Move With Peace of Mind Knowing These Moving Rules and Regulations

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated January 10, 2022
A woman moving to a new house with her dog
Photo: valentinrussanov / E+ / Getty Images


  • Hiring movers costs an average of $1,500 in state and $5,600 out of state.

  • FMCSA rules protect you and your movers.

  • Movers cannot transport people, pets, firearms, and plants.

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Moving is universally considered to be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. And while there are a lot of pieces and parts to consider, perhaps the most important are the rules and regulations surrounding moving—the last thing you need is to add to your stress is breaking a law you didn’t know about. Here are all the rules and regulations you need to know about to make your move a success.

Your Responsibilities When You Move

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), when moving, you are responsible for selecting a reputable household goods mover or broker, and reading all the materials your mover provides you with to ensure that you know how to deal with any problems that arise. You should also know the difference between a moving broker and a household goods mover.

Moving Broker vs. Household Goods Mover

The main difference between a moving broker and a household goods mover is that a moving broker is the company that arranges your move, but they don’t physically transport your stuff. A household goods mover transports your items from your old home to your new one. 

Licensing and Insurance

Whether you are dealing with a broker or mover, you should confirm that they are registered with the FMCSA and that they are insured. This ensures that there’s a governing body you can go to in case there is a problem with the company, and the insurance means that if something goes wrong with your shipment, the company is equipped to cover any losses.

Moving Company Requirements

Before hiring movers, you should learn about moving rules and regulations.

When you hire a moving company, they are required to provide you with certain documents and information so you know what to expect and how to go about dealing with problems. By the time you’ve hired local movers, you should have received or be shortly receiving:

  • A written estimate of all costs and anticipated costs of your move

  • The FMCSA “Ready to Move” brochure or web link and the “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet or web link

  • Information on the mover’s arbitration process and policy

  • A mover’s tariff, which is a document that outlines their rates, cancellation fees, other service fees, and anything else you might need to know about moving day

  • The company’s policy on handling damage or insurance claims

If your moving company fails or refuses to provide any of this documentation, you should find another service.

What Moving Companies Can’t Move

A woman moving in into new apartment
Photo: Emilija Manevska / Moment / Getty Images

There is a list of specific items that moving companies are absolutely not allowed to move for you. This includes firearms, fireworks, plants, toxins, explosives, contraband, pets, people and, livestock. If you have any of these items and are planning to take them with you to your new home, you should move them yourself or make other arrangements.

In addition, don’t pack these household items when you move: 

  • Poisonous, flammable, hazardous, corrosive, or explosive items

  • Perishables

  • Personal and irreplaceable items

  • Broken or unused items

Cost to Hire a Moving Company

The cost to hire movers varies by geographic location, home size, and whether or not you’re doing a long-distance move. The average cost to hire movers for a short-haul move is around $1,400. Longer haul moves, like if you’re moving out of state, cost an average of $5,600, but can cost as much as $10,000.

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