing of the goods to be shipped, along with a general description and the condition of items.
Packing Service Preparation of household goods for relocation by a moving company's professional packing crew.
Pantechnicon A British term for a moving truck.
Part Load When items account for only a portion of the space on the moving truck or in a container. The shipment is usually shared with one or more other shipments, thus reducing cost but delaying delivery. 

Peak Season Rates Higher linehaul charges that are applicable during the summer months.
Pickup and Delivery Charges Separate transportation charges applicable for transporting a shipment between the an alternate location and final destination.
Pre-Packing When packing staff and materials arrive before the actual move date to pack and prepare items for shipment. 

Private Move The person who is moving is responsible for paying the move charges 

Prohibited Items Items that are unacceptible for shipment due to legal limitations or the mover policy. Prohibited items can include: bug infestated items, chemicals, propane tanks, oversized furniture, food, wine collections, plants and more.
Protective Pads Method of packing furniture to prevent damage in transit.
Registration Number The number assigned by the van line to identify your shipment. Found in the upper right-hand corner of the Order for Service and the Bill of Lading.
Relocation Consultant The agent sales representative responsible for providing the customer with an estimate of the cost of his/her move, as well as for answering any and all questions the customer might have with regard to the moving process.
Relocation Estimate A general calculation of the transportation charges, as well as costs for additional services requested by the customer. Includes an estimation of shipment weight.
Replacement Insurance that provides replacement of the item damaged beyond economical repair or lost.
Routing The direction or route that a shipment will take to get to the eventual destination, including the mode of transportation and type of carrier service.
Shipper The person (customer) whose goods are being moved.
Short Haul Factor An additional charge applied when actual mileage is less than a defined minimum.
Short-Term Storage Storage of items beginning on day two through thirty (also see First Day Storage and Long Term Storage).
Shuttle Truck A small vehicle used when access at residence is restricted, the ferry vehicle goes between the house and large removal truck with your possessions; ferry vehicle. 

Special Load A truck or container carrying one shipment of items exclusively, with agreed to move and delivery dates.
Stair-Carry Charge An extra charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs

Standard Insurance Coverage Standard insurance required by law to provide a minimum amount of free coverage. Coverage rates are rarely enough to satisfy the cost of damage or loss.
Storage Available space for the safekeeping of household goods.
Storage Extension Cover A storage item that may need additional insurance for a period of time.
Storage Extension Insurance The extension of an original removal insurance policy to cover a period of storage, for more information see Insurance Section. 

Storage Facility A building that provides storage.
Storage-In-Transit (SIT) Temporary storage of household goods in a warehouse of the moving company, pending further transportation.
Storage Modules Large wooden containers to store belongings in, sealed and then stacked away.

Storage Vaults Large wooden containers to store belongings in, sealed and then stacked away.

Sub-Contractor A company appointed by a mover to carry out packing, loading, collection or delivery services on the movers behalf.
Survey Visit An in-home inventory of belongings conducted by a moving company representative to allow for a comprehensive estimate of costs and services.
Tare Weight The weight of the moving truck and its equipment (such as dollies and protective pads).
Tariff The mover's required, published price list of rules, regulations, rates and charges for the performance of interstate moving services
Temporary Storage Short-term storage or storage-in-transit.
Third Party Services Professional services coordinated by the mover to disassemble, reassemble, remove, replace, disconnect, reconnect, or otherwise account for the proper movement and setup of items, e.g.,  washer/dryer, waterbed, home gym, swingset, lighting fixtures, etc.
Total Loss A shipment that is totally and undeniably damaged beyond repair or lost.
Transit Protection The degree of "worth" of the shipment. Most moving companies offer two levels of liability – basic and full. Also known as valuation.
Transit Time The time indicated between collection and delivery of your belongings
Transportation Charges The cost of transporting items; includes charges by weight and mileage, insurance surcharges, fuel surcharges, origin and destination accessorial services, and short haul factor, if applicable.
Under Insured When the declared value of an item is less than the cost of replacement, insurance compensation will be restricted to the value declared as a maximum level of compensation.
Unpacking Services The removal of household goods from packing materials by a moving company's professional packing crew.
Valuation The degree of "worth" of the shipment. Most moving companies offer two levels of liability – basic and full. Also known as transit protection.
Van Foreman The van driver having overall responsibility for the loading, transport, and unloading of the customer's belongings.
Van Line A national (sometimes international) moving company through which affiliated agents are authorized to operate. The van line handles dispatching, shipment routing and monitoring, paperwork processing, and claims settlement for all interstate shipments handled by its agents.
Warehouse Handling  The act of physically receiving, placing and removing of items within a storage warehouse. An additional charge is applied each time SIT service is provided.


also see Relocation and Real Estate Definitions >

Topic Highlight... 

All About Moving Companies

Household Goods Moving TruckIt's common to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing a household goods mover, especially knowing that you will be entrusting them with all of your belongings. Learn more about the differences between moving companies, the cost drivers affecting your wallet and the processes that they follow.     More»

Move Acronyms

AMSA  American Moving & Storage Association

CWT   Cost per one hundred pounds

DOT    Department of Transportation

PBO    Packed By Owner

SIT     Storage In Transit


Real Estate Acronyms

BPO   Broker Price Opinion

CMA  Comparative Market Analysis

FDR   Formal Dining Room

MLS   Multiple Listing Service

TI      Tenant Improvement


Relocation Acronyms

CRP   Certified Relocation Professional

COLA Cost of Living Allowance

FMV   Fair Market Value

MVA   Market Value Analysis

PCS   Personal Change of Station (military)



Also see Definitions and Terms

Please update your Flash Player to view content.

Featured Story... 

Confronting Stress

Family and Spouse StressCoping with stress is arguably one of the most difficult parts of a move. Professional studies have shown that moving from one geographic location to another is in the top five most stressful events in life.*  



Trailing Spouse AssistanceTrailing Spouse Assistance

Your spouse is following you on this important move, but what's on the other end for him or her? Finding a job or going back to school might be what's needed.


Taxes: Personal vs RelocationTaxes for Personal Moves and Relocation

You can deduct moving expenses on your income taxes as long as you move as part of a job change, regardless of whether a company is paying for it.


Moving Company MysteriesMoving Companies and Van Line Practices

More than 40 million household moves take place every year, creating a growing need for legitimate moving companies. Most companies are above board, but you need to be aware.


Packing Your OwnPacking Your Own Household Goods

You can save a lot of money by buying your own boxes and packing yourself, but are you creating more expense by not being properly insured?


The 3 Phases of a Successful Move


1] Properly research the new destination before you decide to move. Understand your financial and social impact to you, and download the free assessment form. Stressed Out by Moving


2] Learn about each step of the move process to get your move started in an organized way.


3] Manage transition and stress from the very beginning. Each family member needs to be fully engaged throughout the entire move to properly assimilate into their new environment.

Avoid being excluded from certain policy benefits by first speaking with your Relocation Counselor...

More »

Exceptions to policy are commonplace in relocation, but only if you ask... More»

Not everybody gets a Relocation... More»