Protect Yourself During the Move Process

Moving Resource Center>>Moving Tips

Written by Mary Davis,

It is natural to feel nervous as you start to compare movers and plan your move. The average American moves 11 times in their lifetime, so a move is definitely not something that you do every day. There are steps you can take to be careful, along with checking out websites and organizations that are set up to monitor the moving industry to protect yourself for your move.

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1) Go with your gut. As you explore different moving companies and move-related services you will most likely first speak with someone by phone. Make sure you feel that what they are telling you about their organization seems like it makes sense. Ask how long the company has been in business and how long the person on the phone has been working there. Ask what they like best about the company. Ask these questions to get a feel for the company. Next, try to meet in person with someone from the company. This feels like a hassle but it's really important. All of your belongings are going to be in their possession for a brief time so you will want to look someone in the eye.

2) Understand the bad scenario before there is one. As you are getting a feel for the different movers, be sure to ask about the process for filing a claim in case of broken, stolen, or lost items during the move. You will want to watch for their reaction and how the mover handles this question. You could ask for a specific person who you could talk to at the company and a phone number. You will feel more at ease knowing about this route before it is ever a problem. 

3) Make sure to research the company. There are a lot of places where you can search online to check on a mover. You can look at the Better Business Bureau to check for complaints. A good rule of thumb is that anything over 3 complaints per year might be a red flag or something where you should inquire. Ask for the mover's US Department of Transportation number (USDOT) and their Motor Carrier number (MC) and do a search online to see if these numbers are legitimate and if they have had any complaints through any government agency. Again, if you see more than 3 complaints per year you will want to ask about this. You can also check the American Moving and Storage Association for any thoughts on the mover. These websites will help you understand if you are working with professional movers that are licensed. 

4) Take the time to get three different written in-home estimates. It is important to get a written in-home estimate so you can look the mover in the eye, but it's also important so you are all on the same page with your belongings and there aren't any surprises on moving day. The moving company wants to be sure to evaluate your belongings to give the right estimate. You could be forgetting about extra furniture stored in the garage or keepsakes in the attic. Make sure to have a professional do an evaluation of your inventory to get the right estimate.

5) Consider moving insurance for full value protection. The required minimum coverage for belongings is only 60 cents per pound. Think about the true cost of heavier electronics and look at getting insurance for your move. Again, make sure to understand any bad scenario before there is one. Coordinating moving insurance will put your mind at ease and help you know that there will be someone else you can turn to beyond the mover if something goes wrong. 

Here are some great organizations and websites to check out for your move:
Protect Your Move
Check your state’s movers association
Better Business Bureau
American Moving and Storage Association

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