In a perfect world, all of your possessions would arrive safe and sound at their desired destination on moving day. In the world we live in, however, sometimes an item will go astray during the course of a move. Here is a step-by-step guide with suggestions for what to do if a moving company loses something of yours during an apartment move.
Before you do anything, double check to make sure that the item is really lost. Make sure you've looked through all your moving boxes, for instance. You might call your former apartment community manager to make sure that the item did not get left behind at your old apartment. If you truly cannot find the item after a diligent search, move on to step two.
Write a careful description of the item, including every detail you can remember about it. If you can find a picture of the item or a receipt for it, that’s even better. Details like these will be helpful in retrieving your lost property.
The next step is to file a loss claim with the moving company. Use your detailed description of the lost item. This will not only help the moving company potentially locate the item but will also help if the moving company has to replace the item.
The moving contract you signed should specify the filing process to follow and also give details about determining replacement value for lost items. If the moving company has to reimburse you for the lost property, be aware that the standard moving insurance replacement rate is $0.60 per pound. If you bought additional moving insurance, however, the moving company might be required to reimburse you for the entire cost of the item. Make sure you're familiar with your contract regarding these details.
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If standard moving insurance does not cover the entire replacement cost of the lost item, check with your renter’s insurance to see if that agreement covers items lost in the move. They may be able to cover the remaining balance, depending on the details of your policy.
If you cannot reach an acceptable agreement with the moving company directly, the America Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) recommends using a dispute resolution program that the National Arbitration Forum offers for AMSA-affiliated movers. Keep in mind that there is a $225 fee for this service, so the effort might not be worth it for a lost item of lesser value.
Most moves led by professional moving companies occur without a hitch, with a renter’s possessions making the trip to their new home safe and sound. In the event this does not occur for every item in your move, be aware that you have a course of action to follow to help remedy the loss.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Kzenon