International Van Lines Review 2019

A full-service mover that can take you anywhere—for a price.
International Van Lines Logo
Overall Rating 3.5 out of 5
Nationwide and international availability
Full-service movers with plenty of add-ons
Difficult to get a quote

Moving is just making a long series of decisions. New home or rental? Sell your furniture or bring it with you? Which job or school would be best? And the list goes on.

The last thing you need is another choice to make. But picking the right moving company can make or break your move before it even begins. So while you’ll still have to make the final decision, we broke down everything you could possibly want to know about International Van Lines to make the choice easier for you.

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Our Short and Sweet Review Summary
International Van Lines has strong nationwide availability and a full array of moving services. The blemishes include a not-so-simple quoting process, and slightly higher-than-average prices.

We’ll walk you through the long version so you can find out if International Van Lines is right for you.

What you should know about International Van Lines

International Van Lines is like a big-box store—it’s got everything under one roof. It does residential and commercial moves with all kinds of add-ons, like air-freight, auto transport, and even yacht shipping. (If only you had a yacht to ship, right?)

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a budget mover or a more specialized type of mover, this isn’t it. You may want to check out local movers or pack-it-yourself movers like PODS. But International Van Lines does have a lot going for it.

International Van Lines acts as both a mover and a broker, which explains how it manages to do more than 10,000 moves a year.

The company has its own fleet and movers, but in certain areas, it will contract your move with another company.

We should warn you that there are some complaints on the online forums from customers whose moves have been handed off to unreliable third parties.1

Going with a broker does involve some risk, but if we judged every moving company by the online complaints, we’d all just end up renting our own trucks and calling in favors from our Crossfit friends. (“Hey buddy, lookin’ for a really good workout?”) So take those reviews with a grain of salt.

What you get with International Van Lines

Moving with International Van Lines is a bit like eating at your favorite burrito joint. The basic burrito is good, if a little simple, but you can always add guacamole, extra cheese, and a double serving of carne asada (*drool*) if you’re willing to pay for it.

The basic burrito with International Van Lines comes with a few ingredients:

  • Loading and unloading services
  • Basic furniture assembly and disassembly
  • Basic liability insurance
  • Real-time shipment tracking

This is comparable to other long-distance moving companies, like Two Men and a Truck and Best Interstate Moving and Storage.

Here’s the full menu of International Van Lines basic services and add-ons.

International Van Lines moving services
ServiceCost includedCosts extra
Loading / unloadingYesNo
PackingNoYes
UnpackingNoYes
Fragile-only packingNoYes
Specialty transportNoYes
Furniture assembly / disassemblyYes (for basic furniture)No
Shuttle serviceNoYes
StorageNoYes
Basic liability coverageYesNo
Full valuation coverageNoYes
Shipment trackingYesNo
Free QuotesGet a QuoteGet a Quote

Insurance

International Van Lines basic liability insurance is kind of like that one guy who shows up to your yard sale and low-balls your asking price on your leather sofa. It’s less than what it’s worth, but it’s better than nothin’.

The basic coverage only reimburses you for $0.60 per pound of your goods. (Good luck replacing your flat screen for $30, or your sweet, ultra-light laptop for a buck and some change.)

If you want to upgrade to insurance that will cover everything you own at its true value, you can do that . . . but it’ll cost you. For example, International Van Lines offered full insurance on the goods in my quote (for a 4-bedroom house) for between $3,811 and $6,352, depending on the deductible.

That’s on top of the cost of the move. So if you need it, full insurance is there for you—but it’s not cheap.

Auto transport

International Van Lines offers both domestic and international auto transport with options for door-to-door service, open or closed carriers, and insurance.

While International Van Lines might not be among the best auto transport companies, it’s a convenient option if you’re already using its residential moving services.

Additional fees

Not all moves are created equal. I learned that the hard way back when I lived on the fourth floor of a walk-up in Harlem—that was the last favor those friends ever did for me!

So, it makes sense that International Van Lines charges a bit extra for more difficult moves. More money for more work . . . seems only fair.

Is there more than one flight of stairs in your house or apartment building? If so, then you’ll pay an extra $75. Is your front door far away from the nearest parking spot? That’s another $75. Is your street too small for an 18-wheeler? You might have to pay a $350 shuttle fee.

These fees can add up quickly, so make sure you keep these kinds of things in mind before you schedule your move.

International Van Lines moving experience

Okay, so we know what’s on the International Van Lines menu, but you might be wondering what the food actually tastes like. Here’s a breakdown of a typical move with International Van Lines, from start to finish.

Getting your quote

Unlike United Van Lines, which has an online estimation tool, International Van Lines will make you do a little more homework to get a quote. First, you’ll have to send in an online request and then they’ll call you to ask some follow-up questions.

Here’s an example of a real International Van Lines quote for you. Obviously your move will be different, but this can help you get an idea of costs.

International Van Lines example estimate
Distance of move978 miles (Chicago to Dallas)
Date of moveMarch 2019
Move size4-bedroom house (1210 cubic feet)
Price$5695.00

When I talked with International Van Lines, I told them that I was moving from Chicago to Dallas. I sent them a packing list full of all the items you’d expect to have in a standard four-bedroom home.

At first, the representative quoted my move at $7,510.00. But after I expressed some dissatisfaction at the high cost, he let me know that I could shave off nearly $2,000 if I pushed up the date by just a few days. (It’s true what they say about that squeaky wheel: it gets the discounts).

While my final estimate of $5,695 is cheaper than some premium movers, there’s definitely some budget movers who could go lower.

Prepping your home

If you’re anything like me, your house is not as organized as Marie Kondo would like it to be. It’s probably been a few years since you’ve mucked out the garage and asked yourself if that broken shovel or high-school soccer trophy really bring you joy.

If sorting and packing all your stuff is daunting enough to make you rethink your move altogether, you can always hire International Van Lines movers to do it for you, but it won’t be cheap.

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Heads up!
International Van Lines will charge an extra $150 for “bulky items,” like treadmills, canoes, and other items that cannot be easily stacked.

Otherwise, put aside some time to pack up everything you want to take with you. Since the cost of your move will be calculated in cubic feet, you’re going to want to pack things as efficiently as possible in sturdy, square boxes.

Payment

Parting with your hard-earned money may be the least pleasant part of any move, but it’s easier if you know exactly what you’re getting into. And with International Van Lines, there are a few weird quirks when it comes to payment.

First, you’ll need to pay a security deposit to book your move, which can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand. Second, and this is the wild part, this is the only part of the payment that can be made with a card. The deposit is refundable if you cancel 48 hours before the move.

“…at the time of pick up, be ready to part with 50% of your balance.”

Finally, at the time of pick up, be ready to part with 50% of your balance. This can be paid via cash, cashier’s check, or money order. (And just be aware, you probably won’t encounter this same money weirdness with another company. But it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the hassle.)

Be ready to pay the rest of the amount with cash or money order at the time of drop-off, or the company may hold on to all your worldly possessions until you do. No one needs that.

Moving

Moving day! It’s finally here! International Van Lines keeps logistics simple. The truck will show up, movers will load up your whole life, and they’ll take it to your new home.

You can watch your stuff travel across the country in real time with online shipment tracking. Like many other companies, your move may be combined with other customers, so don’t be surprised if it takes a circuitous route.

For those who can’t wait to get all moved into their new house, International Van Lines offers a “faster transit” option for an extra $1,000. The company doesn’t say exactly how much faster it is, just that it’s faster than the “average window.”

Storing your stuff

Some companies, like Best Interstate Moving and Storage, will offer you free storage time in one of their facilities. This can be helpful for those whose move-out date don’t quite match up with their move-in dates.

With International Van Lines, you’ll need to pay extra for storage. They charge a monthly rate of $0.50 per cubic foot (which is comparatively cheap), and it is calculated from the day of your pickup.

Recap: Is International Van Lines a good mover?

International Van Lines Logo

International Van Lines can be a little pricier than the competition—but think about what you’re getting!—and the experience is pretty customizable.

Services: International Van Lines can go the full nine yards with add-ons like packing, shuttle service, and full valuation insurance. Or you can save money by keeping things simple.

Quotes: You’ll likely end up on the phone with someone before you can get an estimate. The plus side is that talking through everything with a representative may help you get a more accurate quote.

Moving: Nothing fancy here—they’ll take your stuff from point A to point B. If you want them to take your stuff more directly, you can pay for the faster transit option.

Storage: There are cheap storage options for those who aren’t quite ready to move in.

If International Van Lines seems like the company for you, then you can get started on the quote process. Or, you can check out other options for local movers, truck rental companies, or moving container services.

Sources

  1. Consumer Affairs, “International Van Lines