Pre-Move & Shipping Appraisals

Art and antiques are most vulnerable when in transit, whether that is moving a piece across town or around the globe.

It is very important for consumers to understand the limited level of protection for damage or loss that can apply to moves unless a proper insurance policy is taken. A pre-moving appraisal can be helpful in two ways: firstly, it can substantiate the existence and replacement value of your expensive possessions; and secondly, it provides the information needed to purchase additional insurance for your move.

Moving companies will offer you a Valuation Program instead of a traditional insurance policy. Valuation is not insurance but instead a tariff level of motor carrier liability. If you want insurance you must provide that for yourself by contacting an insurance company.

Most moving companies have two types of Valuation Programs:

Released Rate Liability - This is the basic coverage provided to you during a move. Under this program the maximum liability for damage or loss to any article in the shipment is 60 cents multiplied by the weight of the article. This is usually the standard protection that a moving company must provide at no additional charge. In this instance, depreciation does apply but there is no deductible and no added cost to the customer.

Full Value Coverage - Under this plan the moving company can either repair the item to the extent necessary to restore it to the same condition as it was when it was received by the moving company or replace it with an item of like kind and quality or pay for the cost of such a replacement. An additional charge is required for this option and it is usually up to the moving company to determine a settlement if something is damaged or lost. A deductible may apply with this type of coverage.

In either situation, the best protection is to have all valuable items documented and appraised by a Certified Appraiser BEFORE shipment. This way, the relative damage or lost value is substantiated. This will be of great importance should damage in shipment occur, allowing you to recoup your loss or at minimum seek compensation for necessary (and often costly) repairs.

Here is a simple checklist to mark off before shipping your valuables:

  • Prior to moving, have your high-value items appraised by Kurt Shaw & Co., Inc.. We will photograph your item(s) and document condition.

  • Let your moving representative know you will be moving a high value item or collection, as special arrangements may be necessary to ensure your item(s) will reach their destination safely.

  • Complete the moving company’s High-Value Inventory Form to assure that your item(s) are not subject to minimal liability coverage. The form will be provided by your sales representative during the pre-move survey. Your mover will explain the protection plans from which you may choose. Replacement protection offered by most major moving companies affords you the best possible coverage against loss or damage in transit. We recommend that you provide copies of the appraisal to your sales representatives.


Should damage occur, and you are not adequately compensated, Kurt Shaw & Co., Inc. will aid as an "expert witness" to previous conditions.

© 2021 Kurt Shaw & Co., Inc.