Moving is notoriously stressful. When you’ve got plenty of expected things to tackle, the last thing you need is dealing with the unexpected.
In short, before you rip open the bubble wrap, it’s helpful to know what’s covered by insurance and what’s not. This can help minimize costs should there be an accident. Thinking ahead of possible scenarios can minimize costs and avoid other issues that could occur.
Work with your insurance agent to ensure that your homeowners’ policy covers both the home you are vacating, right up to the minute you leave, and your new home, starting the moment you arrive.
As you research movers, be sure to scope out the different types of insurance you want. Typically, movers offer two types of moving coverage: a basic policy and full value protection. Decide which you need based on the value and amount of goods you are moving.
Consider hiring specialty packers and movers for very valuable or fragile goods such as art, antiques, heirloom china, very expensive electronics, professional equipment and musical instruments.
As for the usual sofas, dressers, tables and boxes, here’s a short list of items to remember.
Runaway furniture. Usually, movers use dollies to get heavy furniture and boxes up and down ramps. Furniture can tip over, breaking porch railings or bushes. Top-heavy stacks of furniture can careen off the narrow ramps, falling into the street. Expect to pay more to move heavy furniture carefully. But you can also make the process of moving heavier items easier by double-checking that drawers are empty or removing them. Some furniture can be moved in sections. Just remember to place screws and other hardware that connect pieces in an easy-to-find bag or container. That will make reassembly easier.
Dings, dents and chips. Whether you’re selling your house or leaving a rental, the place has to be in the condition that the next owner or renter expects. Moving stuff can chip paint, ding woodwork and loosen door hardware. It’s smart to take “before” photos of halls, doors, entryways and porches so you can document the source of any damage discovered after you leave. That way you’ll pay only for damage caused in the move, not for old damage newly uncovered.
Prickly plants. Some houseplants can cause skin irritations or allergies. Water your plants the day before you move, then lower them into plastic bags and loosely tie the tops. Carry the plants to your car by the bag knots so they stay upright and don’t come in contact with anyone involved in the move.
Injuries. Of course, you went with a moving company that has full coverage for its workers, equipment and truck. But what if a mover trips over loose carpet and takes a bad fall? Minimize the chance of injury first by clearing away all debris, then by double-checking carpet, thresholds, railings, doorstops and other potential trip hazards.
Neighbors’ property. Especially in apartment and condo buildings, neighbors may be inconvenienced by your move. Let them know in advance so they can plan accordingly. Ask them to remove any gear they habitually leave in the hall or other common areas so it won’t be in the way.
Hidden HOA hazards. Homeowners’ associations are notorious for picky rules. For instance, some homeowners’ associations have hidden sprinkler systems that can be damaged by heavy vehicles such as moving trucks parking on them. Be sure you get the move-in or move-out guidelines well in advance and send a copy to your movers. Have another copy in your hand the day of the move so you can be sure you’re sticking to the rules, to help avoid and upset any new or old neighbors.
Moving violations. Some municipalities have strict rules for street parking and alley access. Find out in advance if you must comply with hours, location or other requirements so you can guide the movers in plenty of time. Not only will you avoid fines, you’ll also minimize the chance of an accident should the movers have to halt halfway through to relocate their truck and gear.
Family-protection. Don’t forget – you are also moving yourself, your family and your pets. Arrange to have pets and small children cared for off-site so they aren’t underfoot. Before the movers arrive, scope out the house for stray toys. Clean and dry the pet food area. Discard the cat’s litter box.
Clean remaining trash and debris. In your final review of your now-empty former home, pick up litter and be sure that any broken items are properly discarded. Sweep up loose debris. Leaving a clean, hazard-free space protects you and extends courtesy to the next person through the door.