Whether you need to move a family heirloom dresser or a collection of heritage china, relocating with antiques poses a lot of challenges.
One of the most important factors to consider when hiring an antiques or fine art mover is the company’s available moving insurance or liability coverage. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) requires all licensed carriers to hold at least limited liability, which covers items at $0.60 per pound per item. But we recommend companies that offer additional coverage options.
There are plenty of moving companies that claim to provide reputable services for packing and moving precious antique furniture and fine art, but which ones are legit? The This Old House Reviews Team has conducted research on the top moving companies in the United States to help you determine the best moving companies for antiques based on their costs, services, and expertise.
6 Best Antique Moving Companies
Based on our in-depth analysis, we find the following providers to be the best antique moving companies:
|IVL||Best Full-Service Mover||888-375-6309|
|American||Most Experienced Mover||877-960-3186|
|Moving APT||Best Customer Service||855-910-1001|
|JK Moving||Most Customizable||571-487-8929|
|NAVL||Best for Claims||877-624-0912|
|Allied||Best for Vehicle Relocation||877-483-9424|
|PACK-RAT||Best Self-Service Mover|
International Van Lines
Our Take: Best Overall Full-Service Mover
International Van Lines (IVL) is our top choice for a professional antiques mover, offering affordable rates for a wide selection of full-service options and specialty services for antiques, recreational equipment, and artwork.
International Van Lines operates in all 50 states and 180 countries. Keep in mind that IVL is licensed as both a moving carrier and broker. If your move falls outside of areas IVL holds a carrier license, it may act as a broker and outsource your move to a partnered company.
Pros & Cons
✔ Provides multiple coverage plans
✔ Offers an adjustable contents protection plan
✔ Offers specialty services for moving antiques, pianos, recreational equipment, and artwork
✘ Online pricing is limited
✘ Requires an up-front deposit of 25%
IVL is a full-service mover, which means it can handle almost every part of your move for you. You mix and match service options to create a custom moving package based on your needs and budget.
Among IVL’s specialty services for antiques is crating. Crates are sturdy wooden containers used to keep special belongings safe during transport until they reach your new home. Crating charges are based on the item. For example, crating a grand piano can cost $2,500, whereas crating a painting might cost $150. Discuss the items you would like to have crated with IVL in advance.
IVL’s limited liability plan is included with your moving package at no extra cost, while its full-value protection plan covers the actual value of your belongings based on a coverage cap.
We obtained a quote from International Van Lines to move a three-bedroom home from Dallas to Phoenix within three months for a total of $4,200–$6,150. The lower end of this range includes only loading services and transportation, while adding specialty services for antiques would bring the price closer to $6,150.
To see how International Van Lines can safely transport your antiques, fill out this easy-to-use form.
Learn more: International Van Lines Review
American Van Lines
Our Take: Most Experienced Moving Labor
Not only does American Van Lines (AVL) specialize in moving antiques, pianos, and fine art, it has some of the most experienced movers in the industry. This carrier-only company hires only full-time movers, who have an average of 10 years of moving experience and are trained annually in the company’s own facility.
AVL provides its services in 48 states. It is not available in Alaska and Hawaii.
Pros & Cons
✔ Features a price-matching policy
✔ Offers highly experienced movers
✔ Made it into Newsweek’s Best Customer Service Awards for 2021
✘ Doesn’t provide online moving quotes
✘ Requires a 10%–50% up-front deposit
AVL provides many industry-standard full-service options, but it operates entirely in-house, meaning that when you hire AVL, you get only AVL movers. This includes services such as packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, and specialty services for pianos, recreational equipment, and antiques.
AVL employs certified antiques and piano movers, who are versed in the proper dismantling techniques of all pianos types including grand, vertical, electrical, and digital pianos. The company even boasts that its antique moving division has moved collections of items from museums.
The company provides two valuation coverage options, including the minimum Released Value Protection. AVL’s Full-Value Protection plan covers the actual value of items. You may also opt to have this plan cover items only of “extraordinary value,” which AVL designates as $100 or more. This plan allows you to have an antique repaired or replaced, or you can receive a cash settlement based on the market value of your antique if it is damaged or lost.
American Van Lines provides binding estimates through in-home or virtual surveys. Because of this, the company does not provide any online pricing information aside from what is available on its moving cost page. AVL estimates that moving a three-bedroom home (or 10,000 pounds) from Dallas to Phoenix would cost $6,970. This is based on the average cost of other AVL moves with this criteria.
To get a free quote from American Van Lines, get in touch with the company by filling out this online survey.
Learn More: American Van Lines Review
Our Take: Best Customer Service
Moving APT is a great choice for anyone needing help finding the right antiques mover. Unlike the other providers in this guide, Moving APT is strictly a moving broker. This means that the company works to connect customers with appropriate local movers based on their specific needs. You can contact Moving APT with your relocation details, and the company will coordinate your move using one of the more than 2,500 independent agents in its network.
Pros & Cons
✔ Can connect you with pro movers that can create custom crates for fragile antiques
✔ Will leverage its network of movers to find you the lowest price
✔ Provides discounts on local moves of less than 50 miles
✘ Will not cover items broken, damaged, or lost by in-network moving companies
✘ Will not refund deposit for cancellations made fewer than seven days before your scheduled moving date
Moving APT operates traditional full- and partial-service moving packages. Both types of packages can be customized through optional services. Customers can choose from add-on services like storage, car and boat shipping, and appliance disconnection and reconnection.
We used Moving APT’s online calculator and received a quote of $5,000 for a three-bedroom relocation from Phoenix to Dallas. The online quote is only a general estimate, so you will need to contact the company with specific details of your move to get more accurate pricing. Moving APT will give you a binding estimate — the exact price you can plan on paying — after a virtual review of your home and moving inventory.
Take this quick questionnaire to get started with Moving APT.
Learn More: Moving APT Review
JK Moving Services
Our Take: Most Customizable Full-Service Mover
JK Moving Services focuses on providing customizable, full-service moving packages based on your budget and needs. The company provides a personal moving coordinator who helps create a moving package for each customer based on their information.
JK Moving also offers a financing option through Enhancify. Through this service, customers can connect with a variety of loan providers who offer different interest rates and repayment terms to choose from. Some customers may receive interest rates as low as 0%.* Between its customization and financing, you can professionally ship your antiques without having to pay out large sums of cash.
JK Moving helps with interstate moves in all 50 states. The mover services local moves only in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
*Subject to credit approval
Pros & Cons
✔ Offers financing through Enhancify
✔ Offers a useful mobile app for virtual surveys and GPS tracking
✔ Provides personal moving coordinators and 24/7 customer support
✘ Doesn’t provide online pricing
✘ Local moves are only available in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia
JK Moving offers a wide selection of full-service moving options. A personal moving coordinator collects information about your moving needs and your budget during the quote process. Based on this information, they help create a custom moving package, including services like custom crating and specialty services for antiques.
JK Moving provides two valuation coverage plans: Carrier Standard Liability and Replacement Value. The company provides the minimum legal requirement for coverage through its Carrier Standard Liability. Its Replacement Value plan covers the value of items based on a custom deductible. This starts at a minimum of $6 per pound for a deductible of $15,000.
JK Moving primarily deals with binding estimates to help you avoid any hidden costs during your move. JK Moving did supply us with a ballpark quote for a two-bedroom home (or 10,400 pounds) moving from Atlanta to Chicago for $7,521. Services in this quote include furniture disassembly, wrapping and padding, loading, unloading, and a full-value protection plan. It does not include any specialty services for antiques.
To get in touch with a personal JK moving coordinator, fill out this easy-to-use form.
Learn more: JK Moving Review
Allied Van Lines
Our Take: Best for Vehicle Relocation
If you want to ship a classic, antique, or exotic car, we recommend Allied Van Lines. Allied Van Lines is a full-service mover that offers the rare perk of conducting its vehicle relocation services using its own trucks. Many moving companies tend to outsource this task to other companies, but Allied uses its own employees and provides GPS tracking on your shipment.
As a licensed broker-carrier, Allied Van Lines provides services in all 50 states and 130 countries.
Pros & Cons
✔ Partners with the Salvation Army to help donate unwanted items
✔ Offers in-house vehicle shipping services
✔ Offers short-term and long-term storage services
✘ Storage options vary according to location
✘ Customer reviews mention a difficult contents protection claims process
Allied Van Lines offers a large selection of full-service moving options. The company offers some services ideal for antiques, including its fragile-only packing service. With this service, you pack most of your belongings while Allied packs your difficult and delicate items. The company also features a portable storage container service similar to 1-800-PACK-RAT called Allied Express.
Allied provides moving liability coverage through two plans: the Basic Liability Protection Plan and The Extra Care Protection plan, which covers the actual value of your items rather than protecting them based on weight.
But where Allied stands out is its vehicle transportation services. The company has both open and enclosed carriers available for vehicles, using the latter to carry vintage, luxury, and exotic cars. Though this service can be up to 80% more expensive than open carriers, it is an excellent way to protect specialty vehicles from debris and harsh weather conditions.
Allied also offers up to $100,000 valuation at zero deductible per vehicle, and the valuation will be included on your auto shipping quote.
Allied Van Lines provides binding estimates, which means your moving price won’t drastically change despite unexpected events. We received a quote from Allied to move a three-bedroom home from Dallas to Phoenix with an average number of belongings for $7,000–$7,736. To get a binding estimate with Allied, you must conduct an in-home or virtual survey.
To schedule a virtual survey with Allied Van Lines, provide some brief information here.
Learn More: Allied Van Lines Review
North American Van Lines
Our Take: Best for Claims
We recently conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers who had moved within the last five years. We found that among those that employed full-service movers, 65% opted to purchase additional liability coverage (above the legally required amount). Of those, more than half had to file a claim for lost or damaged items.
If you find yourself in this unenviable position, North American Van Lines (NAVL) offers added financial peace of mind for your antiques through its detailed and transparent contents protection claims process.
NAVL helps with local and long-distance moves in all 50 states as well as 130 countries.
Pros & Cons
✔ Offers a detailed and accessible claims process
✔ Offers custom packing solutions for difficult and fragile items
✔ Provides a personal moving agent from a network of more than 500 agent locations
✘ Storage options may be limited based on location
✘ Some customer reviews mention having difficulties with their assigned moving agent
NAVL is a full-service moving company. It provides services such as packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking. The company also offers a wide selection of packing supplies, and its fragile-only packing option can help you create custom packing solutions for items such as antiques.
NAVL offers custom full-value release plans. These plans provide you with coverage and compensation for the actual value of certain items rather than a predetermined amount. In the rare occurrence that something goes wrong during your move, you will be reimbursed through repair, replacement, or a cash settlement for the actual value of your antiques.
NAVL also makes its claims process easier than some competitors by providing links to its claims forms across its website. We found NAVL’s claims forms were detailed and clear, so you are able to provide ample information to receive proper compensation. The company also features two separate customer support lines for domestic and international claims.
North American Van Lines estimates it would cost $6,971–$7,703 to move a three-bedroom home with an average amount of belongings from Dallas to Phoenix. NAVL also offers binding estimates through in-home visits and virtual surveys. A binding estimate provides more accurate pricing that does not drastically change despite unexpected events or hold-ups during the move.
To see how North American Van Lines helps with antiques, complete this brief form.
Learn More: North American Van Lines Review
How to Pick a Good Antique Moving Company
A major part of properly transporting antiques is picking the right moving company for the job. Unfortunately, there are some scammers in the moving industry, but we are here to help. Here are some of the major factors to look out for and steps to take when picking a good moving company.
1. Look Up a Company’s USDOT Number
“The moving industry is heavily scrutinized and regulated. Generally, unlicensed companies are the ones who develop bad reputations for the industry,” Mike Scott, a partner of Capital Moving in Raleigh, N.C., told us. He continued on to advise customers to check to make sure that moving companies are properly licensed, bonded, and insured for the type of move you are asking them to help with.
An easy way to check this information is to ask the company for its USDOT number. Once you have a company’s USDOT number, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website to look up the company’s licenses. All companies on this list are properly licensed, bonded, and insured.
2. Ask for a Binding Estimate
If a company does not offer binding estimates through either in-home or virtual surveys, this may be a red flag. A binding estimate is a price that will not change over the course of your move, given that your inventory remains the same.
A reputable company should have enough years of experience to be able to review your itemized list of belongings, as well as any barriers in your home (such as stairs or parking availability), estimate the time and cost of your move, and stick to the binding estimate.
3. Review Valuation Options
Your mover is liable for the value of the goods you ask to transport. However, there are different levels of liability coverage which will determine the amount and type of reimbursement you will receive if an item is lost or damaged.
Under federal law, interstate movers must offer two different liability options referred to as valuation coverage: released-value and full-value protection. A released-value plan should cover $0.60 per pound per item. Companies should also provide a full-value plan that covers the actual value of your items either based on declared value or a higher coverage cap based on weight. Prices for these types of coverage will vary.
4. Read Customer Service Reviews
We reviewed hundreds of customer reviews on popular reviews sites, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Yelp, TrustPilot, and more. This is an effective way to obtain a realistic perspective of what it is like to deal with a company’s customer service. We suggest you look through a few different customer review websites for both positive and negative reviews to understand what it is like to purchase services from a mover.
5. Gather Multiple Quotes for Comparison
|International Van Lines||Best Full-Service Mover|
|American Van Lines||Most Experienced Mover|
|Moving APT||Best Customer Service|
|JK Moving Services||Most Customizable|
|Allied Van Lines||Best for Vehicle Relocation|
|North American Van Lines||Best for Claims|
|1-800-PACK-RAT||Best Self-Service Mover|
FAQs About Antique Moving Companies
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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.