Perhaps the only thing more exhausting than moving to another neighborhood is moving to a whole other state. If you've never managed an interstate move before, you should know about some additional complications that can accompany this endeavor. Here are three potential issues you want to nip in the bud if at all possible.

1. Shakedowns by Scam Artists

For anyone planning a major cross-country move, the number one nightmare is never receiving your beloved possessions at your destination. Imagine the frustration of an airline losing your luggage, only on a house-wide scale -- everything you own has vanished into limbo. To make matters worse, the moving company is now holding your stuff more or less for ransom, demanding substantial extra payments if you ever hope to see those items again. 

Scam artists can and do practice this ploy, which is especially prevalent during interstate moves. That's partly because the federal regulatory agency that formerly protected consumers in these situations, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), was replaced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), encouraging scammers to try their luck with the newer agency. Since you're largely looking out for yourself, it's critical that you:

  • Do your homework on the residential moving van lines in your area by checking with the Better Business Bureau and getting referrals from trusted associates.
  • Ask to see proof of the mover's FMCSA license -- a legal requirement for any legitimate interstate household moving company.
  • Insist on an in-person estimate instead of a vague quote over the Internet or phone. This not only helps prevent extra charges from getting tacked onto your bill, but it also lets you get a feel for the integrity and professionalism of the company's employees.

2. Insufficient Insurance

If your household moving company informs you that it offers basic insurance protection against damage to your belongings, your first response may be, "Great!" -- when in fact it should be, "How much?" Such basic policies may only reimburse you to the tune of 60 cents per pound for each item, meaning that any moderately expensive piece will only be covered for a fraction of its actual value. This issue becomes even more urgent during an interstate move, since the longer your belongings are on the road, the higher the risk of damage at some point along the way.

The answer to this challenge is to purchase Extra Care Protection coverage. ECP coverage is a type of insurance available exclusively for interstate moves. It allows you to insure your possessions for anywhere from $5 per pound all the way up to their full replacement value. 

3. Getting What You Paid For (When You Didn't Pay Enough)

"You get what you pay for" is an old saying, and it definitely applies to moving companies. If you've scrupulously asked around for the best moving companies with the most sterling reputations, don't be upset or disappointed if their estimates come with a higher price tag than the stereotypical bunch of guys with a truck. A top-quality moving can justify the extra price by:

  • Explaining every line item on the quote in detail, and allowing you to select from various options to help control the actual price
  • Packing your items for you with professional skill and expertise, vastly improving the odds of their arriving at their destination undamaged
  • Guaranteeing their work, delivery times, and proper interstate moving certifications

Keep in mind, too, that interstate moves are always priced higher than local moves -- at least if they're being performed correctly. This is because you're being billed by total shipping weight and mileage, not by the hour. You don't have to pick the most expensive company, but be very, very careful about selecting the cheapest one.

Interstate moves involve not just greater distances but also higher stakes than local moves. Do your right by looking out for scammers, purchasing the insurance coverage you need, and being willing to pay a little more for a qualified professional. You'll have that much more to celebrate at your housewarming party!