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Bill of lading – what is it and what it serves for?

You are getting ready to move to a new place. You’ve done your research and booked the best movers in San Antonio. It means that you will have an easy-going and stress-free relocation. To ensure that you have to sign some documents. Every relocation comes with some paperwork. Its purpose is to protect both you and your mover in case of a misunderstanding. And one of the most important documents when signing a moving company is a bill of lading. It’s an official document containing the specifics of the relocation of your belongings. Here’s what it is, what its purpose is, and what to pay attention to.

What is the bill of lading?

Every relocation comes with some paperwork. That’s perfectly normal. In fact, the main goal of carefully reading and signing all those documents is to ensure that everything is done as agreed. And one of the most important documents that you need to carefully go over is the bill of lading. But what is it? Bill of lading, sometimes referred to as B/L or BOL, is a legal document. It is issued by your movers to you. It acknowledges that they have received the items listed in it and that they will transport them to a specified address. So, once your residential movers San Antonio load your belongings, they will issue you this document. The most important thing to remember is that the information on it should match the one on the moving estimate and the order for service. 
man signing bill of lading
Bill of lading is an important document that you will sign before movers transport your belongings

What does the bill of lading include?

The bill of lading is one of the most important documents because it outlines the most important details regarding your relocation. It contains different details depending on the type of your move. It’s important to understand your moving paperwork. You should always carefully review the documents before signing them. And you need to know what to expect and what to look out for. It can make all the difference in case there is a misunderstanding.

There are 14 items that the bill of lading should contain

    1. The first information on the bill of lading should be the name and address of the moving company.
    2. If there are other motor carriers involved in the transportation of your belongings they should be listed as well.
    3. Name and contact information of the moving company office should you need to contact them.
    4. The payment method with which you will pay upon delivery.
    5. If you movers are transporting your cargo on a collet-on-delivery basis, your name, address, and contact information are required
    6. In the case of non-guaranteed service, the pick and delivery dates or periods should be specified as well. Those dates should match the ones listed in the order or service.
    7. If the service is guaranteed, the exact dates for pickup and delivery should be listed, as well as penalties that were agreed upon.
    8. The actual day of the pickup needs to be specified
    9. Once the movers load your cargo, they should enter the identification number of the vehicle your cargo will be traveling in.
    10. The conditions and terms of the payment including the minimum amount that you will have to pay.
    11. The maximum amount that you will have to pay in order to get your belongings
    12. Released rates valuation statement required by The Surface Transportation Board as well as any charges for optional valuation coverage.
    13. If you have third party insurance coverage it should also be listed
    14. All the attachments to the bill of lading. These attachments are considered an integral part of the document and they include: Either non-binding or binding moving estimate, order for service, and the inventory.

Is this document a requirement for moving companies?

Yes. Bill of lading is a legal document that is required for every relocation, just like the order for service. When you hire professional long distance movers San Antonio they are required by law to provide you with a copy of it. 
red flag
The absence of this document is a big red flag that you should avoid that moving company

The absence of the bill of lading is a big red flag

If you hire a moving company and they don’t provide you with one, it’s a big red flag. It means that you will have no proof of what was loaded onto their vehicle. So, in case something goes missing, you will have no way of proving that it was actually there. That is the big risk of hiring uncertified movers. And why you should always go with a fully registered and licensed moving company. 

Make sure you read it carefully before signing

Just like with any other paperwork, it’s imperative that you read it carefully before signing. One of the biggest moving mistakes that you can make is not to review the entire document. If, for example, an expensive necklace has been omitted from it by mistake. If it goes missing you will have no way of recuperating the losses. 
man signing a bill of lading
Carefully review the bill of lading before signing it and keep your copy safe

Things to note about the bill of lading

Bill of lading is one of the most important documents that you will sign before your relocation. So, it’s important to check if everything is in order. The information on it should match the one stated in order for service and moving estimate. Especially the one regarding payment and delivery. Attached to your bill of lading should be a moving estimate, order for service, and inventory list. Make sure you carefully review all those documents. It’s also very important to keep your copy of it in a safe place. Relocation can be messy and disorganized. But losing this paper can mean the difference between getting an insurance premium or not in case something goes wrong. So, while traveling to your new home, keep it with you at all times. And once at home, make sure you find a safe place for it.


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