Two happy females taking an inventory of their household items while they pack for their move.

Essential Steps to Document Valuables for a Move

Documenting Valuables for a Move: Essential Steps

No matter how much you plan, moving is always a complicated process. You'll need to create a moving strategy, arrange for family transportation, and gather packing and shipping supplies. Amid so many other priorities and documentation, creating records for each item you're relocating is often a forgotten step during a move.

It's essential to be thorough when documenting your valuables. Prioritize valuable assets like jewelry, art, legal documents, or family heirlooms. Take photos and document the dimensions of large valuables, including furniture.

Even for small moves, detailed records can help provide peace of mind. They allow you to settle into your new home without worrying about potential issues. Documentation provides insurers with information on each item in the event of damage or loss. Accurate documentation increases the likelihood of a successful claim and allows you to resolve disputes more effectively.

Preparing Your Documentation Strategy

Centralize your documentation strategy around the collection method that works best for you. Many people use a mobile app like Sortly to keep track of valuables during a move. Others build a spreadsheet or a physical notes file for easy reference.

No matter your preferred documentation strategy, it's important to keep files organized and accessible. Suppose you are keeping notes in a physical notebook, for example. In that case, this means keeping that notebook close by when tracking your valuables. Keep your phone or computer on hand for easy reference when packing, transporting, or unpacking items.

Digital vs. Physical Records for Moving Your Valuables

Some people capture details of their possessions via digital records, while others prefer traditional recordkeeping through a physical notepad or journal. While both methods are effective, each offers unique pros and cons.

Digital records do not take up physical space, making them more accessible. But, like all forms of technology, digital records are vulnerable to hardware and software problems. Some digital tools are also tricky to navigate, especially if you're not tech-savvy.

Physical records are more accessible for people who prefer to hold and feel their documents. They are not susceptible to technical failures but require storage space. Physical records are also more challenging to share with others.

Security is an essential factor to consider regardless of your preferred form of recordkeeping. If you keep digital records, use cloud storage or an external hard drive to prevent data loss if your device crashes. Store physical documents in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box to protect against damage or loss.

Packing and Shipping Artwork: Protecting Your Art Pieces During a Move

Artwork can present a unique challenge during a move. It requires meticulous attention to detail during packing, transit, and unpacking. Many pieces of art also require climate-controlled conditions to prevent deterioration.

Start by documenting the condition of your art, with details about its medium, condition, artist, and completion date. Photograph your art from multiple angles, and include close-up shots of the artist's signature for authenticity.

The best way to protect your art is to use high-quality packing materials. Acid-free tissue paper, custom art crates, edge padding, and corner protectors keep your piece safe and secure. Use a high-value shipping partner you trust to protect your art during a move.

Using Art Inventory Software for a Smooth Move

Art inventory software provides an extra degree of protection during a move. Here are a few features to look for in an art inventory software program:

  • Cloud storage options that back up your data online and allow you to access inventory details from anywhere;
  • Access permissions that will enable you to share inventory details with curators, family members, and other collaborators;
  • Customizable fields that allow you to upload images, dimensions, and details like artist, value, and location.

Look for art inventory software that allows you to add new art to your existing inventory. This feature keeps your inventory up-to-date and creates a comprehensive record in the event of damage or loss during a move.

Shipping Musical Instruments: Tips for Safe Transit

Ensure you capture details like the serial number, manufacturer, model, and purchase receipt for each musical instrument you plan to move. Consider recording a video of your instrument, both its physical condition and its sound quality, before you begin your move. These details certify proof of ownership and create a baseline value for each instrument in the event of even slight damage.

Special Considerations for Shipping Antique Instruments

Antique instruments need an even higher level of care during a move. Their delicate parts are easily damaged during a move, and many antique instruments require a climate-controlled environment while in transit. Use appropriate padding and packing materials when shipping all antiques to keep them from sliding.

It's also important to properly pack furniture and other items shipped in the same environment with your antique instruments. Proper packing keeps each asset safe and limits damage between items during transportation.

Given the value of their antique instruments, many people add an official appraisal to their move documentation. The appraisal underlines the value of your instruments in the unfortunate event of any damage.

Updating Documentation Post-Move: Ensuring Accuracy

Make sure to update all documentation after your move. These updates verify that all of your valuables have arrived safely and provide a central location for any updates on their condition.

Carefully inspect each of your valuables as soon as possible after you relocate. Use pre-move documentation as a reference to identify any changes. For precious items like antique instruments, create a new post-move video to document any changes in condition.

Updating your documentation is also an informative first step in updating post-move insurance policies. Make sure to update policies to reflect each item's current value, particularly after any move-related changes in their physical condition.

Using Documentation for Insurance and Claims After a Move

Documentation is essential in the event of an insurance claim. It provides proof of ownership, defends the historical value of an item, and identifies how damage or loss has affected an item's value.

Create a claim with your insurance company when you notice damage or loss. Record your claim number and follow up with the claims adjuster assigned to your case. Send digital copies of your documentation to the insurance company through your online claims portal.

Navigating Insurance Claims With Comprehensive Records

Filing a claim with your insurance company can be a complex process, but it's also important. Thorough documentation and a quick response rate can accelerate the process and help resolve the dispute quickly.

Here are a few steps to follow when filing a claim:

  • Submit a claim when you notice damage or loss to your valuables.
  • Collect all relevant images, videos, and notes on damaged valuables and send them to your claims adjuster.
  • Contact your claims adjuster to confirm their receipt of your documentation. Promptly answer any follow-up questions about your item's history or value.
  • Obtain a third-party assessment of your item if the damage is significant.

Be prepared to negotiate the terms of your settlement after a claims adjuster reviews the evidence. Use your documentation as evidence when negotiating for the total value of all damaged items. You can also use documentation to prove your ownership of certain items. After creating and maintaining documentation, you'll be well-prepared to defend your valuables during all stages of a move.

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