Must My Mover Write Up an Inventory of the Shipment?

It isn’t a legal requirement for movers to write up an inventory of your shipment. Because most moving companies price your moving costs based on weight, the only real requirement is that they take an accurate weight of the belongings once they are loaded into the van. If you are in any way uncomfortable with the idea of an inventory being made, you can let your movers know and skip this step in the moving process.

However, for most people, the inventory step is recommended. This detailed and descriptive list not only ensures that everything ends up where it belongs, but it also includes the condition of each item so you (and the moving team) can determine whether or not an item has been damaged in transit. This is especially important if you have opted for additional insurance protection, since we often need a complete inventory in order to provide the correct insurance coverage. 

Packed by Owner 

When you pack up your boxes on your own, your mover isn’t going to open every box and take an inventory of what’s inside. In most cases, these types of boxes will be marked as PBO (packed by owner) on the inventory list and loaded as-is. 

This is ideal when you want an inventory of the shipment but would also like to maintain the privacy of your belongings. You can write the contents on the box itself for your own records, or keep a master inventory list of your own. 

Carrier Packed 

When you hire the moving company to pack up the boxes for you, they become carrier packed, and a formal inventory will be made. We probably won’t jot down the condition of every spoon or book, but the general contents may be noted for future reference. 

Most inventories are more concerned with larger items like furniture, electronics, and other valuable items. Because these are more difficult to move and come under closer inspection in terms of scratches or damages, the focus is on making sure all of these types of items are identified and accounted for. 

Your Role as the Homeowner 

Take the time to go over the inventory list before your mover leaves or as the house is being packed up. The more you’re on hand to answer questions and inspect your furniture before it leaves the house, the better the chance things will go smoothly. 

Inventories not only protect the movers, but they also protect you. By working together to ensure that everything is safely loaded and on its way, we can all enjoy an effortless move that has you home in no time.


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