Moving everything you own from one residence to another is a large undertaking. Whether you work with a professional mover or make the transition on your own, there’s always a risk of some of your belongings being forgotten or left behind.
While you can take steps to prevent item loss, like paying particular attention to the commonly abandoned items we listed in our August 30th blog, you should also understand what to do after you realize something is missing.
In this blog, we list five steps you can take to recover missing possessions after a move.
1. Check Your Belongings Before Signing Off
If you partnered with a professional moving company during your transition, you have the opportunity to check that all your items are accounted for before the contract is up. Generally, the representative who drops off the last of your belongings will have paperwork for you to sign.
Included in these documents is an affidavit that all of your possessions that the movers transported are there and are in good condition. Give yourself time to go through your belongings before signing off. Ideally, if something is missing, you’ll notice during this period, and recovery can begin immediately.
2. Identify Which Items Are Missing
Regardless of when you notice that one or more of your belongings are missing, the first step toward finding those items is determining the extent of the loss. Are you missing one small object? Or are you missing several boxes?
If you created an inventory, put together a master packing list or had your belongings appraised and itemized for valuation purposes, use these records to get as many specific details as possible about what’s missing.
3. Determine Where the Items Most Likely Are
When you realize something’s gone missing, you may assume that you know exactly where and when the item disappeared. Remember, however, that there are many opportunities for items to be lost or misplaced during the moving process.
Try to determine where you saw the item last, who might have packed it, where else it might have been put and so on. Check every place you can think of, including your personal vehicle, to ensure you don’t waste time searching for an object that simply went in the wrong box.
4. Make Inquiries As Soon As Possible
Once you determine that an object or objects are missing, start making inquiries right away. If you worked with a mover, notify the company first. Many moving companies offer tracking for items that were diverted or mistakenly shipped to the wrong place, which could be the case if you’re missing a whole box.
Additionally, you may need to talk to any hotels you stayed at on your route, any storage facilities you may have used and anyone who assisted with packing who was not affiliated with your mover. If there’s a possibility that the objects were left in your previous home, talk to the property manager or real estate agent as well.
It’s important to reach out as soon as possible since many movers, hotels and property managers only keep found items for a short period of time. For example, some rentals may remove the items and dispose of them when the residence is cleaned for the next tenant.
Many companies that work with individuals in transition keep detailed records of items that are found after a move. You may be able to have the items shipped back to you, or you may be able to retrieve them in person.
5. Identify Whether the Missing Items Are Covered
Once you have checked with everyone who helped you move to see if they’ve found the missing items, take a moment to find any moving documentation you have. If you purchased moving replacement valuation protection or if the items are insured independently, loss in this situation may be partially or fully covered.
Your contracts and other agreements may also include specific policies that could affect your search for the missing items. In extreme cases, you may need to file a claim with the moving company that helped you. Your agreement will specify how long you have to make a claim.
If you decide to make a claim, let a representative from the company know of your intentions. Then, put together a certified letter that details the type and value of the items that are missing. You may also need to fill out company-specific paperwork to submit the claim.
Use these steps to increase the chances that you’ll be able to recover any items that are misplaced or lost during the moving process.
If you are anticipating a move, one of the best ways you can prevent item loss is by working with a reputable mover. To consult with an expert about your personal situation, speak with the team at Wheaton World Wide Moving today.