When you hire professional movers to help you relocate, you trust them with your belongings and expect them to take care of each item just as you would. Unfortunately, accidents happen. Sometimes they are inevitable but they are often the movers’ fault. It is your responsibility to check whether everything is delivered and in what condition, immediately after delivery. If any of your items are damaged or lost during transportation or in storage, the moving company is responsible. In that case, you have the right to financial compensation. Your job is to correctly document that the incident occurred while the movers were in charge of your items and file a moving damage claim. Honest movers from Indiana will be willing to help you settle your claim successfully.
The written inventory
Before the moving truck leaves with your shipment, the movers should make a written inventory – a list of all your belongings and their condition. Your signature means that you completely agree with everything stated in the document. This piece of paper is very important because, in case anything happens to your items, you can prove that it happened in transit.
Inspecting your items
So, you’ve almost finished relocating home to Indianapolis after weeks of hard work and you cannot wait to get some rest. Not so fast. Take the time to inspect your belongings. If you notice that something is missing or damaged after delivery, don’t forget to mention it in the paperwork. Failing to do this does not mean you cannot make a moving damage claim. However, the claim will be weaker unless you indicate what happened either in the inventory list or the Bill of Landing which resembles a receipt you are supposed to sign to confirm that your shipment has arrived.
Filing a moving damage claim
No matter how careful your movers are, something can go wrong. Filing a moving damage claim is the first step to covering the damage. When filing a claim, make sure you know the claim-filing rules of your moving company. Contact the company personally to inform them that you plan to file a claim against them. Contact the agent who was in charge of your relocation and demand the paperwork for filing a damage claim. Do not expect the moving crew or the driver to report your claim.
When making a moving damage claim, just like any other insurance claim, never throw away or repair any damaged items. An inspector will come to see them and you will need proof that they are damaged. In case it is unsafe to keep everything intact until the inspector arrives, move the damaged items (e.g. broken glass) to a safe area. Alternatively, you can take photos of the damaged goods before getting rid of them. In case you can’t use an item that is very important for your daily life, like your fridge or bed, the movers might speed up the replacement while you wait for the claim form.
The minimum requirements for filing moving damage claims
- Submit the moving damage claim in writing
- Identify the shipment (by client’s name, date, address, bill of lading number)
- The claim must include an assertion that the movers are responsible by law for the damage or loss
- Demand compensation for a specific amount of money
The time limit
In most cases, you have 9 months after receiving your shipment to file a moving damage claim, if you moved from out of state with long distance movers. In case you moved within Indiana with the help of local movers, this period could be shorter. You can find this piece of information in your bill of landing. Whatever the deadline, don’t wait too long. The earlier you do it, the earlier you’ll get the money you deserve. Also, the more you wait, the more details you forget. You should return the claim form to the moving company as soon as you list the missing or damaged items.
Read the contract with the movers, paying special attention to how they deal with moving damage claims, before signing it in the first place. Be careful what kind of insurance policy you are choosing in order to avoid unpleasant surprises later. Your moving contract must contain this information.
Moving companies usually offer full-value protection at higher rates and limited liability protection at lower rates. If you choose to pay a lower rate, you release the movers from full-liability. This way, the movers are far less responsible to cover loss or damage. Hence, they won’t cover the actual value of the more valuable items. On the other hand, full-value protection equals full compensation for damaged or missing items. You can also buy a separate insurance policy from a private insurance company. Full-value protection and private insurance are not the same thing.
Settling the moving damage claim
Once you submit the claim form, a claims adjuster will be assigned to you. You will probably get a response in a week or less. Then, a third-party repair company representative will come to assess the damage. It is in the company’s interest that the claim be dealt with quickly.
Communication with the claims adjuster is very important. For instance, let them know if you prefer to have an item repaired rather than replaced or vice versa. In case the adjuster cannot decide whether an item can be repaired, he/she will suggest replacing rather than repairs. The movers are probably going to pay you in cash instead of actually replacing the items for practical reasons.