What If a Moving Company Breaks Something

There is nothing quite as awful, no fear quite so absolute, as beginning to unpack only to find that all your clearly labeled “fragile” boxes may well have been through a tornado. So many questions. What could you have done wrong? What if the moving company broke something? Now just take a minute, just sit right there. I’m going to tell you what to do if a moving company breaks something. 

What If a Moving Company Breaks Something?

Moving is stressful, no doubt. There’s so much to do before and after a big move! Even if you have a mover do all the heavy work, it’s still exhausting. After your move, though, is when it can get frustrating, especially if something is broken or damaged. There’s nothing worse than finding your fave vase in pieces or a massive gouge in your best dresser. That begs the question; when moving breakable stuff, what do you do if the moving company breaks something? Below are a few excellent tips:

Keep ALL Your Receipts

The best way to prove what something you own is worth is with a receipt. Of course, if the object is old-ish, you may have tossed the receipt ages ago. However, if you still have it, it will make filing a claim with your mover much easier. That goes for receipts that you get from repairing or replacing something that was broken or damaged. (You might not be able to wait until you get reimbursed.) For example, if the movers broke your coffee machine and you bought a new one right away. Or if you hired a carpenter to come and fix the broken door on your dining room armoire.

Moving Company Breaks Something? File a Claim

Moving companies have rules and regulations that they must follow from the federal government, especially if you move interstate. (From one state to another.) Most also have their own in-house rules they must follow, especially about damage claims. One of the most important is the deadline they have for filing a claim. The ICC states that you have nine months to file. While that may seem like a long time, it can pass very quickly. The best recommendation is to file a claim as soon as you can. That way, you won’t forget, and the deadline won’t pass you by like a ship in the night.

Moving Company Breaks Something? Take Photos ASAP!

Depending on your moving company, they may send a representative to your home to determine damages. In some cases, however, they will ask you to send them photographs instead. That’s why it behooves you to take as many as possible so you can show exactly what damages occurred. It’s also important to take clear, close up photos that are well lit. Fuzzy, dark photos that barely show the damages are not going to be very persuasive.

Make Sure Damages Are Noted on Your Paperwork

If you see any damages or find something broken on the day you move in, make a note of it! Show it to your driver and have them note it on your paperwork, called a Bill of Lading. The more notes they put on this critical document, the higher chance your claim will be paid! Make sure they’re detailed notes and, most importantly, that the driver signs off on them. Again, this is one of the best ways to make sure your damage claim is honored and paid. If you’re moving breakable stuff, this is one of your most important tasks!

Let the Movers Pack Your Things

Here’s the thing; if you pack something yourself, it won’t be covered under moving insurance. You won’t be able to make a claim for it or get reimbursed for it. (That’s how it works with every moving and storage company.) With that in mind, if you’re moving breakable stuff, having your movers pack it is vital. Anything that the movers pack will be 100% covered under your insurance and thus will be claimable. (For non-fragile items like toys, books, plasticware, and so forth, packing them yourself should be fine.)

What If a Moving Company Breaks Something

Check Your Inventory

This last bit of advice might be the most important. When you move interstate, your mover is required to take an inventory of every single item you move with them. Every chair, desk, box, so far, etc. They also must give you a copy of the inventory before they leave your home. On it, any damages that are already present will be noted. MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR COPY! Without an inventory, you will never know if everything arrived at your new home. You might not even notice that some things are missing. Let’s face it; it’s hard to file a claim for something if no evidence of it being moved exists.

Nobody said moving was easy. Take the time to move, and put all the proper protections in place. Donate what you can to those less fortunate and pack deliberately, this will take a little extra time now, but it’ll also mean that everything that was supposed to come with you on the move will.

This post was published on 08/20/2018.
It was updated on 02/10/2021.