An Inventory Report is a list of the household items and their condition.
It is crucial to have a detailed inventory of your household goods when your moving company will take possession of your shipment overnight or longer.
Movers are required by law to provide inventory of your items at no additional cost when they take your shipment to storage or transporting it long distance. If you want your movers to inventory your shipment moving locally, your mover may agree to provide that service, however local moves are charged hourly, and therefore inventorying your items will add time to the regular moving activities and will in effect cost you extra.
Please do not confuse regular inventorying of the shipment with providing special inventory of "Articles of Extraordinary Value". Articles of Extraordinary Value must be inventoried by the shipper (customer), and provide values next to each item listed in that report. Articles of extraordinary value are any household items with a value over $100.00 per pound.
Most movers use inventory reports that are recommended by California PUC, or US Department of Transportation. An inventory form will have the following information:
Inventory Forms, once filled out, become an integral part of the moving contract (bill of lading), your mover must attach it to the contract and have it with the shipment at all times.
Before signing forms, both at pickup and delivery, make sure that inventory lists all items in your shipment. Also it is very important to read the condition-descriptions section of your goods indicated on inventory forms. If you disagree with them, make your own remarks (you may even take some pictures of the items in question), otherwise you may have difficulty receiving compensation should the damage occur.
Before the movers leave, personally open and unwrap all fragile and valuable articles and boxes as they are delivered to you. If you discover any damages or missing items let your mover know and mark both mover's and your own copy of the inventory form. Have the mover sign and initial the damaged or missing articles (taking pictures is always helpful). If you have a large shipment, you should ask your family and/or friends help you with unwrapping and opening boxes while movers are still at your residence. You have up to 6 months to file a claim, however having notations on the forms signed on the delivery date will be extremely helpful.
Make sure to keep original forms from the pickup and the delivery. Keep in mind, that marking losses or damages on the inventory forms is not an official claim for the loss/damage, however having both copies of inventories (pickup & delivery), which are signed by both you and your mover will help you expedite the claim process and may help you with getting a fair settlement.
Having your inventory forms marked and signed will simplify processing of your possible claim. However, failure to do so in no way effects your right to make a claim and to have your claim processed on its merits.
Symbols used in the inventory forms
Example (Notations at pickup):
Item #1 - 3 Cushion Couch - W, F-10, SW. (Means: (W)Badly Warn, (F)(10)Faded-Top, (SW)Stretch Wrapped)
Item #2 - Large Box - PBO, CU. (Means: (PBO)Packed by Owner, (CU)Contents Unknown)
Item #3 - Medium Box - Stereo Player, CP, SCR, MCU. (Means: (CP)Carrier Packed, (SCR)Scratched, (MCU)Mechanical Condition Unknown)
Item #4 - Dining Table - SW (Means: Good Condition, (SW)Stretch Wrapped)
If there are no notations next ot the article in the inventory - this means that the article is in good condition.