When relocating and hiring a moving company to take you across the country to another state, there are five things you shouldn't do. Some of them might seem obvious, but something as simple as having a pen and paper ready to check off items as they're unloaded from the truck will save you a lot of time and aggravation later on.
Don't Hire a Company That Only Takes Cash
Ask upfront how you can pay the moving fees. While it might not seem like too much of a problem to hand over some large bills, companies that only take cash might also take your stuff and not ever return it. Moving long distances means your things will be out of sight for a while, so you need to be sure that the company is legit.
Don't Pay for the Move Until All Your Belongings Have Been Unloaded
If there are any boxes or items missing, don't sign the paperwork. The move must be completed before you sign. Once you sign that you've received everything, it's hard to go back to the company to say that something is missing. Count the boxes and recount them, making sure you conduct a home inventory. This is your only chance to make sure everything arrived. Also, if there is an issue with the paperwork (see the next point) at least all your things are in your new space and not on the truck. This gives you some leverage with the movers if needed.
Don't Sign Anything That You Don't Understand
While this is true for all moves, long distance moving is even more tricky. Make sure you read everything thoroughly and ask questions when you need clarification. If you see a list of additional fees, ask the mover to explain what each means and how they apply to your move. If in doubt, ask to speak to the manager or supervisor.
Don't Pack Items That Are of High Value and Leave Them With the Mover
Important items, such as your passport, accounting records, school records, jewelry or other things that are critical, should be carried with you, not with the mover. Check out a complete list of what not to pack so critical items aren't lost during the move and items that shouldn't be packed, aren't.
Don't Wait Until a Few Days or Weeks Have Gone by Before You Make a Claim
It is where unpacking after a move and doing it quickly is essential. Often, I'll open every box first to make sure nothing has been damaged during the move before fully unpacking. The longer you wait to make a claim, the less likely it is that your claim will be accepted. For more tips, check out this article on how to file a moving insurance claim after you move.
Ask to see the company's credentials and past references.
Don't Assume That the Movers Provide Enough Insurance
Ask about moving insurance. New federal rules state that a mover must offer you the option of purchasing standard coverage. Most insurance policies are based on weight, not value. Make sure you're fully protected and also if you need to purchase more.
Don't Assume Your Mover Isn't a Broker
Ask up front if your mover is a broker or a moving company. If your moving company is a broker, find out who will be moving your things. Research and investigate both companies. The law states the company has to tell you whether they're hiring another company to do the move.
Don't Let the Mover Manage the Inventory List
Have someone at your old home for when the movers pick up your stuff and someone at the new home for when they are delivered. Everything that goes on and off of the truck should be recorded and checked.