One way to take some of the stress out of your next move is to plan ahead by selecting a full-service mover that works with your specific needs and within your budget. But finding the right pro mover can be a headache-inducing task in and of itself.
The This Old House Reviews Team has tried to alleviate that pain by researching some of the best moving companies in the country and evaluating them based on the types of services they offer as well as cost and customer support.
In this review, our team takes a closer look at one of those top companies—North American Van Lines—and assesses its benefits and downsides. Read our North American Van Lines (NAVL) review to see if the company could be a good fit for your upcoming relocation.
Our Take on North American Van Lines
We rated North American Van Lines a 92 out of 100 and believe the company is best for claims due to its simplified, user-friendly approach to filing moving damage claims. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) also gives NAVL an A+ rating based on overall customer service and feedback.*
In business since 1933, North American Van Lines is a full-service moving company that helps with relocations of all sizes. It’s available in all 50 states and more than 130 countries and has an extensive network of more than 500 local movers.
NAVL specializes in long-distance and international moves, offering related add-on services such as storage and vehicle transport. The company also accommodates shorter and smaller relocations with partial- and self-packing options.
North American Van Lines stands out for its quick online access to claims information. Necessary forms for both international and domestic claims, as well as helpful resources related to the claims process, are easily accessible from the homepage of NAVL’s website. Customers can also file claims by phone through a designated claims support line, rather than having to navigate a general customer service menu.
*BBB information accurate as of November 2021
Pros & Cons
Here is a quick look at some of the advantages and drawbacks you may encounter with NAVL:
✔ Not-to-Exceed Pricing package ensures actual cost will never be higher than your detailed personalized quote
✔ Has an online library of moving-related tip sheets, checklists, blogs, FAQs, and videos
✔ Its MoovScout app allows customers who are relocating internationally to track the workflow of their move from their phone
✘ Storage options are based on local availability
✘ Your moving experience may vary depending on your location and the local moving contractor in NAVL’s network who facilitates your move
North American Van Lines can assist with long-distance moves in all 50 states and more than 130 countries through its own fleet of moving vehicles, as well as its network of approximately 500 professional moving partners.
North American Van Lines Services
North American Van Lines offers a variety of industry-standard full- and partial-service moving options, including packing, unpacking, loading, unloading, short- and long-term storage, and contents protection plans. Standout services like the disassembly and reassembly of furniture and major appliances and vehicle transport provide added convenience. Learn more about NAVL’s services below.
Packing and Unpacking
Movers with North American Van Lines will pack, wrap, and load your furniture and belongings onto a moving truck and unpack those items at your new location. Packing support is available for those who do not want or need full-service assistance.
NAVL also provides fragile-only packing, ensuring your breakables and high-value items are expertly packed and protected while allowing you to handle all other items. Additionally, North American Van Lines supports DIY moves with self-packing resources and packing supplies available for purchase.
Loading and Unloading
Professional moving crews will carefully load your belongings onto a moving truck. At your new location, movers will unload the truck and place furniture and boxes in the rooms they belong.
Installation and Assembly
North American Van Lines can properly disassemble large pieces of furniture and major appliances and reassemble and install them for you at your new home.
Short- and long-term storage is available through a centrally located storage facility within the company’s network. This means that you can have items transported to a facility convenient to your new home. If you are temporarily storing items during your transition to a new location, NAVL will load and deliver those items to you once you are ready.
North American Van Lines offers the no-cost Released Value Protection—or basic carrier liability—and comprehensive coverage through its full valuation protection program. Professional movers are required by federal law to provide at least 60 cents per pound for your belongings—this is the minimum protection offered by Released Value Protection. As an example, if your 25-pound flat-screen TV, valued at $1,000, is damaged during the move, you would receive only $15 through Released Value Protection.
NAVL’s full valuation protection program will reimburse you for the current replacement value of your broken or lost items, based on a value of $6 per pound and a minimum shipment value of $6,000. Essentially, the total weight of your shipment is multiplied by $6 to determine NAVL’s maximum liability. So, full valuation coverage on an 8,000-pound shipment would be $48,000.
North American Van Lines can ship cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, and boats using either open or enclosed carrier transportation. Enclosed carriers are particularly helpful for transporting classic cars and high-value or rare vehicles of all types since those moving trucks protect against exposure to the elements while en route. NAVL offers vehicle transport for domestic and international moves and can provide door-to-door shipping.
North American Van Lines provides flat-rate pricing following a thorough in-home estimate. This means that your personalized quote is the amount you can expect to actually pay for your move. You should spend time before the in-home estimate to create an in-depth, honest, and accurate inventory of your belongings, as misrepresentation of your move size and an addition of items after the in-home estimate will change your total cost on moving day.
We requested a quote from North American Van Lines to move the contents of a two-bedroom home from Phoenix to Boulder, Colorado, early in the fall season. The company estimated our move—which would include packing, unpacking, loading and unloading, shipment tracking, and basic carrier liability coverage as well as transport of items and associated fuel and toll charges—would cost approximately $3,819. A more accurate estimate is only available through an in-person or virtual home survey with a North American Van Lines representative.
The cost to move with NAVL depends on the number and types of add-on services you may need, such as storage and vehicle relocation. Other factors that affect pricing include the overall distance of your move, the services you select, and the total weight of your shipment.
North American Van Lines offers discount programs to American Legion members and members of unions.
The American Legion membership discount program applies to post members and their families and provides up to $100,000 in replacement coverage protection on household items while in transit for a bottom-line savings of $850. American Legion members who sign up for NAVL’s discount program also receive access to exclusive moving and storage discounts, non-peak rates year-round, and guaranteed quotes.
The company offers a similar program to members of unions and their families. This discount consists of up to $50,000 in replacement coverage (a savings of $560) and all perks provided to Legion members, with the addition of packing discounts.
Here are the steps involved with booking a move through North American Van Lines:
- Visit the company’s website or call the customer service line to provide general details about your move. The website will provide you with a general cost estimate based on the size of your home and the distance and time of year of your move.
- Contact a Relocation Specialist via customer service to arrange for a virtual or in-person assessment of your home and its contents. During this phase of the process, the home survey representative will take a visual inventory of your items and estimate their total size and weight. The representative will also assess any special needs and unique challenges and help you determine which services are best-suited for your move.
- Following the home survey, you will receive a written estimate. NAVL will give you the option of an estimate using its Bottom Line Pricing, which is a guaranteed cost based on your quote, or Not-to-Exceed Pricing, which means your actual moving cost may be lower but will never go above the quoted estimate. You can also request Customized Pricing—a combination of guaranteed price and separate service costs.
- Finalize your moving date with your Relocation Specialist. North American Van Lines does not require an up-front deposit to reserve a moving date.
North American Van Lines Customer Reviews
North American Van Lines has maintained accreditation with the BBB since 1984. The company currently has an A+ rating with the organization.*
Read some customer reviews of North American Van Lines below:
I was very nervous about selecting the right moving company during my recent move from NJ to FL. North American Van Lines quoted the best price, so I was even more nervous they would [provide] services as promised. From the very beginning, they followed up consistently. The driver... and crew showed up early on moving day and delivery day, [and] they got right to work and never complained about anything. They were professional and friendly…. My coordinator called while they were there to check in to make sure everything was going well. [She] also called many times to make sure I received calls from the driver regarding timing and see if I had any questions or concerns. All in all, North American Van Lines was terrific. Honestly, I can’t think of one thing to complain about.
-Mary M. via Yelp
…In all the different transfers, a whole box was lost, two electronic devices [that] were mispacked on the side no longer worked, a lamp was destroyed, and my refrigerator [[was] dented. I paid for full insurance, [but] the adjuster refused to pay anything for the damaged electronics…[and] has given no damage for the lost box, as my wife could not verify every one of over 40 boxes. The movers were in a rush and did not help verify that the boxes were present…. I paid about $400 extra for insurance. Now that there has been damage, I expected a fair settlement.
-Michael C. via BBB
*BBB information accurate as of November 2021
North American Van Lines vs. Other Moving Companies
Many other professional moving companies offer services similar to North American Van Lines. Review some of our other recommendations for moving companies below to help compare NAVL against its competitors.
North American Van Lines vs. International Van Lines
International Van Lines (IVL) received a 96 out of 100 in our review due to its variety of full-service moving options and reasonably affordable rates. IVL offers full- and partial-service moving packages as well as add-on services such as vehicle shipping, packing supplies, temporary storage, and special handling of fitness equipment, pianos, and other large or valuable items.
IVL can handle moves of any size locally, long-distance, and internationally. The company has an extensive network of local movers and a large fleet of trucks and is therefore a good option for those making a long-distance relocation.
We received a quote of $2,015–$3,445 from IVL to move a two-bedroom home from Columbus, Ohio, to Atlanta, in early June. The estimate includes loading services and transportation.
North American Van Lines vs. JK Moving Systems
JK Moving Systems is another full-service moving company with a variety of options that allow customers to create a customized moving package. One highlight of JK Moving is its in-house financing option, which most moving companies do not provide.
Through a partnership with Enhancify, qualifying customers can receive rates as low as 0% same-as-cash.* As with all financing offers, it’s important to read the fine print on interest rates, so you know before signing a contract how much additional costs you are taking on in the long run.
JK Moving may not be a good fit for those moving to a new home within the same city or region, as the company currently handles local moves only in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. However, the company can accommodate out-of-state and long-distance moves of all sizes throughout the U.S.
*Subject to credit approval.
Is North American Van Lines the Best Mover for You?
The company’s nearly 90 years of experience, extensive network of professional movers across the U.S. and the world, and variety of plan options make it a great choice for those looking for the convenience of a full-service mover. NAVL is also a good fit for those relocating out of state or across the country, as the company specializes in long-distance moving.
Keep in mind that while North American Van Lines is a licensed carrier, meaning it can directly facilitate moves, the company often relies upon its network of local movers to handle relocations outside of its coverage areas. This means that customer service could vary depending on where you are located and which agent within NAVL’s network handles your moving needs.
Frequently Asked Questions about North American Van Lines
Is North American Van Lines expensive?
We requested a quote from North American Van Lines to move the contents of a two-bedroom home from Phoenix to Boulder, CO, early in the fall season. They estimated our move—including packing, unpacking, loading, unloading, shipment tracking, and basic carrier liability coverage as well as transport of items and associated fuel and toll charges—to cost approximately $3,819.
Is North American Van Lines legit?
Yes, North American Van Lines is a legitimate moving company. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives NAVL an A+ rating based on overall customer service and feedback.
When is the best time of year to move?
Moving in the fall or winter can be the most cost-effective approach. Demand for movers usually slows down beginning in late September until early spring, around April, so companies lower their rates to encourage you to book with them during this time. However, don’t forget to consider any potential adverse weather conditions where you currently reside and the location to which you are moving when planning your move.
How do I know which moving companies are the best?
Finding the right professional mover will depend on the services you need as well as your moving budget. Before requesting quotes from moving companies, we recommend that you first take inventory of your belongings, calculate the distance of your move, and determine the amount of moving assistance you want or need.
You should be sure that any mover you consider is fully licensed and insured. You can check this by first looking for a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number on a moving company’s website. Interstate movers must be registered with the federal government and be assigned a USDOT number. Typically, that number will be found at the bottom of a company’s homepage.
Once you locate a mover’s USDOT number, you can enter it into the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s online search tool for verification. Reputable licensed movers are typically certified by one or more trade associations. Additionally, check third-party customer review sites, including the BBB, to see what other customers have to say about the moving companies you’re considering.
Is a mover still responsible for broken or damaged items if I handle packing?
Moving companies are liable for losses and damage caused during transit unless a loss or damage is due to an act of nature, such as a lightning strike, tornado, or earthquake, or other scenarios involving extenuating circumstances, such as a piece of furniture being dropped down the stairs due to a pre-existing loose handrail or a broken floorboard causing a crew member to stumble and knock over a fragile item. To ensure the safe transport of a customer’s belongings, movers often operate under a tariff provision that allows them to repack improperly or unsafely packed boxes.
It’s important to note that movers are also exempt from liability if the loss or damage was caused by an act of omission on the part of the shipper. Improper packing falls under that act of omission category, so be sure to follow professional moving tips on proper packing and notify your movers of any questions or potential issues you may have concerning the items you packed.
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.