Whether you need to move a family heirloom dresser or a collection of heritage china, relocating with antiques poses a lot of challenges. Though you can work to transport these items on your own, hiring a professional antique and fine art moving company frees you up to focus on other important parts of the moving experience and life in your new home.
One of the most important factors to consider when hiring an antiques or fine art mover is the company’s available moving insurance or liability coverage. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) requires all licensed carriers to hold at least limited liability, which covers items at $0.60 per pound per item. But we recommend companies that offer additional coverage options.
There are plenty of moving companies that claim to provide reputable services for packing and moving precious antique furniture and fine art, but which ones are legit? The This Old House Reviews Team has conducted research on the top moving companies in the United States to help you determine the best moving companies for antiques based on their costs, services, and expertise.
7 Best Antique Moving Companies
Based on our in-depth analysis, we find the following providers to be the best antique moving companies:
- International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover
- Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
- North American Van Lines: Best for Claims
- JK Moving: Most Customizable Full-Service Mover
- American Van Lines: Most Experienced Moving Labor
- PODS: Most Convenient
- 1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Overall Self-Service Mover
International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover
International Van Lines (IVL) is our top choice for a professional antiques mover, offering affordable rates for a wide selection of full-service options and specialty services for antiques, recreational equipment, and artwork.
International Van Lines operates in all 50 states and 180 countries. Keep in mind that IVL is licensed as both a moving carrier and broker. If your move falls outside of areas IVL holds a carrier license, it may act as a broker and outsource your move to a partnered company.
Pros & Cons
✔ Provides multiple coverage plans
✔ Offers an adjustable contents protection plan
✔ Offers specialty services for moving antiques, pianos, recreational equipment, and artwork
✘ Online pricing is limited
✘ Requires an up-front deposit of 25%
IVL is a full-service mover, which means it can handle almost every part of your move for you. You mix and match service options to create a custom moving package based on your needs and budget.
Among IVL’s specialty services for antiques is crating. Crates are sturdy wooden containers used to keep special belongings safe during transport until they reach your new home. Crating charges are based on the item. For example, crating a grand piano can cost $2,500, whereas crating a painting might cost $150. Discuss the items you would like to have crated with IVL in advance.
IVL’s limited liability plan is included with your moving package at no extra cost, while its full-value protection plan covers the actual value of your belongings based on a coverage cap.
We obtained a quote from International Van Lines to move a three-bedroom home from Dallas to Phoenix within three months for a total of $4,200–$6,150. The lower end of this range includes only loading services and transportation, while adding specialty services for antiques would bring the price closer to $6,150.
To see how International Van Lines can safely transport your antiques, fill out this easy-to-use form.
Learn more: International Van Lines Review
Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
If you want to ship a classic, antique, or exotic car, we recommend Allied Van Lines. Allied Van Lines is a full-service mover that offers the rare perk of conducting its vehicle relocation services using its own trucks. Many moving companies tend to outsource this task to other companies, but Allied uses its own employees and provides GPS tracking on your shipment.
As a licensed broker-carrier, Allied Van Lines provides services in all 50 states and 130 countries.
Pros & Cons
✔ Partners with the Salvation Army to help donate unwanted items
✔ Offers in-house vehicle shipping services
✔ Offers short-term and long-term storage services
✘ Storage options vary according to location
✘ Customer reviews mention a difficult contents protection claims process
Allied Van Lines offers a large selection of full-service moving options. The company offers some services ideal for antiques, including its fragile-only packing service. With this service, you pack most of your belongings while Allied packs your difficult and delicate items. The company also features a portable storage container service similar to 1-800-PACK-RAT called Allied Express.
Allied provides moving liability coverage through two plans: the Basic Liability Protection Plan and The Extra Care Protection plan, which covers the actual value of your items rather than protecting them based on weight.
But where Allied stands out is its vehicle transportation services. The company has both open and enclosed carriers available for vehicles, using the latter to carry vintage, luxury, and exotic cars. Though this service can be up to 80% more expensive than open carriers, it is an excellent way to protect specialty vehicles from debris and harsh weather conditions.
Allied also offers up to $100,000 valuation at zero deductible per vehicle, and the valuation will be included on your auto shipping quote.
Allied Van Lines provides binding estimates, which means your moving price won’t drastically change despite unexpected events. We received a quote from Allied to move a three-bedroom home from Dallas to Phoenix with an average number of belongings for $7,000–$7,736. To get a binding estimate with Allied, you must conduct an in-home or virtual survey.
To schedule a virtual survey with Allied Van Lines, provide some brief information here.
Learn More: Allied Van Lines Review
North American Van Lines: Best for Claims
We recently conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers who had moved within the last five years. We found that among those that employed full-service movers, 65% opted to purchase additional liability coverage (above the legally required amount). Of those, more than half had to file a claim for lost or damaged items.
If you find yourself in this unenviable position, North American Van Lines (NAVL) offers added financial peace of mind for your antiques through its detailed and transparent contents protection claims process.
NAVL helps with local and long-distance moves in all 50 states as well as 130 countries.
Pros & Cons
✔ Offers a detailed and accessible claims process
✔ Offers custom packing solutions for difficult and fragile items
✔ Provides a personal moving agent from a network of more than 500 agent locations
✘ Storage options may be limited based on location
✘ Some customer reviews mention having difficulties with their assigned moving agent
NAVL is a full-service moving company. It provides services such as packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking. The company also offers a wide selection of packing supplies, and its fragile-only packing option can help you create custom packing solutions for items such as antiques.
NAVL offers custom full-value release plans. These plans provide you with coverage and compensation for the actual value of certain items rather than a predetermined amount. In the rare occurrence that something goes wrong during your move, you will be reimbursed through repair, replacement, or a cash settlement for the actual value of your antiques.
NAVL also makes its claims process easier than some competitors by providing links to its claims forms across its website. We found NAVL’s claims forms were detailed and clear, so you are able to provide ample information to receive proper compensation. The company also features two separate customer support lines for domestic and international claims.
North American Van Lines estimates it would cost $6,971–$7,703 to move a three-bedroom home with an average amount of belongings from Dallas to Phoenix. NAVL also offers binding estimates through in-home visits and virtual surveys. A binding estimate provides more accurate pricing that does not drastically change despite unexpected events or hold-ups during the move.
To see how North American Van Lines helps with antiques, complete this brief form.
Learn More: North American Van Lines Review
JK Moving: Most Customizable Full-Service Mover
JK Moving Services focuses on providing customizable, full-service moving packages based on your budget and needs. The company provides a personal moving coordinator who helps create a moving package for each customer based on their information.
JK Moving also offers a financing option through Enhancify. Through this service, customers can connect with a variety of loan providers who offer different interest rates and repayment terms to choose from. Some customers may receive interest rates as low as 0%.* Between its customization and financing, you can professionally ship your antiques without having to pay out large sums of cash.
*Subject to credit approval
JK Moving helps with interstate moves in all 50 states. The mover services local moves only in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Pros & Cons
✔ Offers financing through Enhancify
✔ Offers a useful mobile app for virtual surveys and GPS tracking
✔ Provides personal moving coordinators and 24/7 customer support
✘ Doesn’t provide online pricing
✘ Local moves are only available in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia
JK Moving offers a wide selection of full-service moving options. A personal moving coordinator collects information about your moving needs and your budget during the quote process. Based on this information, they help create a custom moving package, including services like custom crating and specialty services for antiques.
JK Moving provides two valuation coverage plans: Carrier Standard Liability and Replacement Value. The company provides the minimum legal requirement for coverage through its Carrier Standard Liability. Its Replacement Value plan covers the value of items based on a custom deductible. This starts at a minimum of $6 per pound for a deductible of $15,000.
JK Moving primarily deals with binding estimates to help you avoid any hidden costs during your move. JK Moving did supply us with a ballpark quote for a two-bedroom home (or 10,400 pounds) moving from Atlanta to Chicago for $7,521. Services in this quote include furniture disassembly, wrapping and padding, loading, unloading, and a full-value protection plan. It does not include any specialty services for antiques.
To get in touch with a personal JK moving coordinator, fill out this easy-to-use form.
Learn more: JK Moving Review
American Van Lines: Most Experienced Moving Labor
Not only does American Van Lines (AVL) specialize in moving antiques, pianos, and fine art, it has some of the most experienced movers in the industry. This carrier-only company hires only full-time movers, who have an average of 10 years of moving experience and are trained annually in the company’s own facility.
AVL provides its services in 48 states. It is not available in Alaska and Hawaii.
Pros & Cons
✔ Features a price-matching policy
✔ Offers highly experienced movers
✔ Made it unto Newsweek’s Best Customer Service Awards for 2021
✘ Doesn’t provide online moving quotes
✘ Requires a 10%–50% up-front deposit
AVL provides many industry-standard full-service options, but it operates entirely in-house, meaning that when you hire AVL, you get only AVL movers. This includes services such as packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, and specialty services for pianos, recreational equipment, and antiques.
AVL employs certified antiques and piano movers, who are versed in the proper dismantling techniques of all pianos types including grand, vertical, electrical, and digital pianos. The company even boasts that its antique moving division has moved collections of items from museums.
The company provides two valuation coverage options, including the minimum Released Value Protection. AVL’s Full-Value Protection plan covers the actual value of items. You may also opt to have this plan cover items only of “extraordinary value,” which AVL designates as $100 or more. This plan allows you to have an antique repaired or replaced, or you can receive a cash settlement based on the market value of your antique if it is damaged or lost.
American Van Lines provides binding estimates through in-home or virtual surveys. Because of this, the company does not provide any online pricing information aside from what is available on its moving cost page. AVL estimates that moving a three-bedroom home (or 10,000 pounds) from Dallas to Phoenix would cost $6,970. This is based on the average cost of other AVL moves with this criteria.
To get a free quote from American Van Lines, get in touch with the company by filling out this online survey.
Learn More: American Van Lines Review
PODS: Most Convenient
PODS is a portable storage container company similar to 1-800-PACK-RAT. It offers a mixture of self-service and partial-service options via third-party providers. PODS also offers moving convenience through its 230 storage centers across the country and higher state availability than 1-800-PACK-RAT. Additionally, its extra rental time rates tend to be cheaper than competitors.
PODS features brick-and-mortar locations in 44 states. The company states that it can possibly help with moves outside of its service areas. We encourage you to chat with a PODS customer service representative to see if PODS can service your move.
PODS does not feature a physical location in Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Pros & Cons
✔ Offers third-party moving labor for assistance with antiques
✔ Portable containers are easily accessible, weatherproof, and sturdy
✔ Offers discounts and deals on a continuous basis
✘ Availability may be highly limited on a short notice
✘ Customer reviews vary by location
PODS provides three moving container sizes: 7 feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet (its 12-footer containers are only available for local moves). PODS follows the same service model as 1-800-PACK-RAT. The company also offers assistance with services such as packing and loading through partnerships with HireAHelper, Pack & Load, and Moving Staffers. This option may be beneficial for those moving antiques.
For its contents protection plans, PODS offers a Container Only protection plan for $10 and a Content Protection Option. The latter has you pick a coverage level that matches the value of your shipment.
PODS functions on a pay-as-you-go model. This means you pay for certain portions of your move a week before they happen.
Our quote with PODS for two 16-foot containers from Dallas to Phoenix was broken down into $876 for the initial delivery, 30 days of rent, and $10,000 in contents protection. It then charged $3,901 for six days of transportation. It finally charged $278 for the redelivery and final pickup of the containers. This came to a total of $5,055 without taxes.
To get a free quote from PODS, complete this easy-to-use survey.
Learn More: PODS Review
1-800-PACK-RAT: Best Overall Self-Service Mover
1-800-PACK-RAT is a great option if you want to handle packing and loading your antiques while pros handle the transportation. If you require some professional help, this self-service mover features a partnership with HireAHelper to supply third-party assistance with services such as packing and loading. This allows you to get help with your antiques while still getting a cheaper rate on a local or long-distance move.
The company has branches in 30 states and Washington, D.C., and it can easily assist with moves within 50 to 100 miles of these locations. The company states on its website that it may still be able to help with moves outside of these service areas. Ask a 1-800-PACK-RAT representative to see if the company can help with your move.
Pros & Cons
✔ Includes $10,000 of protection on long-distance moves
✔ Supplies assistance with packing and loading services via HireAHelper
✔ Offers three sizes of its weatherproof and easily accessible containers
✘ Features physical locations in only 30 states and Washington, D.C.
✘ Scheduling must be completed via phone
1-800-PACK-RAT offers three sizes of its sturdy, all-steel moving containers: 8 feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet (its 12-footers are only available for local moves).
1-800-PACK-RAT delivers your choice of portable storage containers to your residence. You then load the container at your own pace within a 30-day rental period. More rental time can be purchased for a flat rate if needed. Once your belongings are loaded, you notify 1-800-PACK-RAT when to pick up and deliver your belongings to your new home.
The company also offers two contents protection plans with its containers. The Basic Plan costs $10 and protects you from liability for damage to a PACK-RAT container. However, we recommend the Silver Plan, which provides up to $75,000 of protection for your household goods and personal belongings while 1-800-PACK-RAT’s containers are on your property.
1-800-PACK-RAT gave us a quote to transport two 16-foot containers from Dallas to Phoenix for a total of $4,759. This includes all transportation, a no-cut security lock, and $10,000 in contents protection for each container. To see how 1-800-PACK-RAT helps transport antiques, fill out this brief form.
Learn More: 1-800-PACK-RAT Review
How to Pick a Good Antique Moving Company
A major part of properly transporting antiques is picking the right moving company for the job. Unfortunately, there are some scammers in the moving industry, but we are here to help. Here are some of the major factors to look out for and steps to take when picking a good moving company.
1. Look Up a Company’s USDOT Number
“The moving industry is heavily scrutinized and regulated. Generally, unlicensed companies are the ones who develop bad reputations for the industry,” Mike Scott, a partner of Capital Moving in Raleigh, N.C., told us. He continued on to advise customers to check to make sure that moving companies are properly licensed, bonded, and insured for the type of move you are asking them to help with.
An easy way to check this information is to ask the company for its USDOT number. Once you have a company’s USDOT number, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website to look up the company’s licenses. All companies on this list are properly licensed, bonded, and insured.
2. Ask for a Binding Estimate
If a company does not offer binding estimates through either in-home or virtual surveys, this may be a red flag. A binding estimate is a price that will not change over the course of your move, given that your inventory remains the same.
A reputable company should have enough years of experience to be able to review your itemized list of belongings, as well as any barriers in your home (such as stairs or parking availability), estimate the time and cost of your move, and stick to the binding estimate.
3. Review Valuation Options
Your mover is liable for the value of the goods you ask to transport. However, there are different levels of liability coverage which will determine the amount and type of reimbursement you will receive if an item is lost or damaged.
Under federal law, interstate movers must offer two different liability options referred to as valuation coverage: released-value and full-value protection. A released-value plan should cover $0.60 per pound per item. Companies should also provide a full-value plan that covers the actual value of your items either based on declared value or a higher coverage cap based on weight. Prices for these types of coverage will vary.
4. Read Customer Service Reviews
We reviewed hundreds of customer reviews on popular reviews sites, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Yelp, TrustPilot, and more. This is an effective way to obtain a realistic perspective of what it is like to deal with a company’s customer service. We suggest you look through a few different customer review websites for both positive and negative reviews to understand what it is like to purchase services from a mover.
5. Gather Multiple Quotes for Comparison
Best Antique Moving Companies FAQs
How do you pack antiques?
Wrap small fragile and antique items in packing paper, and then place them into a box with other wrapped items. Use crumpled packing paper to fill any gaps that might appear between the items. Make sure the box is secure by using packing tape to seal it and properly label the box as fragile. For larger items, make sure that your moving company will supply moving blankets to secure them in the moving truck.
What is the least expensive moving company?
Of the providers on this list, International Van Lines offers some of the most competitive rates for a full-service mover. We found U-Pack to be the most affordable mover in the industry, but it’s a self-service mover that provides limited assistance for moving antiques.
How do I get money back from damaged antiques?
In the rare occurrence that your antiques are damaged while using a professional moving company, you will have to submit a claim to the company. To submit a claim, check with your mover for the proper forms. Many movers make claims forms accessible online.
You will then provide details and information about your claim and submit the necessary forms. After a processing period, your mover will reach back out with the outcome of your claim. Outcomes tend to be either the mover conducting repairs, replacing the item, or providing a cash settlement for repairs or the market value of the item in question.
Other Moving Resources
We’ve done in-depth research on the best moving companies in the United States and have compiled these easy to digest comparisons:
- Best Interstate Moving Companies
- Best Long-Distance Moving Companies
- Best Moving Container Companies
- Best Cheap Moving Companies
- Best Moving Companies for Small Moves
- Best Moving Companies for Military Moves
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for moving service providers is on a 100-point scale based on 7 factors:
- Moving Services (30): Does the company offer its services for local, long-distance, and/or international moves?
- Additional Services (29): What additional services does the company provide, such as packing and unpacking or loading and unloading?
- Coverage (10): Does the company offer any additional insurance plans, such as full-value coverage?
- Scheduling (7): Are customers able to schedule online, over the phone, or on both platforms?
- Trailers/Containers (7): How many trailer or container sizes does the company offer?
- Additional Benefits (12): What additional benefits does the company provide, such as storage options, moving truck rentals, and financing?
- Reputation (5): What rating does the company feature on popular review sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at firstname.lastname@example.org.