Moving companies can refuse to transport certain items, so it’s helpful to know what these items are before you contact the company or start to pack. Some items will be restricted based on federal law, for example. There are different reasons involved in each case, and the list below is not comprehensive. Always ask your moving company for their specific list of restricted items.
Generally speaking, moving companies won’t transport the following items:
1. Plants and Pets
Some plants can only be transported with a special permit, so you should ask the moving company about their policy. Many ordinary houseplants can’t be transported specific distances because of the danger of pests hitchhiking a ride to the destination area. Pet owners should assume responsibility for transporting their house pets, but some people are surprised that moving companies will refuse to relocate animals.
2. High-Value Items and Heirlooms
If you have certain types of expensive property, it probably doesn’t belong in a moving truck. This includes cash reserves, jewelry, stocks and other high-value items that should remain with you. Heirlooms are also best left off the moving truck because the insurance can only cover the current market value of any item. Sentimental value is literally irreplaceable, so you should handle these items with the care of your own hands.
3. Powerful Equipment
Motorcycles, weeding equipment, lawn mowers and other fuel-powered equipment must be drained at least 24 hours in advance of loading. If you fail to do this, the moving company will most likely refuse to move the equipment.
4. Corrosives, Flammables and Hazardous Materials
Corrosive items can include batteries with acid, so make sure your batteries contain gel material that doesn’t spill. Flammables can include kerosene fuel, lighter fluid, paint remover, charcoal and similar materials. There are many common household items that can be considered hazardous, so be careful before you pack these items. For example, moving companies can refuse to transport aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, paint thinner, batteries, gasoline, and other items on their list. Ask the moving company for a complete list of items they won’t ship, and save time in the process.
5. Perishable Foods
It should come as no surprise that moving companies have no obligation to accommodate anyone who needs to move perishable food items. The best solution is to convert them into snacks for your helpers to enjoy during the packing process.
6. Diving and Scuba Equipment
Many moving companies will refuse to touch these items on account of the pressurized oxygen inside of the scuba tanks. There are also other special mixtures of gas inside these tanks, and this can create a risk of explosion during any collision. Moving companies simply don’t want that liability.
Some moving companies will refuse to move pianos, so you might need to contact a professional piano moving service for this item. Moving a piano can require special equipment and experience, so not every moving company will agree to do it. It is also better to work with an experienced piano moving company to protect this valuable treasure.
Each professional moving company might have a slightly different policy towards these items, and it’s usually based on liability. For example, some moving companies might agree to relocate a certain type of houseplant if it’s a local move and not interstate. However, professional moving companies will absolutely refuse to transport items like propane tanks or loaded guns no matter what the circumstances. In the case of pets and pianos, ask your mover if they can recommend a third-party services provider. Use common sense and keep the lines of communication open with your moving company to get the best results.
Brian Myers owns Low Budget Movers in Phoenix, a proud AMSA member.