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Moving 101 - A Consumer's Guide

Important Information

If you pay someone to perform a move within Virginia, the move is probably regulated by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), whether the move is across town or across the Commonwealth. Movers operating within Virginia must have either a permit or certificate issued by DMV.

Permitted and certificated movers must file confirmation of liability and cargo insurance coverage with DMV. Certificated movers must also file a surety bond and a tariff with DMV. A tariff is a document which identifies all rates and charges that will apply to your move. A tariff will address issues such as certain limitations of liability, insurance options, accepted payment methods, service options and storage charges. Any charge that a mover may require of their customer must be listed in the tariff.

The tariffs for household goods establish maximum rates that a mover can charge; however, you and the mover are allowed to negotiate moving rates that are lower than the established maximum rates and discounts are common. All tariff changes require prior DMV approval.

Finding a Mover

Minimize the risk of moving-day delays, damages, inflated charges, or loss of your possessions by hiring a legal (i.e., permitted and certificated) mover. To access a list of legal movers in Virginia, visit DMV's list of licensed transportation services. To check a mover’s current status, call (804) 249-5130.

Movers who do not have a permit or certificate from DMV might not realize that intrastate household goods moving is a regulated activity. Contact DMV at (804) 249-5130 if you encounter someone offering intrastate household goods moving services who is not on DMV's list.

Be aware of actions that may be typical of a mover who lacks the required permit or certificate, such as:

  • Refusing to offer an in-home inspection prior to providing an estimate,
  • Providing estimates only over the internet or by telephone,
  • Requiring payment by cash or requiring a large deposit before the move,
  • Not providing their address on their website,
  • Claiming that all household goods are "fully" insured,
  • Answering the telephone without identifying the moving company name or as "movers" or "moving company,"
  • Arriving on moving day with a rental truck.

Additional Information

For other helpful information that will assist you in your move, refer to: