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Your Moving Plan Protection
Moving can be stressful enough, but add in problems with movers and damaged items, and you've got one big headache. But, those problems can be avoided, says Joe Harrison, the president of the American Moving and Storage Association.
Getting an Estimate
When choosing your mover make sure to get a price in writing. There are two types of estimates available:
When you get a binding estimate, it means the price is set in stone. The mover cannot require you to pay any more than was originally agreed upon in the contract. However, if you ask the mover to provide more services than those included in the estimate, the mover may demand full payment for those added services at the time of delivery.
A binding estimate sounds good, but you Harrison says you may be paying more for the level of comfort that comes with it. According to Harrison, "They (the movers) may add more dollars to the final price in order to protect themselves regarding the overall estimate and cost of the move."
You can also ask for a non-binding estimate. This is not a bid or contract. Instead, it's a general idea of the cost of the move. The final price is based on the actual weight of your belongings, how much space they take up in the truck, and how many miles they're transported. But you do have some price protection. Under federal law, the mover cannot require you to pay more than the amount of the original estimate plus 10% at the time of delivery. You will then have at least 30 days after delivery to pay any remaining charges.
Levels of Liability
Also, make sure you agree with the movers, in writing, about the amount of lost or broken property they're liable for. When moving from state-to-state, there are three levels of liability you may want to consider:
Limited liability is the lowest level of protection. Under this option, the mover is liable for 60 cents per pound. If an item is damaged, the mover will pay for repairs, as long as the cost does not exceed 60 cents times the weight of the item being fixed. If the item is broken beyond repair, you will be paid 60 cents per pound. So, under this option, you would be paid $6 for a 10-pound item, even though the actual value may be much higher.
Added Valuation Protection
Under this choice, you can seek recovery based on the actual value of the item that is lost or damaged. The value of the item is calculated at current replacement cost, minus depreciation.
Full Value Protection
Full value protection is the highest level of protection. This plan will offer you full cost of repair or replacement without deduction for depreciation.
While packing up your home and shipping your possessions across the country can be stressful, here's a timetable that may help make the process go smoothly:
Two months before the move.
>>Get a floor plan of your new home and decide what furniture you'll be taking with you.
>>Inventory all your household goods.
>>Contact your insurance agent. Find out if your possessions are covered under your homeowner's policy when moving.
>>Make a file for all your moving papers and receipts.
>>If you have children, contact their schools and ask to have their files transferred.
>>If you plan to use a professional mover, find a company.
Six weeks before the move.
>>Look for doctors in your new town.
>>Fill out a change of address form at your post office.
>>Send your new address to anyone who will need it. This includes friends, family, credit card companies, and insurance agents.
>>Do some spring-cleaning. Clean out your closets and donate or throw away anything you don't plan to take with you.
One month before the move.
>>If you're planning to move on your own, reserve a truck. You may also want to make travel plans.
>>Buy supplies, like boxes, tape, and bubble rap. Start packing.
>>Start using up your food.
Three weeks before the move.
>>Arrange to have utilities disconnected at your old home and connected at your new location.
>>Find child-care for moving day.
>>If necessary, reserve the elevator for pick-up and delivery dates.
Two weeks before the move.
>>Throw away items too dangerous to move. This includes flammable liquids, nail polish, and pesticides.
>>If you're driving, have your car serviced and ready for the trip.
>>Transfer your bank accounts.
>>Have enough prescription medicine for the next few weeks.
>>Close safe deposit boxes.
Two days before the move.
Defrost your refrigerator and freezer, if you're taking them with you.
>>Accompany the mover when he inventories your household goods.
>>Read the inventory list and all accompanying information carefully before signing it. This document is the receipt for your goods and contract for transportation. If you don't agree with something, don't sign it.
>>Give the driver directions to your new home and give him or her information on where you can be reached during the move.
Quicken.com, American Moving and Storage Association
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