PBO, PAD, AMSA, and More: Deciphering the Alphabet Soup of Moving Terms

Moving is complicated enough without getting caught up by industry jargon. When you know the right terms and can understand your movers, it will be much less confusing. Plus, you will have a better chance of hiring the right movers for the job when you know what they’re talking about. We’re not going to bore you with the common terms that you probably already know, but there are some you might be less familiar with. Check out the extensive glossary of moving lingo below and enjoy a little more peace of mind and confidence in your next move. 

Billing-Related Terms 

Accessorial charges: This term is used to refer to services beyond the actual moving of your items, such as crating, appliance installation or removal, packing and unpacking, and more. Essentially, if it isn’t included in the hourly rate or flat fee, it will be listed under this heading on your invoice. 

Actual charges: This will give you an adjusted total of what you owe for your move, including the cost of the move, any accessorial charges, and other costs that you may have incurred. 

Adjuster: An adjuster will be involved in insurance claims related to loss or damage to consumer goods during the moving process. They are the representative assigned to investigate and settle the claim for the property owner, including determining the value of the loss and how much reimbursement is required of the moving company. 

Bill of Lading: This is a document that explains all of your moving services, and is essentially a legally-binding receipt showing the agreement that you make with the moving company. 

Bulky item charges: Pianos, pool tables, and other large or difficult-to-move furniture and items will incur a separate charge from a moving company. 

COD: Shorthand for Cash on Delivery, a lot of people might already know this term. It refers to when a cash payment is going to be made upon delivery of the household items at the destination, or upon arrival of the moving company. 

Elevator charge: Some companies charge an additional fee for having to use elevators to move items. 

Flight charge: Movers may also charge additional fees for carrying items up and down multiple flights of stairs. This is most common when an elevator is not available in a larger commercial building and is rarely charged in the case of a two-story home or the like. 

Full-Value insurance: This is a policy that is sold by moving companies that will cover all potential values of your items, including: current market value, full replacement cost, and repair costs. This way, you are never left uncompensated or under-compensated for your losses during a move. 

Hazard Insurance: Insurance specifically for protection from natural disasters, fire, and other uncontrollable events. 

Line-haul charges: Long-distance moves are often calculated by shipment weight and mileage, rather than hourly or flat-rate fees being charged. This is known as a line-haul charge. 

Long carry charges: If the moving company has to carry something “an excessive distance”, they may charge this fee. The problem with fees like this is that they are up to the discretion of the moving company and could be a little ridiculous at times. For example, if your movers have to park down the street and across from your new home, they may charge more than if they could pull in a driveway or right in front of the property. 

Moving cost: This is just the cost of moving items from one place to another. Additional services or insurance rates are not included in this line item charge. 

Peak season rates: Moves that take place between May and September cost significantly more because this is the busiest season for moving companies. If you have to move during these months, you may pay peak season rates for your move. 

Quote: An estimate that provides you with a cost list of the moving services that you need. This should include an in-home estimate for accurate price quoting. 

Released value insurance: This basic policy covers your personal items at a rate of about 60 cents per pound, per item. Whether it’s a fine art piece or a toaster, both will be paid at the same rate. 

Valuation: On the Bill of Lading, a customer will be required to declare the value of all of their personal belongings. The moving company will then use this information to calculate liabilities related to loss or damage of items. 

General Moving Terms

AMSA: American Moving and Storage Association, a dedicated organization of moving companies and services that advocate for the industry and promote the use of ProMovers. 

Cube sheet: A list of items being moved and how much space they require. This allows the movers to then covert the cubic feet requirements into weight, which determines a moving estimate when it is based on weight rather than hourly charges. 

Diversion: If a destination change is made after a moving truck leaves its origin point or there is an additional stop added, a diversion may be added to the moving estimate that could incur an additional fee. 

Binding estimate: This is a guaranteed agreement of the moving costs that are made between the moving company and the customer, including all services and charges. 

Non-binding estimate: An approximate quote of the cost of moving services with no guarantees. 

High-value articles: Items that are valued at a cost higher than $100 per pound. 

Impracticable operations: Moving situations that require additional labor, special equipment, or other extenuating circumstances outside of normal pickup and delivery. 

PBO: Packed by the owner, a term that is used to designate how items are packed for a move for billing and insurance purposes. 

PAD: Preferred arrival date, or the date that you request for delivery to your new residence. 

ProMover: Any moving company that is certified by the AMSA. 

SIT: Storage-in-transit, or a request for temporary storage at a warehouse if items are not ready to be immediately delivered to their destination.

Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move: This is a government-issued document that explains the steps of the moving process, including estimates, insurance and claims, and other moving paperwork. 

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Moving Tip

  • Get rid of the junk! Get rid of anything you don’t need or want, it will make packing that much easier and save you money.The more stuff you have will increase the time and or weight of the move and will cost you more money!
  • Do not move jewelry, money, coin collections, etc. Keep these items in your possession.
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