As spring bursts into full bloom, thousands of homeowners and renters are packing up and moving to a new place they will call home.
The U.S. Census Bureau says that 35.7 million people or 11.5% of the population changed their residences from 2013 to 2014.
Cities saw a net loss of 1.7 million while the suburbs had a net gain of 2.2 million movers. Renters are the most active movers, with 24.5% moving after just a year in their current location. A new job or transfer accounted for 9.7% of the moves.
Young adults are the most active age group on the move, with females aged 18-24 more likely (32%) to change residences than their male counterparts (29.8%).
Texas, Florida and North Carolina had the most newcomers entering their states in 2015, according to Evansville, Ind.-based moving company Atlas Van Lines. Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois lost the greatest number of residents based on 77,705 interstate moves in 2015.
Before you move
Advance planning can definitely make for a smoother moving experience.
Holding a garage sale, donating items to charity or simply throwing them away can help reduce some of the clutter and make it easier to organize contents. Wayne, Pa.-based moving company Transit Systems Inc. recommends making arrangements for utilities such as water, gas, electric, Internet and trash collection several weeks before the move.
In between transferring the cable service, changing the address for your snail mail, and throwing out those belongings that won’t make the move, there are a couple of insurance-related issues to consider.
Here are five to keep in mind as you pack up those boxes:
1. Homeowners' or Renter’s insurance
Most people moving from one home to another know that they will need Homeowners' insurance, but even renters should let their insurer know when they are making a move.
“Make sure you have addressed your Homeowners or Renter’s insurance and have it taken care of before you move in,” says Carrie Bonney, director of media relations for Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance. “Let your agent know when and where you’re moving and the date so it’s a seamless transition.”
2. Check your car insurance
“Your car insurance could also be affected,” says Bonney of Farmers Insurance. “Let your agent know you’re planning to move and take care of that before you move so you can budget for any changes.”
If you’re moving to a state with lots of weather issues, that could also affect your car insurance says Bonney. Hailstorms, snow and tornadoes are factors that could increase the cost of your coverage.
3. Moving coverage
Check with your insurance agent to see whether you have coverage for your belongings while you’re moving.
Homeowners' and Renter’s insurance may provide coverage during the move in case items are lost or damaged. If you’re using a commercial moving service, read the contract to see what types of coverage are included and the limits involved.
If you do suffer any damage to your belongings, file a claim with the moving company first.
If the mover denies the claim or offers a settlement you don’t agree with, you have the option of going to arbitration. The American Moving and Storage Association has a program administered by the National Arbitration Forum.
4. Consider creating a home inventory
All homeowners and renters should have an inventory of their belongings.
It’s usually one of those things people know is a good idea, they just don’t get around to it.
Moving is the perfect opportunity to create a detailed inventory, especially since you already have to go through all of your belongings. Bonney recommends walking around your home or apartment and at the very least shooting a video of each room. That way it’s saved to the cloud automatically (in case you lose your phone).
Consider doing the same thing when you arrive at your new destination so there is a record of the items and their location in each room. If you purchase any new items such as a big-screen television or large pieces of furniture, make sure to add them to the inventory. Take a photo of the receipt and the item and save them to the cloud.
Scott Lacourse of Needham, Mass.-based valuation and software company Enservio recommends being thorough and going through the house room by room to ensure that everything is listed. “Take photographs of your contents and write down the date of purchase, price, model, make, serial number and other pertinent information such as size dimensions to go with each item.”
5. After the move
Many times a move is because of a job change, getting married or having a baby.
All of these are reasons to contact your insurance agent to let him or her know about these major life changes. Bonney of Farmers Insurance says you may have an insurance gap or need to change the type of coverage you currently have.
Other moving tips...
When it comes to moving electronics, the Alexandria, Va.-based American Moving and Storage Association has several recommendations:
If you don’t have the owner’s manual, draw a diagram or take a photo of the wiring configuration so you can reconnect the various components correctly. Label “inputs” and “outputs” with corresponding colored tape to make it easier to match them again.
Remove discs from any DVD and CD players to prevent damage to them or the component.
Repack electronics in their original boxes if you have them, otherwise use plenty of packing materials to keep the components from moving around.
Make sure to include any remote controls in the same box as the player.
Plasma TVs should be packed and kept upright in a sturdy box or container.
Make sure to back up any information on your computers, remove any CDs from the drives and shut down the computer and monitor before disconnecting them. You also might want to diagram how they are connected to make it easier to reconnect them at the new location.
Moving can be traumatic for your pets, especially since they may not understand what’s going on.
In all of the chaos, consider moving your pets to an area with their toys, food, water, litter box and other items. This will help keep them safe while you’re moving and packing.
Pets traveling in the car with you should have a special identification tag with their name, your name and cell phone number, and the new home address.
Be aware that some states have laws about the entry of animals, so check to see what health certificates and other requirements are needed.
If a pet needs to be shipped by air, make the necessary arrangements well in advance for delivery and pick-up, as well as boarding if necessary.
When you arrive at your new location, consider keeping your pets inside or leashed until they realize this is their new home.