Tips For Protecting Your Belongings During A Move

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Moving is a major undertaking and in the process your belongings can easily become damaged.  But, there are ways to avoid that.  If you’re worried about your expensive crystal champagne flutes or your grandmother’s antique clock surviving intact, here are some tips to help you get your belongings through the move unscathed:

1. Start with proper boxes.
Before packing anything, make sure you have the right boxes for the type of items you’re packing.  If your moving company is packing up everything for you, it won’t be a problem.  But if you’re doing the packing yourself, you should carefully consider which boxes to get.  Start with the size of your boxes. You might think, “big is better” but when you have a lot of small, fragile things it’s not safe to pack them up in a big box.  Doing this could cause them to break if large heavier items are packed on top of them.  You need to pack small items in separate smaller boxes and large heavier items in larger boxes. Get boxes in several different sizes.  Also, pack things in the appropriate type of box. If you need to pack up your TV, it should be packed into the box it came in, so I hope you saved it.  On the other hand, for a very delicate set of china, buy a sturdy box that has been specifically designed for protecting dishes.  If you’ve got some old boxes in your garage you’re thinking about using, think again.  If they’re boxes from grocery or liquor stores they may have gotten damp or wet, and in that case they’ll likely fall apart during the move, damaging your items. You need strong solid boxes.

2. Use padding.
You are definitely going to need padding for your breakable items.  Padding is a must if the box isn’t completely filled up.  You don’t want your fragile items shifting around in the box because this could cause them to break.  Foam peanuts and bubble wrap are commonly used for breakable items. For packing plates, platters, bowls, and other dishes you can use plain newsprint or tissue paper.  If you’re on a tight budget, you can simply use comforters, blankets, pillows, T-shirts and/or stuffed animals.  These can definitely provide the cushioning you need.

3. Check your insurance coverage.
Check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to see if your belongings are covered, either fully or partially, during a move.  Call your insurance agent to get a clear understanding of exactly what you are covered for.  If you do not have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, or the policy you do have does not cover your possessions while in transit, what should you do?  If you are moving state-to- state, you will be covered. Federal law requires that a registered moving company offer two kinds of liability coverage, as follows:

  • Released Value Coverage – This is included with your move at no extra cost. With this you would be reimbursed up to 60 cents per pound.
  • Full Value Coverage – This would cost you extra, about 1% of the total value of the possessions being moved, and gives you fuller protection.  There are more layers of coverage that you can purchase through third-party insurance companies, but these would be at a higher price.

For more information from the FMCSA on your options for Valuation Protection and Insurance go to www.fmcsa.dot.gov/protect-your-move/valuation-insurance

4. Your valuables should remain with you.
Keep your cash, checkbooks, credit cards, passports, birth certificates, irreplaceable photos, financial papers, jewelry, coin collections, vital documents, etc. with you at all times during the move, unless you know of a safe way to ship them separately.

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