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Best Long-Distance Movers: Expert Reviewed (May 2024)

We chose International Van Lines as the best long-distance mover. Read our guide to find out why and learn more about our other top picks.

Default Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Sam DeLisle Updated 05/06/2024

Moving a long distance comes with many challenges, so it’s important to hire a trusted company with the necessary expertise and experience. We recommend International Van Lines as the best long-distance moving company because it offers one of the most comprehensive service selections at competitive prices. American Van Lines comes in at No. 2 with its vetted long-distance movers.

To determine our recommendations, we conducted more than 4,800 hours of in-depth research, interviewed industry experts, and surveyed 1,000 moving customers. Our top 10 movers offer the most comprehensive service options, quality protection plans, and cost-effective estimates. Learn more about our picks for the best long-distance movers below.

Key Takeaways

Based on our 4,800+ hours of research on 31 moving companies, we recommend International Van Lines, American Van Lines, and Interstate Moving & Relocation Group as our top choices for long-distance moving companies.
Long-distance moving costs can vary depending on multiple factors, but based on the sample quotes we gathered, they usually range between $3,673 and $5,364 for a two-bedroom move.
Our recent survey of 1,000 moving customers revealed that 72% of them opted for full-value coverage moving insurance.

Best Long-Distance Moving Companies of 2024

Our methodology scores long-distance moving companies out of 100 points based on service packages, insurance coverage, online reputation with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and more. Here’s our list of the best long-distance moving companies of 2024:

International Van Lines: Best Service Offerings
American Van Lines: Best Overall Moving Labor
U-Pack: Most Affordable
Safeway Moving Inc.: Most Reliable Pricing
Moving APT: Best Customer Service
Allied Van Lines: Best for Vehicle Relocation
North American Van Lines: Best for Claims
Mayflower: Best for Large Moves
JK Moving Services: Best Specialized Packing

Compare the Best Long-Distance Movers

International Van Lines stands out for its huge selection of long-distance moving services, and American Van Lines for its specialty-trained movers. Both companies also offer quality, full-value insurance coverage. See how our top long-distance movers stack against each other based on these factors and others.

Star Rating BBB Rating Sample Quote Link
International Van Lines International Van Lines
A+ $2,519–$4,306 VISIT SITE
American Van Lines American Van Lines
A+ $4,544 VISIT SITE
Interstate Moving & Relocation Group Interstate Moving & Relocation Group
B $3,823–$4,824 VISIT SITE
U-Pack U-Pack
A+ $3,256–$4,679 VISIT SITE
Safeway Moving Inc. Safeway Moving Inc.
B- $4,000–$5,000 VISIT SITE
Moving APT Moving APT
B $3,566–$6,266 VISIT SITE
Allied Van Lines Allied Van Lines
A+ $5,442 – $6,312 VISIT SITE
North American Van Lines North American Van Lines
A+ $4,700–$5,540 VISIT SITE
Mayflower Mayflower
A+ $3,500–$4,500 VISIT SITE
JK Moving Services JK Moving Services
A+ $5,600–$6,622 VISIT SITE
International Van Lines
Logo International Van Lines
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $2,519–$4,306
American Van Lines
Logo American Van Lines
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $4,544
Interstate Moving & Relocation Group
Logo Interstate Moving & Relocation Group
Star Rating
BBB Rating B
Sample Quote $3,823–$4,824
Logo U-Pack
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $3,256–$4,679
Safeway Moving Inc.
Logo Safeway Moving Inc.
Star Rating
BBB Rating B-
Sample Quote $4,000–$5,000
Moving APT
Logo Moving APT
Star Rating
BBB Rating B
Sample Quote $3,566–$6,266
Allied Van Lines
Logo Allied Van Lines
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $5,442 – $6,312
North American Van Lines
Logo North American Van Lines
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $4,700–$5,540
Logo Mayflower
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $3,500–$4,500
JK Moving Services
Logo JK Moving Services
Star Rating
BBB Rating A+
Sample Quote $5,600–$6,622
Company Star Rating BBB Rating Sample Quote Visit Site
A+ $2,519–$4,306 VISIT SITE
A+ $4,544 VISIT SITE
B $3,823–$4,824 VISIT SITE
A+ $3,256–$4,679 VISIT SITE
B- $4,000–$5,000 VISIT SITE
B $3,566–$6,266 VISIT SITE
A+ $5,442 – $6,312 VISIT SITE
A+ $4,700–$5,540 VISIT SITE
A+ $3,500–$4,500 VISIT SITE
A+ $5,600–$6,622 VISIT SITE

Note: The estimate info above is for a two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to San Francisco, California.
Note: BBB ratings are accurate as of May 2024.

Compare the Cost of the Best Long-Distance Movers

Moving costs vary depending on the service model and the moving company. The chart below compares average long-distance move costs between our top recommendations.

What Should I Know About Long-Distance Movers?

You should know key details about moving costs, insurance, and service models before choosing a long-distance moving company. This will give you an edge when negotiating your long-distance moving contract and help you to avoid scammers.

Your long-distance moving cost will depend on distance, total item weight, and time of year. These moves typically cost around $3,673–$5,364, based on the quotes we gathered for this guide. Including additional services, such as packing or loading and unloading, will land you higher in this price range.

Our research also showed that national moving companies charge more than independent ones. Therefore, getting multiple quotes and comparing your options is a good idea to find the most cost-effective solution.

Moving insurance protects your belongings from any potential damage or loss during transit.

There are two types of coverage available. The first is basic coverage, which federal law requires, called released value protection. It provides minimal protection at no extra cost and compensates items based on their weight rather than their value.

Full-value protection is a comprehensive option where the moving company is responsible for repairing, replacing, or reimbursing the full value of damaged or lost items. You can purchase additional coverage from an insurance provider separate from the moving company if you want more protection.

There are three primary service models for long-distance moving. The most comprehensive and expensive option is a full-pack service where you pay a moving company to pack, load, transport, unload, and unpack your belongings. Alternatively, you can opt for a partial-pack, where you pack some of your belongings, but the movers deal with the more challenging items.

Self-move and container moves are more affordable for those on a budget. A self-move focuses on do-it-yourself (DIY) options, such as moving truck rentals or portable storage container moves. We recommend container moves as a middle-ground between truck rental and full-service movers. A moving company delivers a container to your original home, you then load it, and the company returns to pick it up and transport it to your new home.

A long-distance move refers to a relocation that happens over a considerable distance, usually across state borders or to a different region of the country. There is no exact mileage limit, but most moving companies and industry professionals consider a move of 400 miles or more to be a long-distance move.

Some professional long-distance movers offer partial packing services. This allows you to pack certain items yourself while leaving the rest to the professionals. However, if you choose to pack some items yourself, following the moving company's guidelines for self-packing is crucial. Improper packing can result in damages during transit, which may void any insurance coverage the moving company provides.

Moving expert Matt Woodley with Mover Focus shared how packing your items can help lead to less oversight and lower pricing, “A common oversight during moving is not organizing and labeling your boxes. A little extra time spent labeling what’s in each box and which room it should go in can make unpacking a breeze.” Remember to label and inventory any self-packed boxes or items. If any self-packed items become damaged or lost during the move, the moving company may not be held liable, as it didn't have control over the packing process for those items.

He also said, “To save some money, try packing some things yourself, choose a weekday or mid-month move, and get rid of stuff you don’t need anymore.”

Below are some of the research and data points we pull from to determine our picks for the best long-distance movers.

Why Trust Us? We conducted 4,800+ hours of research on moving companies and crafted a ranking system based on the following research
Companies Considered
Homeowners Surveyed
Reviews Analyzed
Providers Compared

Reviews of the Best Long-Distance Moving Companies

We recommend International Van Lines and American Van Lines the most for long-distance moves, but you might benefit from considering companies such as U-Pack and Interstate Moving & Relocation Group due to their different service models. Read our assessment of each company below to discover the best for you.

International Van Lines

Best Service Offerings

International Van Lines (USDOT #: 2293832) is a moving carrier specializing in full-service long-distance relocations. The company provides one of the most comprehensive selections of moving services on this list, including packing, loading, delivery, unpacking, and unloading. Overall, we like International Van Line’s (IVL) exceptional service profile, speedy quote process, and adept teams.

How We Scored International Van Lines

IVL scored 4.9 out of 5 stars according to our rating methodology. The company received our highest rating because of its extensive range of moving services and its service area coverage. We found our interactions with the company pleasant, and its website was one of the most in-depth ones we encountered. Here’s how it did in each of our key categories:

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): IVL offers all possible moving services we look for in a company, including full-pack, partial-pack, and specialty services for difficult items, such as artwork and pianos. The company even offers boat relocation.
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): IVL offers more than three insurance plans that you can adjust according to your budget and needs. You can pay more for one of the company’s full-value protection plans or opt for less expensive partial-value release plans.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): The company’s scheduling and quote process is simple and easy compared to other providers, such as Safeway, with multiple communication methods, including email and phone.
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): IVL doesn’t provide financing or DIY moving methods, such as truck rental, but offers comprehensive storage services and sells packing materials.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): IVL maintains an overall positive reputation online. It has only one crash report in the past two years on its FMCSA profile, and most of its trucks pass federal inspection regularly.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers one month of free storage at the point of origin for long-distance moves Offers shipment tracking options for long-distance moves, depending on the carrier Partners with carriers in all 50 states to make long-distance moving widely available Cons Outsources some moves to third-party carriers Has negative reviews that report difficult communication after moves are booked Requires a 25% deposit when booking a move

Long-Distance Moving Services

IVL provides full-service options for all long-distance moves, so you can pack whatever items you want and choose the items you wish IVL to pack. In addition to its full-service packing options, IVL offers several add-on services ideal for difficult long-distance moves, making it an excellent choice to have as stress-free and simple a move as possible. These services include the following:

  • Bulky item relocation
  • Large vehicle shipping
  • Motorcycle shipping
  • Piano moving
  • Temporary or permanent storage


IVL boasts a standard quote process that requires either an in-depth phone estimate or an in-person consultation. We highly recommend undergoing an in-person consultation because it will yield an accurate initial estimate and allow you to get answers to any questions you have quickly.

We used IVL’s online moving cost calculator to generate a sample quote to give you an idea of the company’s cost. Keep in mind that the quote below isn’t binding, which means it would change after an in-person consultation.

  • Sample quote: $2,519–$4,306 (two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Sample quote 2: $5,250–$7,688 (three-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Deposit: 25%
  • Payment accepted: Cash, cashier’s check, credit card (deposit only), money order

Reputation and Reviews

IVL has an A rating on the BBB but isn’t accredited. Reviews suggest prompt service, but some customers mention that the quality can vary depending on the partner companies booked. For example, in some recent Reddit threads, we noticed that customers had their quotes potentially altered by partnered carriers through IVL. Essentially, the quality of your experience with this nationwide moving company will depend on the local agents operating in your area.

American Van Lines

Best Overall Moving Labor

American Van Lines (USDOT #: 614506) has decades of experience providing long-distance moving services. Its moving crews average a decade of experience and receive extensive training, enabling it to offer premium packing and antique handling services. We also like that this provider provides binding flat-rate pricing for all moves.

The company is ideal if you want background-checked, vetted, and experienced out-of-state or long-distance movers. We like this aspect of American Van Lines because it can get tricky ensuring every mover you look at has the proper licenses to conduct your move.

Note: American Van Lines isn’t available in Alaska or Hawaii

How We Scored American Van Lines

American Van Lines scored 4.5 out of 5 stars. Like IVL, American Van Lines provides a complete range of services, including options for artwork, antiques, exercise equipment, and other difficult items. We found that the company doesn’t provide DIY services, and its team declined to give us a ballpark moving estimate. However, this refusal indicates that American Van Lines is devoted to providing accurate pricing. Here’s how the company did in each category:

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): American Van Lines offers specialty services from highly trained moving professionals. You can decide between a partial-pack or a full-pack move. 
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): The company offers multiple levels of insurance, including adjustable full-value protection plans, to match your move budget and needs.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): American Van Lines only offers scheduling via phone, which is odd given many other long-distance movers offer online scheduling. The company also limits its customer service hours to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST on Saturdays. It’s closed on Sundays. 
  • Additional Benefits (8 out of 13 points): The company provides fewer extra benefits than IVL and doesn’t offer any financing plans or DIY services.
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): American Van Lines maintains a positive online reputation on the BBB and other websites such as Google Reviews. However, we noted that some of its trucks fail federal inspections regularly.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides fixed-rate quotes so you won’t have any surprise charges Hires movers who average 10 years of experience to ensure safe handling of your belongings and high-value goods Trains its employees regularly to efficiently handle special packing and crating Cons Offers limited customer service on weekends Requires a deposit of up to 50% of the total moving cost Charges higher average prices than some competitors

Long-Distance Moving Services

American Van Lines offers a distinct service for moves that guarantees the safety of your fragile items. Its full-service, long-distance moving crew handles wrapping, padding, packing, and protecting your delicate belongings.

In addition to full-service and partial-service packing, its services include the following:

  • Corporate relocation
  • Military relocation 
  • Online shipment tracking
  • Temporary and permanent storage
  • White-glove relocation of artwork and antiques


One of the best things about this company is its flat-rate pricing, which can be helpful if you’re on a tight budget or don’t want to deal with extra fees. You can call or fill out a contact form online to get a quote. The best part about American Van Lines’ pricing is that it’s transparent and includes all the services and covered inventory for your move.

American Van Lines publishes sample moving costs online for moves between major cities, but you’ll have to go through an in-depth consultation process to get more accurate pricing. We pulled the following estimate from its site and spoke with an American Van Lines representative to understand what a move without packing services might cost:

  • Sample quote: $4,000–$4,544 (two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Sample quote 2: $6,970–$7,514 (three-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Deposit: Up to 50% up-front
  • Payment accepted: Cash, cashier’s check, credit card, money order, and traveler’s check

Reputation and Reviews

American Van Lines holds an A+ rating on the BBB, and its 4.05 out of 5 stars for customer reviews indicates solid service. Customers praised the company for its pricing structure, as flat-rate pricing greatly simplifies the process. Some negative reviews mentioned price hikes before signing a contract; others cited difficulty communicating with moving crews. We found a recent Reddit review that praised the company for its flat-rate pricing and useful moving labor for a two-day move.

Interstate Moving & Relocation Group

Most Efficient

Interstate Moving & Relocation Group (USDOT #: 3034100) is a long-distance moving broker that has partners across the nation. It operates differently from IVL and American Van Lines because it partners with companies that can match your moving needs and provide a quick quote process. We appreciate Interstate Moving & Relocation Group’s (IMRG) informative website and its wide range of partner companies with detailed service profiles that you can browse. Getting a quote is a simple process, but unfortunately, it limits its customer service on weekends.

How We Scored Interstate Moving & Relocation Group

We awarded IMRG a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. We found it difficult to find information on IMRG’s website, but its representatives are helpful on the phone and over email. We also like the company’s service profile and flexibility through its partnered carriers.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): IMRG connects you with movers who can provide any moving package you want, such as full packing, partial packing, crating, and specialty services.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): IMRG only offers two insurance plans: a partial-value protection plan and a full-value protection plan.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): The company offers communication via phone and online.
  • Additional Benefits (6 out of 13 points): IMRG provides a decent selection of extra benefits, but the company can’t guarantee that you’ll receive any DIY moving options, financing, or storage services.
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): IMRG features a positive reputation online due to its helpful customer service, which is rare for many brokers. Our research also showed that its trucks routinely pass inspections and that it hasn’t had any accidents in the last two years reported on its FMCSA profile.

Pros and Cons

Pros Prescreens all third-party movers in its network Provides full-service packing and crating for all moving customers Offers a quick quote process for last-minute moves Cons Won’t refund your deposit more than 72 hours after booking your move Has no customer service availability on the weekends Avoids being responsible for damage due to broker status

Long-Distance Moving Services

IMRG brokers long-distance moves to numerous partners across the country. We reviewed the partners on its website and found both full- and self-service providers. You can handle the packing and hard work independently or outsource it to a qualified professional, and IMRG can connect you with the right mover for your needs. IMRG coordinates some services, including packing, loading, unloading, and transportation.

Here are the other services it offers:


IMRG requires you to get a personalized quote to get an accurate cost estimate. This process may involve a phone call or virtual estimate with your connected carrier. We went through IMRG’s process, and it connected us with Pricing Van Lines.

We then filled out an inventory form with the company and received the following quote:

  • Sample quote: $3,823–$4,824 (two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Sample quote 2: $4,922–$5,874 (three-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Deposit: Up to 33%
  • Payment accepted: Credit card and check

Reputation and Reviews

IMRG has a B rating on the BBB. Positive reviews mention honest pricing practices and efficiency, a testament to the quality of its partner companies. When getting quotes from this mover, we noted that its cost calculator gave fairly accurate price ranges, and customized pricing was easy to obtain.


Most Affordable

U-Pack (USDOT #: 2946400) is a self-service, portable storage container mover. You can save big on your long-distance or out-of-state move if you’re willing to pack and load your belongings. We also like that it offers a pay-for-what-you-use space policy on its moving trailers. This option allows you to pay per foot on a moving trailer and is unique to U-Pack. Overall, our research showed that U-Pack provides some of the most affordable pricing for long-distance moves compared to a full-service provider such as American Van Lines.

How We Scored U-Pack

U-Pack earned a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s a great option for those who want to make inexpensive moves, but it lacks additional service options, such as specialty services for unique and difficult items such as exercise equipment. We recommend U-Pack as a DIY alternative for long-distance relocation.

  • Moving Services (40 out of 59 points): U-Pack doesn’t offer local moving services, but it remains an excellent option for long-distance moves. The company does provide loading and packing labor, but it’s through third-party partners.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): The company provides one partial-value protection plan, which federal law requires, and offers one full-value plan.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): U-Pack lacks scheduling convenience because it only allows you to finalize scheduling over the phone despite having you input so much information online.
  • Additional Benefits (11 out of 13 points): The company provides an excellent selection of extra benefits we look for, such as DIY moving options and budgeting assistance, but not financing plans. U-Pack also sells packing supplies and includes GPS tracking.
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): U-Pack generally has positive reviews on popular review sites. However, we noticed many of its trucks have failed FMCSA inspections. This issue is most likely because U-Pack is part of ABF Freight, a large freight transportation company.

Pros and Cons

Pros Features typically less expensive pricing than full-service movers Includes online shipment tracking Features fast delivery times Cons Features no local moving options (under 150 miles) Can only use storage at a company facility Charges a fee if you cancel your move within a week of your service date

Long-Distance Moving Services

U-Pack is a company that specializes in self-service portable storage container moves. You choose from either its ReloCube moving container or a large trailer from ABF Freight. Keep in mind that U-Pack allows a maximum of three days to load and three days to unload your belongings from either of these options.

Here are some other services the company offers for long-distance moves that you can add to your U-Pack move:

  • Climate-controlled storage 
  • Loading and unloading (via third-party)
  • Packing and unpacking (via third-party)
  • Military moves 
  • Senior moves
  • Student moves


U-Pack charges two different possible cancellation fees. You’ll pay $50 for canceling within a week of your move or $150 for a same-day cancellation.

We requested a quote to move a two-bedroom home, and the company suggested either 20 feet on its moving trailer or four ReloCubes. U-Pack’s moving trailer option generally keeps costs lower than its ReloCube option. The moving trailer would cost $3,256, and the quote for the ReloCubes is below. We also requested a quote for a three-bedroom home, but U-Pack gave us the same pricing and options.

  • Sample Quote: $4,679 (two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Deposit: None
  • Payment Accepted: Credit card, debit card, or PayPal

Reputation and Reviews

U-Pack boasts an A+ rating on the BBB and receives positive feedback for its high-quality drivers and containers. However, some negative reviews mention billing disputes and delivery date discrepancies.

Unfortunately, poor customer service appears to be a recurring issue in many negative Trustpilot reviews, but our deep dive into recent Reddit threads about the company showed overall positive reviews around pricing and communication despite problems with moving dates.

Safeway Moving Inc.

Most Reliable Pricing

Safeway Moving Inc. (USDOT #: 3756000) offers long-distance moving services nationwide. The company is a reliable option if you have a fixed budget. Unlike IMRG, it works as both a carrier and broker that assists you in finding a long-distance moving company that matches your specific requirements if its crews are unavailable. We like how the company prioritizes customer satisfaction and ensures you’re informed throughout the moving process and receive prompt responses to concerns.

How We Scored Safeway Moving Inc.

Safeway received a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars. It offers a full range of moving services that include packing and storage. We found the company’s quote process convenient with professional reps over the phone and email, but its inventory sheet was slightly challenging to use. Here’s how Safeway did in each category:

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): Safeway connects you with almost any long-distance service you require, including partial packing, full packing, and specialty services.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): The company’s insurance plans are fairly simple, with one single released value plan and one full-value plan.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): Safeway offers multiple ways to contact and communicate with its team. It provides phone, email, and chat options, and our interactions with Safeway during the research process were pleasurable and clear.
  • Additional Benefits (4 out of 13 points): Safeway can’t guarantee you receive shipment tracking, financing, and other benefits many other movers offer. It’s possible you can, but the company can’t promise anything based on your move’s criteria.
  • Customer service (6 out of 12 points): The company suffers from a poor reputation due to some companies it brokers. We found that customers have mixed experiences once connected with Safeway’s partners. The company also features higher-than-average issues on its FMCSA page.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers one free month of storage in secure, climate-controlled facilities Has flat-rate pricing for all moves Provides light packing with all long-distance moving quotes, regardless of service needs Cons Works exclusively as a broker Has varied reviews by service area Has little information on its website about pricing or deposit requirements

Long-Distance Moving Services

Safeway’s service options for long-distance moves include packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking as part of the base package. You can also use the following services for its moves:

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Custom crating for fragile items
  • Moving assistance for senior citizens 
  • Temporary and permanent storage


Safeway offers flat-rate, binding estimates for its moving services. Your move’s weight, distance, the services you need, and the insurance you buy through a partner carrier all determine your overall cost with Safeway. This is a more rigorous quote process than other providers on our list, but it guarantees a more accurate quote with fewer hidden fees.

We requested a Safeway quote online and worked with a representative to obtain the ballpark quote below.

  • Sample quote: $4,000–$5,000 (two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Sample quote 2: $6,600–$6,984 (three-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Deposit: Up to 40%
  • Payment accepted: Cash, credit card, certified check, and money order

Reputation and Reviews

We noticed in recent Reddit threads about Safeway that some customers experienced bait-and-switch price hikes. The BBB awards Safeway a B- rating, but negative BBB reviews also reported pricing discrepancies. This is a common issue among movers that operate primarily as brokers, and it’s important to remember when signing a moving contract. Regardless, most testimonials across all review sites are positive and mention high-quality services, its thorough quote process, and comprehensive insurance coverage offerings.

Moving APT

Best Customer Service

Moving APT (USDOT #: 2247863) is a moving broker that partners with movers nationwide. It provides a comprehensive range of relocation services, including full- and self-service moving assistance for all long-distance relocations. Compared to other brokers such as IMRG and Safeway, Moving APT provides a more informative website for quick quotes and personalized estimates. Moving APT provides a user experience more like a carrier than a broker based on our experience dealing with both service models.

How We Scored Moving APT

Moving APT received a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. We were surprised that the company lacked online booking capabilities and offered less comprehensive insurance options, which may differ from those of its partner companies. It stood out with its innovative moving calculator and other online resources.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): Moving APT can connect you with movers that fulfill all standard moving services, including full packing, crating, and vehicle relocation.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): Moving APT offers a released value protection plan and full-value options, but the options may vary according to what carriers you receive.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): Moving APT features an innovative website but only offers a phone scheduling option.
  • Additional Benefits (8 out of 13 points): The company offers moving truck rentals, unlike other providers on this list, but it lacks financing. It also doesn’t sell packing supplies and materials to help with a self-service move.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): Moving APT features a higher customer review score and response rate on its BBB profile than many other providers despite not having accreditation and only a B+ rating. The company also features one of the most positive FMCSA profiles on this list.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides quick service after quote requests Offers price-matching for customers who obtain a lower competing quote Has an online cost estimator to help you understand the potential price range for your move Cons Has varied reviews, depending on location Has reviews citing unwanted contact from partner companies after moves have already been booked Doesn’t remain responsible for any damage due to broker status

Long-Distance Moving Services

Moving APT offers comprehensive services to assist customers with out-of-state or long-distance moves. These services include packing, loading, custom crating, and more. Additionally, it has partnered with top companies in the self-service moving industry, so you can rent a moving container and pack your belongings on your own if that’s your preference.

Moving APT can also provide the following services for long-distance moves:

  • Cleaning services
  • Commercial moves
  • Shipment tracking
  • Temporary and permanent storage
  • Vehicle shipping


You can get a sample quote from Moving APT by discussing your move with a representative, but they’ll require another phone call or in-person consultation for accurate pricing. Three of Moving APT’s partners contacted us after we shared our move details with a sales representative. You should prepare to converse with several movers because of its service structure.

  • Sample quote: $3,566–$4,650 (two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Sample quote 2: $5,433–$6,266 (three-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Deposit: Varies between partners
  • Payment accepted: Cash, check, and money order

Reputation and Reviews

Moving APT’s BBB page has a B+ rating without accreditation. However, the company has received an impressive customer review score of 3.53 out of 5 stars, which is one of the highest we’ve seen. The majority of reviews mention the company’s efficient resources and quick quotes but also point out its subpar customer service after booking.

Allied Van Lines

Best for Vehicle Relocation

Allied Van Lines (USDOT #: 076235) offers premium moving services and a wide range of vehicle shipping options to ease the process for long-distance moving customers. We like that it offers in-house vehicle relocation services, which other moving companies don’t commonly provide. The company is also well-equipped to offer additional services as required.

How We Scored Allied Van Lines

Allied received an impressive rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, positioning itself as one of our top recommended long-distance moving companies. We didn’t find any information on DIY services or financing despite digging through Allied’s large website.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): Allied offers all the services most long-distance customers require, including vehicle shipping and piano moving.
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): The company provides multiple levels of protection for your belongings.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): You can contact Allied via phone, online chat, or email.
  • Additional Benefits (8 out of 13 points): Allied provides no financing or moving truck rentals. The company also lost points for not providing a moving calculator on its website.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): Allied has a positive reputation online and responds to over 90% of the complaints it receives on the BBB. The company’s FMCSA profile reports fewer failed inspections than average, but it has more injuries, crashes, and tows than other companies, with 39 incidents.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides in-house vehicle relocation services Offers instant pricing for some long-distance moves on its site via InstaQuote Has climate-controlled storage facilities Cons Doesn’t offer its instant quote option for large homes Doesn’t provide customer support on the weekends Has negative reviews that mention difficulty when filing damage claims

Long-Distance Moving Services

Allied provides a variety of services to simplify your long-distance or out-of-state move. It offers multiple specialty options to personalize your move, including expert packing and vehicle transportation. One of these options is Allied Express, which is a moving container service that provides speedy shipping for smaller moves. Allied Express enables you to pack and load your belongings or request professional moving assistance.

You can also take advantage of the following services if you choose Allied:

  • Crating for fragile items 
  • Packing supplies 
  • Temporary and permanent storage
  • Third-party cleaning services


You can call Allied or complete a contact form for a personalized estimate. You’ll provide your full inventory and can set up an in-person or visual consultation.

We used Allied’s InstaQuote tool and called the company to generate the following for our move:

  • Sample quote: $5,442–$6,312 (two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Sample quote 2: $6,668–$7,323 (three-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Deposit: None
  • Payment accepted: Cash, certified check, check, and money order

Reputation and Reviews

Allied has more than 500 locations across the country with varying levels of quality. We suggest you carefully check local reviews before deciding rather than relying solely on the nationwide consensus. The company’s headquarters BBB page has a low rating of 1.09 out of 5 stars, but other Allied locations have better scores. It’s worth noting that Allied has an A+ rating from the BBB.

North American Van Lines

Best for Claims

North American Van Lines (USDOT #: 070851) serves all 50 states and offers premium packing, crating, and protection services for moves. North American Van Lines (NAVL) is a great choice for anyone who desires quality moving help and needs to transport expensive items for an interstate, cross-country, or out-of-state move. NAVL’s protection plans, variable pricing structure, and 500 locations also make it a good fit for any moving need and budget.

How We Scored North American Van Lines

NAVL received a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The company scored more points because of its various full-service moving options, including packing and storage assistance. One drawback is its limited booking procedures. It requires you to speak with a moving representative over the phone.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): NAVL supplies all standard long-distance moving services we check for, such as full packing and partial packing services.
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): We gave NAVL a high score for its protection plans and insurance. NAVL has a basic carrier liability protection program called No-Cost Released Value Protection, which is part of its full-valuation protection program. With a minimum shipment value of $6,000 and $6 per pound, this program provides significant coverage for your shipment. The coverage amount is much higher than the standard 60 cents per pound mandated by federal law.
  • Scheduling (4 out of 8 points): NAVL only offers over-the-phone communication.
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): NAVL offers plenty of extra perks, such as storage services and GPS tracking. The company doesn’t offer any DIY moving services or financing options.
  • Customer Service (9 out of 12 points): NAVL has poor reviews on its BBB profile but is more than 90% responsive to complaints. It has an alarming FMCSA profile. NAVL’s failed inspection rate is 27.3%, which is higher than the national average of 22.26%, and it reports 27 crashes in the past two years.

Pros and Cons

Pros Has no deposit requirement for long-distance moves Provides a detailed and transparent claims process Offers binding estimates through virtual surveys Cons Requires three days’ notice on cancellations Has limited storage options, depending on location Some reviews mention challenges with the claims department

Long-Distance Moving Services

NAVL offers flexible packing services to its customers. You can choose between full packing assistance or partial packing assistance. Moreover, if you only want your fragile items or other belongings that require maximum protection to be packed, you can request NAVL’s moving teams.

Below are NAVL’s extra long-distance moving services:

  • Appliance installation
  • Debris removal
  • Packing supplies
  • Temporary and permanent storage 
  • Vehicle shipping


NAVL offers binding estimates if you require one. This pricing model is labeled a “bottom-line” or “not-to-exceed” estimate. This is reassuring if you’re moving across state lines, as long-distance moving costs can quickly spiral.

NAVL doesn’t explicitly require a deposit but charges cancellation fees. This fee typically amounts to what your deposit would have been. Most moving companies reserve the right to retain any deposits in the event of a last-minute cancellation. We spent roughly 30 minutes on the phone with NAVL to generate the following ballpark quotes.

  • Sample quote: $4,700–$5,540 (two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Sample quote 2: $6,007–$6,987 (three-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Deposit: None
  • Payment accepted: Cash, certified check, money order, check

Reputation and Reviews

NAVL is known for offering great long-distance moving options, but it’s important to note that the quality of service may vary depending on your location. Its headquarters has an A+ BBB rating and accreditation, but its customer review score is 1.13 out of 5 stars. We notice many recent Reddit threads feature a mixed reception of the company, with customers mentioning that challenges in communication are a central issue but finding the overall service to go well. We suggest checking customer feedback for your local NAVL branch before booking.


Best for Large Moves

Mayflower (USDOT #: 125563) is a moving company that has provided local and long-distance relocation assistance since 1927. It operates a fleet of more than 800 trucks and provides dedicated service for small moves and relocations for large homes. It gets our vote for the best option for large long-distance moves because it offers more flexibility than Allied or American Van Lines due to its fleet, service areas, and specialized large-home service options. This is ideal if your home exceeds five or more bedrooms.

Note: Mayflower isn’t available in Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, or West Virginia.

How We Scored Mayflower

We gave Mayflower a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. We dug through its website and found it offers different insurance options that extend beyond those of providers such as NAVL and Allied.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): The company supplies all services for long-distance relocations, such as full packing and partial packing. It also offers vehicle shipping, crating, and piano moving. One unique offering from Mayflower is how it tailors moving packages to larger or smaller homes. 
  • Insurance Coverage (8 out of 8 points): Mayflower offers multiple contents protection plans that you can customize according to your budget and shipment’s total value.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): The company offers online or over-the-phone scheduling.
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): Mayflower includes GPS tracking with its long-distance moves and also operates as a moving supplies store. The company doesn’t offer any financing or moving truck rentals.
  • Customer Service (10 out of 12 points): We found the company to be responsive to more than 90% of complaints on UniGroup’s (its parent company) BBB page. However, we also uncovered that Mayflower has a failed FMCSA inspection rate of 23.2%, close to the national average, and 29 reports of crashes in the last two years.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers GPS tracking for long-distance moves Allows you to customize your moving package Provides binding estimates Cons Has a slow damage claims process, according to some customers Features varied reviews across its service area Long quote process makes it not ideal for quick moves

Long-Distance Moving Services

Mayflower provides plenty of moving assistance through a variety of service offerings. Other than the typical packing and loading service you can expect from a full-service mover, Mayflower offers the following long-distance services:

  • Crating
  • GPS tracking
  • Packing supplies
  • Storage
  • Vehicle shipping


Mayflower’s quote process is similar to many other moving companies. You should have an inventory list ready when you call for a quote. Your move coordinator will take down all relevant information and yield a binding estimate ahead of your move.

The company provided us with a very rough quote when we called. The representative required more and more details from us, including a virtual consultation to make it more accurate. Below is our sample quote:

  • Sample quote: $3,500–$4,500 (two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Sample quote 2: $4,500–$6,000 (three-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Deposit: None required
  • Payment accepted: Cash, traveler’s check, cashier’s check, and money order

Reputation and Reviews

Mayflower’s expedited service options and efficiency were commonly cited in positive reviews on UniGroup’s BBB page. Negative feedback mentioned rushed estimates or altered pricing when the bill was due. We also noticed that recent Reddit reviews for the company are more positive than roughly two to three years ago on the site.

JK Moving Services

Best Specialized Packing

JK Moving Services (USDOT #: 1065394) operates as a carrier and broker and provides a la carte services to long-distance moving customers in all 50 states. It offers financing as low as 0% through a partnership with Enhancify to help you afford full-service moves. In fact, one of the unique features of JK Moving is that it offers financing options for long-distance moves, which is rare among professional moving companies. The company’s pricing might run higher than IVL’s, but it provides more financial flexibility than other carriers on this list.

How We Scored JK Moving Services

JK Moving scored 4.7 out of 5 stars based on our rating scale. Its financing options and long-distance moving offerings stand out. Its lack of DIY moving offerings or a moving cost calculator knocked its final rating down slightly, but you can receive high-quality full packing and crating services.

  • Moving Services (59 out of 59 points): JK Moving offers comprehensive service options to customize your moving package. The company offers all standard full-pack and partial-pack options, as well as crating and specialty services for antiques and artwork.
  • Insurance Coverage (5 out of 8 points): The company keeps its insurance coverage to only a basic and full-value plan despite providing more detailed financing options.
  • Scheduling (8 out of 8 points): JK Moving offers phone and online options to schedule a more in-depth virtual or in-person moving quote. 
  • Additional Benefits (10 out of 13 points): The company offers many additional benefits, such as its financing programs, storage services, GPS tracking, and more. It doesn’t provide any online cost tools.
  • Customer Service (12 out of 12 points): JK Moving features high customer review scores online, and its FMCSA profile features one injury and two tows.

Pros and Cons

Pros Includes GPS shipment tracking Offers financing options as low as 0% Utilizes an AI-assisted online quote tool to provide accurate estimates to remote customers Cons Doesn’t provide sample pricing online Has a spotty record of communication after booking Charges higher-than-average pricing compared to other providers

Long-Distance Moving Services

JK Moving offers comprehensive packing assistance for long-distance moves, including partial packing for fragile belongings and full packing for a white-glove experience. It also offers these services:

  • Government moves
  • International moves 
  • Office moves and IT removal
  • Shipment tracking 
  • Temporary and permanent storage


JK Moving has developed a convenient mobile app that utilizes AI technology to provide quick and accurate cost estimates without needing an in-person consultation. The app also offers 24/7 customer service support for easy pricing and general information access.

We contacted a JK Moving sales representative to obtain a quote as part of our research process. We have also provided another quote from our guide to Best Moving Companies in Texas because JK Moving refused to give us too many quotes at one time to maintain accurate pricing. The process took longer than other long-distance moving companies, but they guaranteed us that the following quote was more precise:

  • Sample quote: $5,600–$6,622 (two-bedroom move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Dallas, Texas)
  • Sample quote 2: $7,995 (three-bedroom move from Denver to Dallas)
  • Deposit: $250 up-front
  • Payment accepted: Cash and credit card

Reputation and Reviews

JK Moving has an excellent reputation, with an A+ BBB rating and high marks across various review platforms. The company also has a customer review score of 4.45 out of 5 stars on the BBB, which is higher than many other carriers. The company’s movers are highly trained, and it offers financing options that rate highly among customers. However, there have been some reports of general quality variance that hold the company back. For example, some Reddit threads mention reputable services paired with competitive pricing, but other Reddit reviews mention broken goods.

⬆ Jump to Top

What Determines a Long-Distance Move’s Cost?

The main factors impacting the total cost of a long-distance move are the distance traveled and the size of the move. A 1,000-mile, two-bedroom move typically costs between $3,673 and $5,364. The initial quote process calculates your move distance based on your current and destination addresses. Shipment weight is determined after loading the truck, so the cost can change if your inventory weighs more than estimated.

Our 2024 survey revealed that many customers (52.4%) expect to pay less than $3,000 for professional moving services, but Matt Woodley mentioned that, “If the moving cost gives you a bit of sticker shock, remember what you’re paying for—professional movers do a lot more than just move boxes. They handle all the heavy lifting, planning, and sometimes even storing your stuff. The cost might seem high, but it often pays off in convenience and peace of mind.”

Other factors, such as service requirements for packing and crating and the move date, also impact the cost. Here are the primary cost factors to consider when getting quotes:

  • Added services: Add-ons such as packing and vehicle shipping can substantially increase costs.
  • Booking date: Summer and last-minute moves may cost extra. Movers could charge higher rates in summer or for bookings within a week of moving.
  • Insurance coverage: Valuation coverage for high-value items may cost between 3% and 5% extra.
  • Move distance: Your move distance from the origin to the destination address determines your base price.
  • Shipping weight: Long-distance shipping costs are determined by weight, while local moving costs are determined by hourly charges. Regardless, your total inventory is a primary cost factor.

Below are some sample quotes from our top companies to help inform your moving budget. These were collected by speaking with a representative or using online cost calculators. We asked about receiving a moving package with and without packing services. Self-packing when using a long-distance moving company can save you money but also comes with risks. You'll eliminate labor costs for packing services but assume full liability for any damages incurred to self-packed items during transit.

ProviderWith PackingWithout Packing
International Van Lines$4,306$2,519
American Van Lines$4,544$4,000
Interstate Moving & Relocation Group$4,824$3,823
Safeway Moving Inc.$5,000$4,000
Moving APT$6,266$3,566
JK Moving Services$6,622$5,600
Allied Van Lines$6,312$5,442
North American Van Lines$5,540$4,700

Full-Service vs. Self-Service

When you're planning to move, you have two main options: hiring full-service movers or opting for self-service alternatives. Full-service movers take care of everything, from packing to unloading, which is very convenient but comes with a higher cost. Self-service options, such as rental trucks, can be more affordable but require physical effort. While self-service options can save you money, you should also remember to consider potential additional costs that may arise if you need help with heavy lifting.

You can actually mix and match some of these services at times, according to the advice given to us by Matt Graber, co-owner of Cool Hand Movers, “You can work directly with local companies on a long-distance move in one of two ways. Depending on how long the distance, a ‘local’ carrier may still be licensed to do your entire move.” He then shared this example: “If you’re going cross-country, you can rent a truck or pod and have local movers load and unload at either end. The benefit here is that you’re working with smaller companies, accountable to their local market rather than larger carriers and van lines where reviews get lost in the sauce.”

  • Full-service moving companies: Full-service moving companies offer a complete solution for your relocation requirements by managing various aspects of the moving process, including packing, loading, transportation, and unloading, with a team of trained movers. The primary benefit of hiring such a company is the convenience it provides by handling all the heavy lifting and supplying necessary equipment for safe transportation. However, this convenience typically comes at a higher cost, which is determined by various factors such as the weight of your belongings, travel distance, and additional services such as packing and unpacking.
  • Self-service moving companies: Self-service moving companies provide an affordable alternative by offering rental trucks or trailers with necessary moving equipment such as dollies and furniture pads. Opting for self-service can significantly reduce your moving expenses, making it ideal if you’re on a tight budget or tackling shorter, local moves. However, the trade-off is the increased physical exertion and time commitment as you'll need to pack and secure your belongings, load and unload the truck or trailer, and possibly drive a larger vehicle.

Why Should You Read the Fine Print in a Moving Contract?

It's important to have a clear understanding of your moving contract and estimate when you hire a long-distance mover. The moving industry uses jargon that can be difficult to understand if you're unfamiliar with these documents. We define some of these terms below.

A bill of lading is a legal document that acts as a contract between you and the moving company. It includes the details of your shipment, outlining the terms and conditions of the move, and serves as a receipt acknowledging that the moving company has received your belongings for transportation. It can also act as a document of title, which is important in case of disputes or claims. It contains more detailed information about the shipment than a moving contract, such as the inventory of items, their condition, and any special instructions or requirements.

A carrier is a moving company that handles your long-distance move directly. It takes care of every aspect of your relocation, from packing to delivery. A moving broker acts as a middleman between you and third-party carriers, outsourcing your move to various carriers based on availability and pricing.

The FMCSA has established a regulation that limits the amount a moving company can charge to a maximum of 110% of a nonbinding estimate. A nonbinding estimate is an approximate estimate of the total cost of your move, which may differ from the final cost. The goal of the FMCSA's rule is to protect consumers by preventing moving companies from charging excessively high prices and capping the final cost at 110% of the nonbinding estimate.

A nonbinding estimate is an initial approximation of the total cost of your move, usually given over the phone or online. However, this estimate is subject to changes due to market fluctuations or any variations in your shipment's actual weight or volume compared to the initial assessment. Nonbinding estimates are based on the information you provide, but the final cost may differ from the initial quote.

A binding estimate is a legally binding quote that guarantees the total cost of your move as long as there are no changes to the inventory or services requested. Most moving companies require a physical or video survey of your belongings to assess the scope of the move accurately and give you a binding estimate.

Be aware that a binding estimate can change, based on information that Graber shared with us, “Binding means the rate for your move won’t change as long as the details used to generate that rate remain the same. If the moving company shows up for the move and there are additional items or flights of stairs, they will issue a new binding estimate.” Ensure you don’t have any major changes to your move to avoid this mishap.

Which Company Should You Choose for Your Long-Distance Move?

We recognize International Van Lines as the best long-distance mover because of its full-service nationwide moves and range of insurance coverage plans. It guarantees you all the services possible with superior protection. We also like American Van Lines for its moving teams with 10 years or more of industry experience and Interstate Moving & Relocation Group for its thoroughly vetted carrier partners.

You should always get quotes from at least three professional movers in your area before booking. This allows you to survey your options and book at the lowest rate for your upcoming long-distance relocation.

How Do I Plan and Prepare for a Long-Distance Move?

A long-distance moving company simplifies your move to a new home, but there’s still plenty you need to do ahead of moving day.

Here is how you should plan and prepare for a long-distance move:

  1. Downsize: Having less makes moving cheaper. Create an inventory to track items to sell, donate, or discard.
  2. Create an inventory list: Don’t get caught forgetting certain items. Create an inventory list organized by each room. This step also helps you prepare to receive a quote, and you should estimate how many boxes you’ll need for each room’s items.
  3. Research moving companies: Create a list of reputable companies. We recommend the FMCSA as a great resource to find a company’s insurance information and learn if it has any active issues, such as recent crash reports. We also suggest you read the FMCSA’s Rights and Responsibilities documentation to better prepare yourself for the quote process.
  4. Get quotes and book your move: Get quotes from all of the moving companies you’re considering six weeks to one month ahead of your move date. You should also get copies of your moving contract when you confirm your move date. 
  5. File a change of address: File change-of-address forms with the post office and change your contact information with your bank, place of employment, and any other relevant institution.

Steps to follow

Choosing the right long-distance moving company requires research and should be right for your needs and budget. A quality mover should also have plenty of experience moving household goods across state borders and employ skilled movers who will handle your items with care. Here are some steps to help you choose the best long-distance moving company:

Look up reviews before getting quotes. Even the best national moving companies have locations in some areas that provide subpar service. Google Reviews, Yelp, BBB, and social media are great sources for customer feedback. Note positive and negative trends to inform you how a mover treats its customers. Research location-specific reviews to ensure the quality of service in your area.

Make sure to select a moving company that is registered with the FMCSA and has all the necessary state-level licenses and permits to operate in both your current location and your new destination. It’s important to verify that the company and its drivers have valid operating authority records and insurance coverage that would protect you in case of accidents or damages.

Make a list of all services you’ll need your mover to handle before getting quotes. For example, decide if you want full packing or only loading and unloading services. You may need to consider vehicle shipping if you plan on flying to your new state. You should reference your list of required services and inquire about the accompanying rates during your consultation. All of the providers in our guide allow you to mix and match your moving package, with options to pack some items yourself or have all your belongings professionally packed.

We recommend you compare at least three binding moving estimates from different highly rated companies. This will help you evaluate their costs, reputation, services included, transit time guarantees, and insurance/valuation coverage.

Ask about deposit requirements, flat-rate or binding estimates, and moving insurance options during the quote process. A reputable mover should be transparent about all these facets of their services, and a flat-rate or binding estimate is a marker of quality and reliability.

Well-established moving companies that use modern processes often offer online calendars and portals for easy booking and tracking. You can make your long-distance relocation much less stressful when you choose a company with these perks.

Long-Distance Moving Checklist

It can be a challenge to keep everything in order leading up to moving day. Below is a quick checklist to help you get started and prepare for some of the major steps in the moving process.

Choose between a DIY or full-service move: First, decide whether to hire professionals or take a do-it-yourself approach. If you’re able to pay the higher cost of full-service movers and need all of the help you can get, a full-service moving company may be the right option for you. However, if you prefer doing things yourself and have a tight budget, then self-service may be a better option.
Hire a moving company: Do some research on moving companies near you and read customer reviews to vet the company. It’s best to start the process of hiring a mover three months before your anticipated move date. Some movers will give discounts for early reservations, so the sooner you get started, the better.
Create a detailed inventory: While you create an inventory of your belongings, make note of the condition of your items and take pictures of them. These photos and notes will come in handy if you have to file a damage claim for reimbursement.
Start packing: Start packing around six to eight weeks before your move. Read about packing tips beforehand to get ideas for streamlining the process, and use your inventory list to determine the boxes you’ll need. To make the unpacking process easier, label your boxes and consider using specialty boxes, such as wardrobe boxes.
Inform key entities of your move: Be sure to inform insurance companies, tax agencies, utility companies, the post office, the Social Security Administration, and your internet service provider about your move. By notifying these parties of your upcoming move, you can avoid potential issues and help ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

Do I Need Moving Insurance?

Purchasing moving insurance will help to pay for or replace your items if the moving company damages them during your move. If you plan on moving a long distance and have valuable items in transport, we recommend looking into moving insurance options.

There are two main types of moving insurance: released value protection and full value protection. 

  • Released value protection: This plan is the basic level of coverage provided by most moving companies at no additional cost. However, it offers minimal compensation, typically just 60 cents per pound per article, which may not be sufficient for valuable or fragile items. For example, a 20-pound television will only receive $12 in reimbursement.
  • Full value protection: This plan offers extensive coverage for your belongings during the move. After deducting certain amounts and exclusions, the moving company will take responsibility for repairing or replacing any lost or damaged items based on their current market value. It's worth noting that the cost of this insurance may vary based on the value of your possessions, the distance of the move, and the specific policy terms.
In our recent survey...

We found that 72% of people who moved opted for full-value coverage. Of the consumers who submitted a claim, 98% reported it being successfully fulfilled.

Expert Tips and Insights

We asked two experts for insights into what consumers should know before booking a long-distance mover and what drives costs in the industry. Read their tips below. 

Professor of Supply Chain Management
College of Michigan State University
See answers

Read bio
What major factors should people consider when choosing a long-distance moving company?
Consider cost, flexibility in terms of pickup and delivery dates, ability to store goods, willingness to engage in multi-part moves (where belongings are combined across multiple locations for delivery at a single destination), whether they serve your location, and ancillary services (e.g., packing). “It is also worth checking into their damage policy in terms of reimbursement if your items get broken during the move,” says Miller.
From a transportation lens, what are some things that may impact long-distance driving costs (shipping weight, distance, etc.)?
The biggest factors affecting the transportation component include the physical volume of goods being moved; the value of goods being moved (e.g., if you are moving many high-priced items, you may see higher prices); the origin of the move; the destination of the move; the price of diesel fuel; demand (the number of people currently moving); supply (moving capacity); and seasonality (prices tend to be higher during the summer moving season). For example, the price of local moving company services spiked starting in 2021 during a very strong bull market in new and existing single-family home sales, yet the number of employees in the moving sector remained unchanged from 2019 levels. Prices for long-distance moving remain well elevated from pre-COVID levels. Miller notes they have started to see total hours worked in this sector fall with the slowdown in housing activity in 2023, especially relative to 2021 and early 2022.
What can people do to better educate themselves on the moving process?
Miller suggests researching movers via Google and asking colleagues for recommendations.
Jason Miller is the Eli Broad Endowed Professor of Supply Chain Management and is serving the second year of a two-year term as interim chairperson for the Department of Supply Chain Management at Michigan State University's Eli Broad College of Business. His primary research stream examines issues in the for-hire truck transportation industry, including safety, productivity, pricing dynamics, driver turnover, and employment. He also conducts macroeconomic research in the manufacturing and retail sectors, with a special emphasis on the disruptive role of imports, tariffs, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Associate Professor of Practice
University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business
See answers

Read bio
What major factors should people consider when choosing a long-distance moving company?
Maier recommends researching the company being considered. “Obviously, reputation is critical to any company, yet moving companies earn more by reputation than many others,” he says. Investigate the number of submitted and approved claims against a carrier, the dollar amount of claims against a carrier, how long it took for a claim to be resolved, and how well regarded they are with the BBB, the STB, and the FMCSA. Keep in mind that the moving company will subcontract out the actual driving and physical movement of packing and unpacking. That’s not necessarily a negative, just something to be aware of.
Be sure to maintain good, ongoing contact with the sales agent, dispatch, and driver when possible. Sales agents many times work on commission and may not understand the actual operation of the move. That’s why getting the name and contact information of the dispatch office is helpful.
Communicating with the driver the day before their arrival at the origin and destination is also helpful. A driver may experience traffic congestion, weather-related delays, or even mechanical issues, which could delay their estimated arrival time. Having said that, most drivers will try to do what they can to achieve the goal of arriving within the appointment window. It’s very helpful to the driver and their team for the customer to remain patient and understanding.
While cost is always a significant variable in the decision when selecting a moving company, Maier notes that service, reliability, and resolving any potential claims will pay a higher dividend later on.
From a transportation lens, what are some things that may impact long-distance driving costs (shipping weight, distance, etc)?
The cost of transportation is based on a number of variables, some of which consist of distance, dimensional weight, amount of time and labor needed to conduct the move, and the type of items to be moved. Maier breaks these factors down as follows:
1. Distance: The longer the move, the higher the cost. Another significant factor is where the driver delivers to because this location becomes the pickup location for their return trip (called a “backhaul”). “I can pick up a load in Boston and deliver to Presque Isle, Maine,” says Maier. “Yet since Presque Isle may not have many people moving out of the area, I may need to drive almost back to Boston for another pickup and or delivery. That additional time equates to an increase in operating costs (labor, food, and fuel, for example).”
2. Dimensional weight: This isn’t the same as “actual weight.” A box that is 5 feet tall by 2 feet wide may have an actual weight of 10 pounds, which is light. However, the size of the box takes up a considerable amount of physical space, or “dimensional weight.” 
3. Time and labor: If a customer is unorganized, hasn’t properly packed, isn’t properly prepared, or has an inordinate amount of very heavy and awkward-sized furniture, it will take the moving team longer to pack, load, and then unload. Time is money: the longer it takes, the higher the costs.
4. Types of items moved: Moving 200 cardboard boxes is much easier than moving 50 boxes filled with antiques or 20 boxes that weigh 100 pounds. Moving boxes of clothes is much easier than moving boxes of lightbulbs.
To manage the cost, be organized. That includes taking the time before packing to decide if you want to take an item or not. The decision should be made before loading on a truck, not after, since you will be paying for moving that box.
What can people do to better educate themselves on the moving process?
Be organized and prepared by having your personal belongings packed properly. That entails having a few heavy items in a box rather than many heavy items in a box (the box may break, or it may not fit). Leaving everything to the moving team doesn’t necessarily equate to a better moving experience, but it may increase your costs.
Read, review, and understand the back side of the Bill of Lading. A common carrier's responsibility for damages is very limited. Consider getting a quote from your home insurance company or even the moving company itself for personal property protection on items that have great value to you and your family.
Take photos of your valuable belongings before packing. Be onsite and engaged with the movers as they load the truck. Keep your own records of when your items are loaded. Mark each box with the location or room in which you want the box placed at the destination to save the movers time (and your back). When possible, try to unload your more valuable items first to determine if any damages are discovered, take photos of the damage as it’s unloaded, and file a claim as soon as possible. The moving company often won’t stipulate it’s a requirement, but the moving team may be expecting a cash tip.
Move your more valuable items with you. Whether jewelry, stocks, bonds, computers, medications, credit cards, checkbooks, blank checks, or anything else that is too difficult to replace or consists of personal security (think identity theft), keep these items with you. Any number of things can happen when the truck is en route. If an accident occurs and the moving trailer is openly exposed, your goods are also exposed to bystanders that may happen along the accident.
Don Maier is an associate professor of practice at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. His professional career included roles in the logistics and supply chain management teams at FedEx, Office Depot, Penske Logistics, Monsanto, and Merisant (a division of Monsanto). He was instrumental in the strategic design and leadership of the international logistics operation for North and Central America, and he managed the design and development of the total productive manufacturing quality culture at Merisant, focusing on 5S and lean principles. During this time, Maier earned a doctorate in organization development and a master’s in organizational behavior from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, and taught various management-related courses.

FAQ About Long-Distance Moving

What is the most cost-effective way to move?

More DIY-focused moving services tend to yield the cheapest long-distance prices. Doing everything yourself will eliminate the cost of labor, which usually makes full-service moves more expensive. You'll just be paying for the truck rental and the cost of gas if you decide to do the labor yourself.

Do movers ask for money up-front?

Legitimate moving companies usually require only a small up-front payment, and some don't require any up-front payment at all. You pay the remaining balance upon delivery. If a moving company demands a higher up-front payment, it could be a scam.

What won’t moving companies relocate?

Moving companies won’t move hazardous materials, including toxic chemicals and firearms.

Can you negotiate moving costs?

Yes, you can negotiate moving costs. The best method for negotiating with your moving company is to get multiple moving estimates from at least three reputable companies.

Our Rating Methodology and Moving Research Process

We’re dedicated to offering our readers comprehensive and unbiased moving company reviews. Our team backs up our moving company ratings and recommendations with a detailed rating methodology to objectively score each company. We researched hundreds of movers, scrutinizing their websites and services. Our team obtained information on their FMCSA profiles, insurance coverage, licensing, and claims processes by thoroughly examining their online resources and speaking directly with customer service representatives. We evaluated these factors against industry standards to ensure they meet or exceed expectations.

In addition, we assessed each company's range of services, from local to long-distance moves, and their ability to handle specialized items such as pianos or antiques. Our team also examined their fleet, ensuring they have the appropriate vehicles and equipment to transport belongings safely. Furthermore, we verified that companies follow best practices, such as providing in-home estimates, supplying moving supplies, and adhering to proper packing and loading techniques.

We analyzed recent customer reviews from popular platforms such as the Better Business Bureau and Google Reviews. This step enabled us to gain valuable insights into the real-life experiences of working with each moving company's staff and crews. We synthesized all this information to provide you with comprehensive and reliable ratings, empowering you to make an informed decision when selecting a moving company.

We then scored each moving company against our review standards for services, contents coverage, scheduling options, additional benefits and custom service options, and reputation among customers to arrive at a final score on a 5-point rating scale.

  • Moving Services (30%)
  • Additional Services (29%)
  • Insurance Coverage (8%)
  • Scheduling (8%)
  • Additional Benefits (13%)
  • Customer Service (12%)

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.