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5 Common Moving Mistakes to Avoid

There's more to a successful move than throwing your stuff in boxes and renting a truck. Successful relocation is like running a small company—it requires careful planning, budgeting, and strategy. Overlook those factors and you may be looking at a recipe for disaster. Read on to learn the 5 most common moving mistakes people make and how you can avoid them.

Couple packing up their home

#1: "Winging It" Instead of Planning Ahead

Relocation is a huge job and procrastination is your worst enemy. Even seemingly small moves, like moving a studio apartment across town, can be nerve-racking and costly if they're not well planned. If you have the luxury of time, you should start planning your move months—yes, months—in advance.

Start making travel arrangements, look into moving companies, pack, and get your financial and logistical affairs in order as early as possible. Start keeping a specific notebook or binder for moving-related information. Keep all your records in it, from copies of the moving estimate to restaurant suggestions in your new neighborhood.

There's a lot to do, but here's a good start: use our Allstate Moving Checklist and People to Contact worksheet to help you create a plan of action.

#2: Bad Timing and Poor Scheduling

Timing is key. Favorable weather means the summer months are typically the most hectic time of year for moving companies. However, spring and autumn can get very busy, too. And remember that moving companies may not be available if you're moving close to a holiday.

Start researching your options for moving companies a month to two before your moving date. The last thing you want is to be stuck with an unknown or unreliable moving company, high rates, or the nightmare scenario: no moving company at all.

If you're planning to drive your own moving truck, make sure you schedule the rental well ahead of the day you actually need it. Find out the exact dimensions of the truck's cargo space, and maybe even swing by the rental company to get an idea of the space you'll require and whether a 13-foot truck's really up to the job.

Even the day of the week you pick can affect your move. Higher demand means companies often charge top dollar for weekend moves and truck rentals, and the increased daytime traffic also means more time that your belongings will be in transit.

#3: Choosing a Less-than-Reputable Moving Company

Research is critical here. Choosing the wrong moving company can mean stolen or damaged property, a move that is far more expensive and longer than originally quoted, and being overcharged for things like packing tape. And once all your stuff's in their truck, you're in a terrible position to argue.

Though you might find some great deals on the Internet, think about following a personal referral from family or friends. If that's not possible, check with your realtor or a moving trade organization to find local moving companies with a solid reputation and years of experience.

Check out trustworthy websites offering real customer feedback to see what clients say about their experiences with the company. Find out if the mover has a DOT (Department of Transportation) number and enter it in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's SAFER system to make sure they're adequately insured. You can also give the DOT a call at 1-888-368-7238 to find out if there are any complaints about the company.

Here are some questions to ask before you hire a moving company:

  • Do they have references?
  • Will they do an in-home estimate?
  • Is their company going to be handling the move or are they going to hire a subcontractor?
  • If they use a subcontractor, what's the name, location, and phone number of the company they're hiring?
  • Will this move require any special arrangements, like a transfer from the semi truck to a smaller local truck to help navigate big-city streets? This may affect the cost of the move and increase the risk of damage to your belongings.

#4: Moving with Unnecessary Items

Indiscriminately jamming everything you own into boxes might seem like the simplest way of packing, but it also guarantees needless stress and expense. For one thing, extra stuff equals extra weight, so you may end up overpaying your movers or overstressing your own back.

Moving gives you a perfect opportunity to cull your possessions. Use your move to get rid of clothes you don't wear anymore, books you've already read, outdated technology, and more.

Our Household Inventory worksheet and our Digital Locker tool can help here—make a detailed list of all of your belongings and you'll be more able to see what's truly essential and what's just dead weight. Also check out Allstate's Ten Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Move for smart ideas about optimizing your move.

#5: Insufficient or Nonexistent Insurance for Valuables

Moving is tough on your stuff. Even if every item you own is carefully packed and handled by experienced movers, accidents happen. Get familiar with your insurance options before your move. That way, when things are at their most stressful on moving day, you can rest assured that if anything gets damaged, you're covered.

Call your moving company to find out the details of its liability coverage policies. This coverage will either be based on the total weight of your items, the assessed value of your items, or the full value of replacement of your items. Weight-based coverage might cover about $0.30—$0.60 a pound . So if a mover drops your 35 lb. state-of-the-art stereo system, you could be looking at a reimbursement of about $10.

The good news is that if you have an Allstate Homeowners or Renters Insurance policy, your belongings are likely covered in the event of a moving mishap that occurs in transit . Your claim will be subject to the deductible
(1-800-255-7828) before your move to make sure you understand your coverage.

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Wherever You're Moving, Let the Good Hands Lend You a Hand

Moving can be stressful and confusing. If you're not sure about what to do with your home or auto insurance policy when you move, check out our Insurance When You're Moving FAQ.

And if you want to talk about how you can save on your renter's insurance or homeowner's Insurance, talk to an Allstate agent near you, or call us at 1-800-ALLSTATE (1-800-255-7828).

Published: June 2011

General: Coverage subject to terms, conditions, and availability. Policy issuance is subject to qualifications. Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL. © 2015 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.

ALR Life: Life insurance offered through Allstate Life Ins. Co. & Allstate Assurance Co., 3075 Sanders Rd, Northbrook IL 60062; Lincoln Benefit Life Co., 1221 N St. Ste 200, Lincoln NE 68508; American Heritage Life Ins. Co., 1776 American Heritage Life Dr., Jacksonville FL 32224. In New York, life insurance offered through Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, Hauppauge NY.

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