A move is always a stressful process. With all the planning, preparations, packing, and negotiations, it may take more time and money than expected. Once you’ve done all the hard work and moved your items, you’ve suddenly discovered some of them are damaged. What should you do?
Damages during moves are rather common. You have to be prepared for some losses during any relocation, be it to the neighboring street or to another country. If you’ve hired movers to do the work for you, you can get compensated for your damages.
Where do I start?
Ideally, you should prepare for the damage before it actually happens. On a moving day, the moving company should provide you an itemized inventory with the quantity and condition of your items. So in case your items are already damaged, the moving company isn’t held responsible.
Once items are delivered, you should examine all of them for damage while the movers are still there. Put all the damage on paper and take photos. Don’t try to argue with the movers on the spot. They usually can’t do anything about the damage. You need to solve the issue with their manager.
What if I’m moving to another country?
Even though different countries may have different damage claim procedures and laws, don’t worry. You are dealing with a moving company, not the country. So you will follow the law of the country the movers are from.
Can I work this out quickly?
It’s possible to deal with the problem quickly by negotiating with the moving company. Before filing any claims or involving a third party, try to talk to the moving agent. In most cases, you can reach a mutual agreement and get paid quickly.
What if negotiations don’t work?
If negotiations don’t yield the desired results, you need to gather all the necessary paperwork. Usually, you should have:
- A bill of lading
- Inventory list
- The original invoice of the item to prove its cost. You can also get an evaluation.
- A repair invoice (or the repair cost evaluation from the repair company).
It’s possible to avoid going to court by finding a mediator and choosing arbitration. In most cases, moving companies aren’t interested in lengthy court proceedings. They are likely to settle the problem as fast as possible.
What does the contract say?
Pay close attention to the contract you sign with a moving company. It can have important information about who has what responsibility. According to the experts from Torex Moving Company from Toronto, a respectable mover must have insurance.
Generally, the amount it covers depends on the weight of the item. For example, one kilogram costs $2. So if your $300 TV weights 15 kg, you may only be able to salvage $30 from the moving company.
The contract may also mention that the moving company is only responsible for the damage inflicted upon the item, which movers packed personally. If you decide to save on packing and do it on your own, you may not get paid.
Before signing the contract, the movers may offer you additional insurance coverage. If they don’t, ask for it. If none is offered, review your homeowner’s insurance.
Can the homeowner’s insurance cover the damage during the move?
Not all homeowner’s insurance cover damages to personal possessions during a move. Usually, the loss has to be related to the problem mentioned in your policy. For example, fire or theft. In case items are stolen from a moving truck, you may be compensated.
Additionally, the insurance can cover damages in certain situations. For example, if a moving truck gets into an accident while carrying your possessions, and they are damaged.
Depending on the policy, you may also need to pay a deductible to be compensated. The amount could be higher than the cost of the damage repair.
If your items are damaged during a move, you need to explore your contract with the moving company. In many cases, you may be compensated immediately. In some situations, you have to be ready to go to court. Make sure to keep all the necessary documentation ready.
To avoid issues with damage compensation, read the contract with the movers carefully. Purchase additional insurance if necessary. You should also consider moving the most fragile items on your own.