The Elements of a Smooth Move
July, 2008 - Issue #45
Whether you are moving across town or across the country, the process can be stressful. From insurance and outsourcing to a fool-proof way to organize your stuff, local pros have your needs covered. Now all you have to do is finalize your destination.

What to Consider when Considering a Moving Company
by Casey Kirkman
To do it right, the process of selecting a moving company requires more than a quick perusal of the phonebook. It takes a little effort, but the results are worth it. Here's what you need to look at, and for, when making your decision.

Do your homework. Make sure that the moving company has both insuranced and licensed to operate. Companies should hold licenses from the PUC and DOC. It is illegal to operate without these licenses.

Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Log onto to do a fast online check of potential companies. You'll be able to see if the movers you're considering have a complaint filed against them.

Ask friends and real estate agents for referrals. There are few better ways to decide if a company is right for you. Let their experience be your guide to narrowing down your choices.

Ask for references and letters of recommendation from the moving company. If they're legitimate, they should have a hearty list of folks willing to speak on their behalf.

Visit the warehouse or office. You'd be surprised how many "companies" have great websites but no home base. You don't want a company that can, pardon the pun, "pick up and move" should a job go wrong. While you're there, check for cleanliness and professionalism.

No matter who you choose, make plans for pets and kids. Have the television or toy box be the last item loaded and the first unloaded so that the children can be distracted while you unpack the rest. Have pets stay with a friend or a kennel; too many open doors can lead to run-away pets (Also, don't forget to have your pet's ID tags changed to the new address immediately; ideally, before the move).

Check on cost. This isn't the time to be "frugal." How much will you "lose" in time off work and quality of life if you throw your back out while trying to speed up the process yourself? Two professional movers can get a lot done for $89 an hour.

Relax. Moving is stressful, but hiring real professionals means that you're in good hands.
Casey Kirkman is the owner of Affordable Quality Moving & Storage 254-7823.

Pack Like A Pro
by Joshua Suess

Successful packing doesn't have to be done by a professional; follow these tips for a less-stressful move.

1. Start with a List
Prior to your move, sit down at the computer or take out a notebook and create a simple list system. Start numbering from one to 50, providing each slot with enough blank space to make notes that coordinate with each number. Then, take a permanent marker and write a big number (starting with one) on each of your moving boxes. Go back to your list and write down the specific contents of each box according to its number. Now you have a simple, organized system and will quickly know where everything is during and after your move.

2. Don't Procrastinate
Don't wait until the last minute to pack! Start packing ahead of time and keep it organized. On moving day, everything will go much smoother and faster (which will save you money if you've hired a moving company) if you have everything packed, grouped and organized when the movers (or your extra-dedicated friends and family members) arrive.

3. Protect your Valuables
Keep all of your important items with you during the move. This includes driver's licenses, social security cards, birth certificates, bank statements, insurance documents, checkbooks and anything else that you simply can't function without. Think outside the (moving) box when it comes to packing required medicines, and even your personal phonebook. No matter how reputable a moving company, mistakes can be made. Make sure you have your necessities and irreplaceables close at hand.

Joshua Suess is co-owner of Focused On Your Family, a Remax of Valencia Real Estate Company 702-4640.

"Insuring" a Positive Moving Experience
by Scott Shepard

"It is important to KEEP ALL YOUR OLD POLICIES ACTIVE until your move is completed, even if it means a few days of concurrent coverage. Often times, many policies extend your coverage for up to 30 days at a new location..."

Contact your Agent, Especially if Moving Out of State
Approximately six weeks before you move, you should contact your insurance agent to transfer or change your medical, property, fire and auto insurance policies. Since insurance is governed by state law, new policies will have to be purchased if moving out of California.
If your current insurer is not licensed to issue policies in your new state, a new carrier and/or agent will have to be found. You should find out how your insurance policies will be affected by your move in advance.
At the very least, you will have to change the mailing addresses of all your policies. This will not automatically be done; it has to be requested. Life, long-term-care and disability policies only need updated address information and should not be cancelled - even if you are leaving California.

Keep Current
It is important to keep all your old policies active until your move is completed, even if it means a few days of concurrent coverage. Often times, many policies extend your coverage for up to 30 days at a new location, but every policy has different language.

Insuring your Move
You should consider your homeowners policies as supplemental to that offered by the moving company. One of the most important aspects in selecting a moving company is to make sure it is licensed and registered with the United States Department of Transportation.

What Moving Company Coverage Means to You
Most large moving companies offer three types of coverage. The standard for basic liability insurance is about $.30 to $.60 per pound, per item, so if an item weighs 50 pounds, the mover's liability is $15 to $30 on that item.
With declared value protection you can decide your item's value and the mover is liable for that value. If your items are stolen, you and the moving company will rely on the sum value that you stated in the moving agreement.
If you choose replacement value coverage, the mover is liable if your item is stolen or it breaks, and that's that. As an example, if your item is stolen, with replacement value coverage you receive a brand new one; with actual cash value coverage you get the current depreciated value of the item.

Be Diligent
Make sure to thoroughly review the moving company's terms for insurance coverage.
Determine the extent of liability coverage for property loss or damage your mover will provide.
Closely examine the contract and find a section for you to establish the estimated value of your possessions.
Determine the maximum liability dollar value of the insurance provided by the mover and the process involved in case you need to place a claim. However, this does not guarantee that in case of a claim you are entitled to the maximum liability damage coverage. Factors such as government regulations, taxes and laws limit the actual amount you may be entitled to in case of a claim.
Realize that the insurance provided by most moving companies only covers a portion of the total value of your possessions and you will have to get additional insurance to be fully covered.

Check and Check Again
Checking the accuracy of the inventory on the moving company sheet should be done once before the move and again when the transport has reached the final destination. You should look at the number and condition
mentioned there.

Scott Shepard is the vice president of Shepard Insurance Agency 295-4624.
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