Moving house? Choosing a professional relocation company and insuring your household goods play a large part in making this major life event a little less stressful.
WORDS: DEBBIE LOOTS – IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK
Studies have shown that moving house is one of the most traumatic events in people’s lives, right up there on the stress-barometer with divorce and losing your job.
It’s not only the emotional aspects of moving that are challenging, such as getting used to a new environment, schools and routines while staying on top of work commitments; there are also practical concerns.
While you may not be able to do much about the emotional side of things, you can take control of other aspects, such as making use of a professional moving company and insuring your precious items.
Get it done professionally
According to Owen Farmerey, managing director, Biddulphs International – one of South Africa’s largest independent relocation companies – there are many reasons people should consider using a professional moving company, rather than borrowing or renting a vehicle or trailer, for instance.
Professional movers have experienced and specially trained employees who give advice on what to pack together, how to pack to save you space, and what items need special wrapping.
“Using quality packing and protection materials will ensure your precious belongings arrive in the condition you last saw them,” says Farmerey. “Boxes from supermarkets are not a good option for household belongings. We use side-wall reinforced boxes that are load bearing for breakables and books.”
Also ensure the company you use has vehicles that are custom designed to load furniture and has equipment such as trolleys, extra thick blanket pack matts, extra strength webbing ties and 24/7 satellite tracking
Limit the risk
Check as many credentials of the moving company as possible:
- Are they associated to trade bodies such as AMOSA (Accredited Movers of South Africa) or the RFA (Road Freight Association)?
- Are their employees properly trained? Biddulphs, for instance, was the first moving company in South Africa to have their own porter, packer, loader training programme accredited. They also have a custom-built facility to train their staff in theoretical aspects and the practical application thereof.
- Can they tailor-make a quote for me according to the size of my move and my budget?
- What if the block of flats I live in is tricky? Many buildings don’t have a goods lift and you’ll need a well-trained team to navigate any challenges.
- Will someone keep an eye on the day to ensure everything goes well? Biddulphs assigns customers a moving coordinator to oversee the entire process, regardless of the size of the move.
Don’t skip insurance
Furniture removal is a risky business. Open trailers are susceptible to weather conditions and items can move during transit and be dented or broken.
If you self-move, your insurance options are close to zero and even if you do use a professional moving company, be aware that transportation of goods is not always included in standard household insurance policies.
Reputable relocation companies such as Biddulphs offer a comprehensive range of insurance options for any size removal, locally or internationally. They work with a leading insurance broker and offer “all risks” in-transit insurance.
Hopefully, you won’t need it, but if the worst-case scenario happens, the small premium you pay for insurance will buy you peace of mind knowing that your belongings are covered.
Do your homework
Wynand van Vuuren, partner of client experience at King Price Insurance, says they provide insurance only if you use a professional registered moving company.
“The size of the move doesn’t matter,” he says, “if you’re moving from one flat to the other in the same block, for instance, accidental breakage resulting from carrying goods between the two will not be covered.”
Although King Price provides cover for a range of goods and services, when it comes to insuring your move, their only option is cover for the full value of your move and only if a registered removal company is used. This includes damage or loss, if the vehicle is involved in an accident, struck by lightning or an explosion happens.
“Don’t be penny wise,” says Van Vuuren. “Use a registered removal company, keep a detailed inventory of all the items and take photos to compare their condition upon arrival at the new property.”
According to Van Vuuren, it’s important to insure your valuables for their replacement value and not what you paid for them years ago. “You must also inform your insurer that you are moving,” he says.
“It’s important that the new address and circumstances at that specific property are underwritten correctly – including your security such as burglar bars, bars on windows and doors to the outside.”