Many moving companies refer to themselves as van lines. A van line is a moving company that provides services nationwide through a network of affiliated partners. A van line typically provides a combination of moving carrier and moving broker services.
The This Old House Reviews Team has conducted in-depth research of the best moving companies in the United States, including many van lines. This guide covers our top picks for moving van operators based on their services, availability, costs, perks, and downsides.
4 Best Moving Van Lines
After researching numerous moving van companies, here are the best moving van lines in the industry today:
- International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover
- American Van Lines: Most Experienced Moving Labor
- Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
- North American Van Lines: Best for Claims
International Van Lines: Best Overall Full-Service Mover
International Van Lines (IVL) is our top pick for a moving van company. This full-service mover provides local, long-distance, and international moves out of its headquarters in Coral Spring, Florida. IVL offers competitive rates on popular services.
Customers mix and match services to create a custom full-service or partial-service moving package based on their needs and budget. Services include packing and unpacking, specialty services for pianos and antiques, storage, furniture disassembly and reassembly, and other useful options.
Pros & Cons
Below are some of the significant perks and drawbacks of using International Van Lines:
✔ Offers specialty services for artwork, antiques, recreational equipment, and pianos
✔ Offers contents protection plans with an adjustable coverage cap
✔ Provides useful online resources, such as a moving blog and moving calculator
✘ May act as a broker depending on your move’s locations
✘ Customer reviews vary according to location and mention the difficulty in communication
International Van Lines is a full-service mover, so the company handles as much of your move as possible, while allowing you flexibility to control your costs. For example, you may opt to self-pack your belongings while paying IVL to professionally load, transport, and unload your items from the moving truck.
For contents coverage plans, IVL offers its full-value protection plan with either a $500 and $1,000 deductible. You pick a coverage cap that covers the actual value of your belongings. IVL’s limited liability coverage for 60 cents per pound per article is automatically included with your moving package.
Learn More: IVL Services
International Van Lines provides services for both local and long-distance moves in all 50 states. The company also provides services for international moves in 180 countries.
Learn More: International Van Line Review
American Van Lines: Most Experienced Moving Labor
American Van Lines (AVL) is a moving carrier that provides full-service moves with highly experienced and skillful movers. AVL employs a team of full-time, background-checked movers that hold an average of 10 years of moving experience.
Unlike some other moving companies, AVL does not use short-term contractual employees. AVL trains all of its employees at its headquarters in Pompano Beach, Florida, in specialty services for pianos, recreational equipment, artwork, antiques, and more.
Pros & Cons
Compare the advantages and disadvantages of American Van Lines:
✔ Provides fixed-rate quotes through binding estimates
✔ Features highly skilled workers with an average of 10 years of experience
✔ Offers a price-matching policy
✘ Requires an up-front deposit that may range between 10%–50% of the total cost
✘ Limited pricing information online
Given AVL’s emphasis on skilled labor, the company makes a great option if you have difficult or challenging items such as recreational equipment like a Peloton or gym equipment or priceless antique furniture. AVL also provides the traditional complement of full-service moving options such as furniture disassembly, packing, loading, transportation, unloading, unpacking, and furniture reassembly.
AVL provides two options for moving coverage and valuation. Similar to Allied, it offers a Released Value plan that provides coverage of 60 cents per pound per item. Though it does not cost extra, you must sign a specific statement on your bill of lading.
AVL also offers a Full Value Protection plan. With this plan, AVL will reimburse you via repair, replacement, or cash settlement for the declared value of any item that is lost or damaged.
Learn More: American Van Lines Services
American Van Lines helps with interstate and local moves in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.
Learn More: American Van Lines Review
Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
Out of 1,000 consumers we surveyed, 47% of them required a vehicle to be shipped along with the rest of their belongings. If you are also looking to ship a vehicle, we recommend Allied Van Lines. Allied acts as a carrier for many of its services, and this includes vehicle relocation services. This means Allied provides the trucks and labor for your vehicle move, and you have direct communication with your movers, as well as GPS tracking on the shipment.
Pros & Cons
Look over some of the advantages and disadvantages of Allied Van Lines here:
✔ Offers in-house vehicle relocation services
✔ Partners with the Salvation Army to help donate unwanted items
✔ Offers fragile-only packing services
✘ Its prices may run higher than some competitors
✘ Customer reviews mention reaching the contents protection claims department is difficult
Allied Van Lines offers a variety of full-service moving options. In addition to standard services such as packing, loading, and transportation, Allied offers some DIY services for your move day. These include a portable storage container service called Allied Express and an option to have the company partially pack only fragile items on your behalf.
Similar to IVL, Allied offers moving protection coverage in the form of its Basic Liability Protection plan, which provides coverage to a maximum of 60 cents per pound per article should your items get damaged or lost. Though this plan is free of charge, you must make a request to include it in writing to Allied. The company also offers Extra Care Protection, for which you create a protection plan based on the declared value of your items.
Learn More: Allied Van Lines Services
Allied Van Lines helps with local and cross-country moves in every state. It also provides services for international moves in 130 countries. Like other van lines, Allied is part moving broker, so you might receive a partnered company for a local move.
Learn More: Allied Van Lines Review
North American Van Lines: Best for Claims
North American Van Lines (NAVL) is part of SIRVA, the same parent company as Allied Van Lines. With this large network, NAVL provides one of the most comprehensive, clear, and accessible contents protection claims processes we have seen. NAVL provides access to claims forms all across its website, and it uses two separate claims lines for domestic and international moves.
In our survey, we found that 93% of full-service moving consumers that had to file a loss or damage claim were satisfied with the outcome of their claim. With its custom contents protection plans and accessible claims process, NAVL customers would surely be among them.
Pros & Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons of using North American Van Lines:
✔ Detailed and transparent claims process
✔ Offers assistance with installing appliances
✔ Wide assortment of online tools and resources
✘ Available agents may be limited based on your location
✘ Storage options may be limited based on your location
North American Van Lines offers many popular full-service moving options. Some notable services include help installing appliances and debris removal after all of your boxes have been unloaded.
NAVL provides custom contents protection plans through its detailed Valued Inventory Forms that help you determine the appropriate level of coverage for your belongings.
Learn More: North American Van Lines Services
NAVL provides its service in all 50 states and 130 countries across the globe.
Learn More: North American Van Lines Review
What Impacts a Move’s Cost?
Most moving companies adjust their prices according to the same factors. Some of these factors change according to whether the move is a local move within a city or a long-distance move that exceeds roughly 100 miles.
Local moves tend to base the cost on hours worked, while long-distance moves focus on the weight of the shipment and distance traveled.
The most common factors impact the overall cost of hiring a professional van line:
- Location of your original home
- Date and time of your move
- The overall distance of the move
- Truck parking access
- Truck size used
- Truck driver’s hours
- Hours worked by moving labor
- Fuel used during the move
- Amount of portable storage containers used
- Size/weight of your move
- Additional protection plans you purchase
- Additional services you purchase
Moving Carrier vs. Moving Broker: What’s the Difference?
The moving industry is broken down into moving container companies, moving truck rental companies, moving brokers and moving carriers. These last two terms refer to different service models that moving companies use to provide services. Van lines tend to be a combination of these two services.
A moving carrier is a company that provides its services in-house. This means that the company uses its own movers, trucks, equipment, and customer service staff to coordinate and execute your move.
Think of a moving broker as a mediator between you and a reputable mover—a moving broker connects you to partnered companies to provide your move resources. Brokers are able to provide a large network of licensed and insured carriers, customer service tools, and required insurance policies for movers. It handles the paperwork processing, dispatching, shipment monitoring, and claims settlement.
Moving brokers often include a broker’s fee for this service.
Moving Van Companies FAQs
How to choose the best moving van company?
A significant factor to consider when hiring a moving van company 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 60 cents per pound per item. We recommend you consider van lines that offer additional coverage options given that most van lines feature a large enough network to provide ample coverage.
Which is cheaper, a container moving company or a moving van company?
On average, you will find that moving container companies are cheaper than van lines. Though it depends on the size of your move and the services you purchase, self-service movers tend to range from $1,000–$3,000, while full-service van lines cost $3,000 or more.
How dishonest are moving van companies?
While most moving van companies are honest about their business practices, there are many scammers out there.
To be sure you are choosing a reputable company, check its website for its USDOT No. and make sure that it is properly licensed, bonded and insured in the state that it is incorporated.
What are some national van lines?
All van lines present on this list feature nationwide availability for moving services.
Additional Moving Guides
- Best Moving Companies
- Best Long-Distance Moving Companies
- Best Cheap Moving Companies
- Best Moving Companies for Small Moves
- Best Interstate Moving Companies
- Best Moving Companies for Antiques
- Best Moving Companies for Apartments
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 seven 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)?
Our Reviews Team reviews reputable companies from all across the nation, and we have a full-time researcher who collects (and regularly updates) more than 100 specific data points from each company. We perform in-depth research and compare each company on key factors such as cost, services, availability, and trustworthiness.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at email@example.com.