How to File a Moving Insurance Claim When Your Stuff Goes Missing

Get Reimbursed When Movers Break or Lose Items

Broken Dishes after Moving

Shawna Lemay / Moment Open / Getty Images

If you purchased moving insurance, and some of your items are missing or damaged, then you need to submit a claim. Be aware that this will take time, patience and persistence to get the claim through. Some movers are really easy to work with, while others may try to avoid paying. If you obtained extra just to make sure you had enough insurance, or have insurance through another agency, check over your records and moving paperwork to make sure you're properly covered.

To find out more about purchasing insurance and whether you need additional coverage, check out the article Should You Purchase Moving Insurance? You should also know the types of insurance you can purchase before you move.

Filing a Claim With the Moving Company

If you have to submit a claim, make sure you have a signed inventory sheet. This is something that you should've received from the movers, a moving company document that listed all your items. If you find that there are missing items or stuff broken before the movers leave, make sure you note this on the inventory sheet before you sign it - don't sign an incomplete inventory sheet or the mover could claim that all your stuff was moved in without any problems. Check off each item as it's moved out of your home and into your new space. The inventory sheets should match - stuff that got moved out should be moved in. So report the facts of the damage in detail on the original inventory sheet.

It's also a good idea to take photos of the broken items and how it appeared in the box before you unpacked it. If the exterior boxes have been damaged, take photos of the damage. You can also ask the movers themselves to hold the box while you photograph the damage. This is just an extra step to ensure your claim will be accepted.

If you notice damage after unpacking, a claim must be filed within nine months after delivery. Remember that it's best to report the damage as soon as possible. The mover must acknowledge receipt of your claim within 30 days and must deny or make an offer within 120 days of receipt of your claim.

When making a claim or considering a settlement, refer to the liability amount you declared on your shipment. For example, if the value declared on your shipment was $5,000, the mover's maximum liability is $5,000. Claims for more than this amount will be declined because they are more than the mover's liability. Make sure you're adequately covered.

It's also a good idea to know the insurance terms when you're submitting a claim and understand the type of insurance you purchased.

If you have problems with the mover, contact the Better Business Bureau. They'll help resolve any outstanding issues. Just remember to give the movers some time to address the claim and/or the complaint.

Lodging a Claim Through a Third-Party Insurer

If you purchased insurance through a third party or through your home insurance, make sure you have all the necessary documentation including an inventory sheet that has been signed by the mover. You'll need to refer to the insurance stipulations to generate the claim. The insurer will want to make sure that all the rules have been applied and that the item is not being replaced by the mover. The good thing about a third party is that often they'll work directly with the mover so you don't have to.

Regardless of the type of insurance you purchased, make the claim as soon as you can to ensure a quicker response.