From buying moving insurance to vetting movers, there are several ways to protect your move from scams. Sadly, not everyone is cautious when hiring a mover and this is one of the reasons for moving nightmare.
Each year, there are thousands of complaints filed against moving companies. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mentioned that more than 3,600 consumers filed moving complaints about moving scams back in 2016. Among those complaints, 39% focused on loss or damaged property; 37% on overcharges; and 15% focused on a hostage case where their belongings are held hostage by movers.
Having this in mind, below are 10 professional tips that will hopefully save you from falling victim. Good luck and have a sweet move.
How to Protect Your Move
To remain safe, you importantly need to take some precautionary measures. The measures will make sure all your belongings are safe and secure in the moving process. And, yes, we will be helping you do that.
The tips below will make sure of the safety for all your items:
1. Carefully Select your Mover
Don’t just hire anyone to take care of your precious household goods. Finding a reliable and trusted long-distance mover is the most vital step when you are protecting your relocation. To avoid scams and rogue moving companies, first find out if the company is licensed properly.
Every professional long-distance mover should possess a license number given to them by the USDOT. Local moving companies must possess licenses by the state.
You can verify the license number of a mover as well as its complaint history here. Before you hire movers, make sure you also get quotes from at least 4 different full service moving companies. Make sure all moving estimates are based on an in-person survey or a video inspection of your household. Don’t only take an estimate from a mover via the phone or online, also call for in-house estimate. With this, you can negotiate with your movers to choose the best.
2. Research what is Covered and not Covered in the Valuation
Firstly, you should understand that valuation coverage is different from moving insurance. So before you move, make sure you perform your research on valuation coverage to determine its work and (most importantly) doesn’t cover. While you may assume that all your items are covered by valuation during a move, the case may be different.
For instance, if you pack yourself, it may be hard to file a claim against a moving company for any belongings damaged in those moving boxes. In addition, your moving company may not be liable for Mother Nature (such as a tornado, fire, and so on).
Check this article on How Moving Insurance Works to get more information on valuation coverage.
3. Request for Specifics of your Existing Homeowner’s Policy
Before buying extra moving insurance, find out what your homeowner’s coverage covers. Usually, household belongings in transit are not covered by homeowner’s insurance, and instead just covering while they are inside your home.
4. Consider Extra Value Protection
The moving company must handle your belongings with care, but accidents do happen sometimes. The best way to be ready for these situations is to get added value protection. Even though this may look unnecessary of an expense to you, you will be happy to have it if any of your valuable belongings get lost or broken.
The moving industry doesn’t always follow the ‘you break it; you buy; rules. Most often, movers are only required to pay a small amount of money for a customer’s damaged items. We in the State of Texas are only asked to pay $0.60 per pound; which will calculate to only a few amounts of dollars if any fragile, but costly item gets damaged.
5. Create a List of Items
Before you move your belongings out to a moving vehicle, ensure you have a comprehensive inventory of all your belongings. Consider creating a spreadsheet with the quantity, description, as well as photos of all the belongings. While this might cost you extra effort, taking inventory would simplify and make your move easier.
In addition, it would help you figure out missing items. Also, if your current security provider provides services in the new area, ensure your inventory includes all the features of the security system.
So, prepare a record of this equipment:
Remember that moving policies vary based on provider.
6. Take Pictures of all Items before Moving
Before you pack all your items, take pictures of all your shipments. This way, if you need to file a claim you can then present a before and after photo of the damaged belongings. Having photo evidence with you will help build a strong case and will hold the moving company accountable for its actions.
7. Use the Perfect Boxes
Before packing anything, always ensure that you have the right boxes for the belongings you are packing. If the movers are packing your entire belongings for you, it will not be a huge problem. If you are packing your items yourself, you need to think of the boxes to get. Start with the measurements of the boxes. You may consider big is better; however, when you have many small and fragile belongings, packing them in one big box is not safe at all.
If you do this, some of your belongings could break or get damaged if large and heavier items are packed on top. You should pack smaller belongings in different small boxes and leave large and heavier belongings in larger boxes. In addition, get moving boxes in various sizes. Also, pack items in the perfect box. For instance, pack your TV into the box that it originally arrives in. So, we hope that you still have it saved in your garage.
For your highly fragile set of china, buy a sturdy box that has been specifically designed for fragile items. If you have old moving boxes in the garage, you are considering using, and then you should rethink. If these boxes are gotten from liquor or grocery stores, they might not be as sturdy and may fall apart during your move. You need solid moving boxes to prevent damage to your stuff during the move.
8. Don’t forget Padding
You will surely need padding, especially for your fragile and breakable belongings. Remember that padding is essential in case the box is not filled up. You don’t want the delicate belongings to slide around in a box because this can lead to breakage. Bubble wrap and foam peanuts are popularly used to keep fragile items safe. To pack bowls, platters, plates, and other dishes you could apply plain newsprint or tissue paper. On the contrary, if your budget is not accommodating, you may apply blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, comforters, and T-Shirts. These items can give the required cushioning.
9. Be Careful of Red Flags
When hiring a mover, always be cautious of red flags. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says consumers should search for these specific red flags of moving scam:
- The moving company doesn’t agree to an on-site survey
- The moving company claims they will calculate the charges after loading
- The moving company ask for cash or a huge deposit in advance
- The moving company asks you to sign empty or incomplete documents
- The moving company don’t have a local address and/or an official company-owned moving vehicle
- The moving company won’t give a written estimate
- The moving company doesn’t give you a copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities
- The moving company claims their insurance cover all items
10. Pack with Care and Strategy
Finally, the easiest protective means is to just pack all of your belongings with care and safety. This will prevent any items from breaking while your goods are on the trip. To have successful packing, make use of the right moving boxes, protective materials, and packing supplies.
We’ve compiled these 9 packing tips to assist you to get you ready for your move and make sure that your household goods or office equipment are safe and protected.
- Pack heavier belongings at the bottom: Top-heavy moving boxes and containers don’t have much balancing and will likely shift or trip over while on the move. Together with these, if you are loading your moving truck yourself, make sure heavier boxes are packed lower and along the front of the cab.
- Fill empty spaces: By tightly packing each box with towels, clothing, newspaper, or other packing materials, you safeguard the contents of your packed boxes from tripping or shifting during your move.
- Don’t over-pack: Try to put not more than 50 pounds of items in each box. You may not be able to do this with larger belongings and appliances but your loading will be easily and smoothly done when you pack lighter belongings (such as linens and pillows) in larger moving boxes and heavier belongings (such as books) in smaller moving boxes.
- Thoroughly tape each box: Together with supporting the seams and edges of all the boxes, it is also better to wrap around the sides of heavier moving boxes with tape, since then the area sees more stress.
- Bundle break altogether with wrapping paper around every dish, wrap them in fives together using more paper. Make sure you pack your dishes on their sides, to save them, from impact and vertical pressure. When packing delicate glasses and stemware, try buying specialized boxes made with these items with you.
- Label carefully: Listing the contents of every box on an external label makes it very easy for you or your movers to load and unload the moving truck and take care of each box with the needed care. Make sure you mark all delicate items appropriately with the red delicate tape or stickers to ensure they can be easily identified.
- Keep your paintings and mirrors safe: Your glass artwork can shift around in transit. Paste maxing tape in an X pattern on the glass to avoid sliding and protect against injury if the glass should break on the move. Then use bubble wrap or paper to wrap all mirrors and framed pictures. Lastly, keep them in a frame box, with cardboard placed between the framed pieces for added protection.
- Use original cartons for electronics: When you are packing and moving delicate electronics such as computers and televisions, the original containers are the best compared to any protective packaging you can purchase since they were made with each different item in mind. If you are unable to get the original boxes and Styrofoam forms, pick a box that is a bit larger than your content, and protect it with bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts before and after storing each.
- Wrap fragile furniture: Before you load your furniture into the moving truck, make sure you protect all casters, legs, and surfaces that can get scratched using bubble wrap or stretchable plastic to safeguard from them impact damage. Wrapping belongings like dressers, desks, or wardrobes also helps to safeguard drawers and doors from opening on the move. Immediately these protective measures are out in place, make sure you cover every item using a moving blanket.
Don’t fall victim to rogue and unreliable moving companies. Try out the simple tricks we have mentioned in this guide before your upcoming move. You may spend a lot of time getting ready for your move but it will surely worth it in the long run when your family has successfully moved to your new home.