Moving From One State To Another? What Items May Be Restricted?

If you are in the process of selling your current home and purchasing a home in a different state, you may be considering hiring professional movers to help streamline this task and make it less onerous for you and your family. However, there are certain categories and classes of items that may not be appropriate to have moved with the rest of your belongings, or could require specific and special handling -- everything from business records to a wine collection. Read on to learn more about restricted items that could affect your interstate move.

What items legally require special handling when moving from state to state?

There are certain items that are carefully regulated for interstate transport and must be transported separately from household belongings, and then other items where special transport is recommended, but not required. 

Items you are required to pack separately or take special measures in transporting include the following:

  • Confidential business records

If you had a job that required you to maintain custody of confidential paper or electronic business records at home, you will likely be required to take special precautions to secure this data from disclosure. This is particularly important if you work in the medical field and your patient and record transactions are subject to the privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Losing these records in a move or having them damaged could subject you to significant fines or other financial penalties for your HIPAA violation. You are usually better off transporting these items in your personal vehicle if possible, or shipping them through an insured private carrier, rather than transporting them on a moving truck with your other household belongings. 

  • Hazardous materials

Those with a well-stocked mechanic's garage may be disappointed to learn that transporting oil, gasoline, paint, fireworks, and other potentially hazardous materials across state lines may not be permitted. You will want to check the laws of the state to which you're moving to determine exactly how you'll be required to transport these items, or whether you'll need to sell, dispose of, or recycle them instead. 

  • Firearms

If you own a handgun, shotgun, or other firearm, you will be required to register it in your new state, and an existing concealed carry permit may not transfer over to your new residence. While you should be able to obtain a temporary exemption for moving purposes, you'll want to check with your new state's bureau of firearms to determine exactly what legal requirements govern your ownership and ability to transport a firearm in your new state. In many cases, it may be worthwhile to rent a secure storage unit and store your firearm out of state, rather than be forced to sell it or harbor it illegally in a state with strict gun laws.

What items are recommended for special transport?

Most commercial moving companies will refuse to transport certain categories of items that could pose risk of spoilage or damage. These usually include perishables (like refrigerated or fresh food), living plants, pets, or prescription medications. You'll need to make special arrangements for these items or transport them yourself in your personal vehicle. Often, it may be more cost effective to sell or give away items in your old location rather than pay to transport them to your new home. 

You may also seek special transport of priceless heirlooms or high-value fragile items, like a wine collection or expensive electronics. This may be able to be arranged through your primary moving company or through a specialty moving company that focuses only on transport of a few specific items.