The vast majority of movers are honest and would never even consider stealing items, but if you’re worried, the easiest way to prevent theft is to do your best to take away the opportunity. Having a designated, enclosed space to secure valuables (like a locked closet) is the best way to remove visible temptations, but there are other precautions you can take.
Of course, choosing a reputable experienced cross-country moving company is the most obvious precautionary step. Let’s look at some other easy steps that will ensure that all of your belongings arrive at your new household when using local or out-of-state movers.
Use Colored Tape
Labeling your boxes is important in keeping track of your items but did you also know that colored tape can also be a great asset for theft prevention? Moving companies don’t typically use colored tape, which means you’ll be able to tell if a box has been opened. This is a very simple trick that can deter a thief.
Index or Mark Boxes
Marking boxes depending on their priority or contents is another way to use labelling to your advantage. You can use a specific type of coding system to track items in a way that only you know. Use a simple technique that you can stay on top of and you’ll be able to know where all glass, electronics, and other items are, and easily spot items that are missing.
Pack Cheap Above Valuable
Hiding your valuables is a great tactic and is a very simple way to deter loss. If you’re packing items on your own and not using packing services provided by cross-country movers, try hiding valuable goods on the bottom. Put cheaper items on top of these things, as they are easier to replace and make the box look low value.
Wrap & Tape Everything
Newspaper can be one of your best friends when it’s time to move. You may have heard of people using bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts to protect items, but these options aren’t always the best choice.
Newspaper is cheap, available, more environmentally friendly, and works just as well at protecting your items, plus they won’t add to any moving quotes you receive.. Wrap all of your belongings in newspaper and use tape to seal them if you want to deter stealing – you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
Not only will items be safe and sound during transport, it doesn’t take much newspaper to wrap them and movers won’t be able to tamper with items without giving themselves away. Because newspaper is fragile, it’ll need to be manipulated carefully to avoid detection of tampering.
If you’ve followed the above step, then your valuables should be on the bottom of the box as well, so when movers unwrap items they’re most likely unwrapping cheaper things. Since they aren’t likely to dig deeper, you’re items are pretty safe.
If you’re worried about ink transferring onto certain belongings, there is the option of getting the unprinted newspaper. Though ink transferring is rare, this offers your valuable items even more protection while they’re being moved.
Don’t Be Specific
When movers are getting your items onto the truck, they need to know what is in them in order to stack them properly. This doesn’t mean you have to be specific, though, so try to be general when it comes to answering questions about your stuff. In general, they just need to know if boxes contain fragile or breakable items like glass, or hazardous items movers will not move.
Consider Shipping Valuables
If you’re really concerned about certain valuables you own, you don’t have to transport them using movers. Instead, you could ship your items to your home separately. This doesn’t fully protect you from loss, as shipping companies are prone to ‘lose’ things from time to time, but your items are insured.
The caveat to shipping valuable items is that insuring them could be what lets shippers know exactly what they’re dealing with.
Pay Attention to Stacks
When movers are unloading boxes and placing them into your new house, sometimes boxes that have been tampered with will be placed at the bottom of the stack. This is because you’ll get to these items last, making it a bit more difficult to make your claim with moving companies as time goes on.
If you’re worried you might miss something, ask a friend, neighbor, or family members to help keep an eye on boxes as well. This ensures that if something looks funny it is addressed as soon as it is noticed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What things are movers more likely to steal?
Although movers don’t aim to steal your items, there are some things they may be tempted to take – like items they think you won’t miss. Typically, smaller things are more likely to get stolen such as small instruments or valuables. Prescription medications are popular too, because they’re easy to sell on the street. Remember to keep anything you need or that is extremely important with you while moving.
Does moving insurance cover lost or stolen items?
Moving insurance covers your belongings, but that may not cover the entire value of your stuff. In most cases, the moving company will determine the value of an item and use this to reimburse you for anything that was lost, stolen, or damaged. You also have the option to ensure highly valuable items separately.
What happens when I report that an item has been stolen?
Typically, if a mover has stolen an item from you it falls under the same jurisdiction as just about anyone else stealing from you. This means you’ll need to file a police report so that the theft and company itself can be thoroughly investigated. This process takes a while, which is why preventing theft is important when you’re getting ready to move.
Keep Movers From Stealing Your Stuff
Although professional movers rarely steal, why temp fate? The tips outlined above will help remove temptation and prevent opportunities for theft, ensuring that all of your belongings make it where they’re supposed to go.