Questions to Ask a Moving Company Before an International Move

Questions to Ask Movers Before International Move

Moving abroad can be a complicated process. You will need to gain knowledge about some of the intricacies involved with relocating abroad, and you will need to know some of the working practices of the mover that you are going to hire.

So, before choosing a moving company, you must evaluate their services, their knowledge of customs and duties, their familiarity with your destination country, their claims and damage handling procedure, their network of affiliates and partners in your destination country, etc.

Here we have listed a few essential questions to help you better understand the professional moving company. The responses will help you make an informed decision in selecting the right partner for your international move.

#1 Are you licensed to handle international moving services?

While choosing a moving company, make sure that it is licensed and accredited to handle international moving services. 

A licensed company will have the necessary permits and approvals to move your belongings across borders and handle customs and import/export regulations. 

#2 How long have you been in this moving business?

The period of time a moving company has been in business can indicate its experience and reliability. On the other hand, a newer company may still be working to establish itself and may have less experience. 

Other factors to consider while choosing a moving company are their reputation, the quality of their services, professionalism, company's performance etc.

#3 What type of insurance coverage do you offer?

Protecting your belongings during an international move is always a good idea. Before choosing a moving company, ask about their insurance options and whether they provide any coverage as part of their standard services. If not, you will have to purchase additional coverage through a third-party provider. 

Some common types of insurance for international moves include:

  • Transit Insurance: This is the coverage for damages caused during transit. It will not cover damage caused to your belongings before or after transportation. 

  • All-Inclusive or Comprehensive Insurance: covers any claim against damages during the entire shifting process, including packing, loading, transporting, and unloading.

  • Third-party insurance: You may also have the option to purchase additional insurance through a third-party provider. This can provide more comprehensive coverage and may offer more options for customization.

#4 Do you offer door-to-door service?

Not all moving companies offer door-to-door service. For example, some companies offer only terminal-to-terminal service, which means you will need to drop off your belongings at a shipping terminal or warehouse and then arrange for their delivery at the destination. 

Make sure you ask the moving company whether they offer this service or charge an additional fee.

Read about how to prepare for an international move in 11 simple steps.

#5 How do you handle customs and import/export regulations?

Handling customs and import/export regulations can be complex and time-consuming when moving internationally. You can ask a few questions to the relocation company like:

  • The moving company’s experience and expertise in this area. 

  • Do they have any resources or specialists on staff who can help you navigate the process? 

  • Do they have a proven track record of successfully handling customs and import/export regulations for previous customers?

  • Check if they have a system for addressing and resolving problems.

  • How they deal with contingency issues like delays.

Understanding the company's handling of these issues can help you feel more prepared and reassured during the moving process.

#6 What modes of transit options are available?

Ask about the mode of transportation the company will use to move your belongings. Will they be shipped by sea or air, or will they be transported by truck? 

Different modes of transportation have different advantages and costs, so it's important to understand what will work best for your needs.

#7 What will be the duration of the international move?

The duration of an international move can vary depending on several factors, including the distance, the mode of transportation, and any potential delays or issues that may arise. Some international moves can take just a few days, while others may take several weeks or longer.

It's important to ask the moving company about their estimated timeline for your specific move. 

Take Note: In some cases, your goods may need to be stored for a while during an international move, like in cases where there is a delay in transportation or if you are not ready to receive them at your destination. Make sure to ask the moving company about their storage options and any associated fees.

#8 What services are included in the estimate, and what costs extra? 

Some companies may offer a full range of services, including packing, loading, transportation, and unpacking. Others may offer a more limited range of services, such as transportation. 

Make sure to get a detailed list of all services and fees so that you have a clear understanding of the total cost of your move.

Take Note: Enquire about additional fees that may apply, such as fuel surcharges, port fees, cost of goods based on their weight, and customs duties.

Also read: Costs to consider when moving abroad.

#9 Are there any restrictions on the types of goods that can be moved?

There are restrictions on certain types of goods, and they cannot be moved internationally. This varies depending on the laws and regulations of your destination country. 

Some items may be restricted or banned, and you may need to provide certain documentation or pay duties or taxes on certain items.

Some common types of items that may be restricted or banned to move to include:

  • Firearms and weapons

  • Controlled or illegal substances

  • Live animals

  • Plant material

  • Perishable goods

  • Cultural artefacts

#10 How can I track my goods in real-time?

Ask the moving company questions about their process for tracking your belongings during the move, such as:

  • Do they have a system for keeping track of your belongings as they are loaded onto the truck or shipped overseas? 

  • Will they provide you with updates on the status of your move?

#11 Do you handle the entire move, or will it involve multiple companies?

Some companies may handle all aspects of the move, from packing and loading to transportation and delivery, while others may subcontract certain services to other companies.

It's important to ask the mover about their specific roles and responsibilities and if they involve multiple companies, how they will coordinate with one another. 

Make sure to also ask about the process for communication and updates during the move and who to contact in case of any issues or questions.

#12 Do you give references?

It can be helpful to ask the moving company for references from past customers to understand their performance and reliability. 

Past customers can provide valuable insight into the quality of the company's services and their overall experience with the company.

Take Note: Check reviews from various sources, such as the company's website, consumer reviews, and social media platforms. This can help you to get a more well-rounded view of the company's reputation and performance.

#13 How will the company handle any issues that may arise during the move?

It's natural to have concerns about potential issues that may arise during an international move, such as lost or damaged items. 

Ask the moving company about their process for handling any issues that may come up during the move. Enquire if they have a system in place for addressing and resolving problems.

Remember to pack your essentials separately to have a comfortable first few days once you arrive at the new place.

#14 How will the company handle payment and billing?

Ask about the company's policies and procedures for payment and billing. Before choosing a mover, make sure you understand things like:

  • How much of a deposit do they require upfront. 

  • How will they handle the final payment? 

  • Will they provide you with a detailed invoice or receipt?


It is important to do thorough research and ask the right questions when choosing a moving company for an international move. Asking about the company's experience with international moves, their credentials and certifications, and their insurance coverage can give you peace of mind and help ensure a smooth and successful move.

It is also important to ask about the details of the move, such as the estimated cost, the mode of transportation, and the expected delivery time. By asking these questions and gathering as much information as possible, you can make an informed decision and choose a reputable and reliable moving company for your international move.

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