A word of advice on moving house.
16 July 2012
It’s up there with divorce and losing your job as one of the most stressful things you can go through. Moving house is hard work. So you don’t need any extra hassle getting your stuff from A to B.
Choosing a moving company
If you’re using a moving company, make sure you’re happy with their terms. After all, you’re trusting them with your worldly possessions.
“Ask to see the contract upfront,” says Consumer Affairs legal advisor, Debbie Bidlake.
“A lot of moving companies use online booking forms, and you may only get to read the terms and conditions when you’re just about to submit the form – by which time you’re probably all set to go ahead.”
“It’s a good idea to study their terms before you get to this stage. Make sure you understand who’s liable if things go missing or something gets broken.”
Terms and conditions
These should be based on one of these scenarios:
At owner’s risk: In this case the company isn’t liable for any loss or damage – so you’ll need to take out your own insurance, just in case.
At declared value risk: Here the company is liable up to an agreed amount. They may charge more to cover the risk, but it could be worth it as you’ll save on insurance.
On declared terms: This is where you negotiate specific terms. It’s quite unusual, unless you’re moving something that needs special care.
Carriage of Goods Act: This is the default law. If the company doesn’t state otherwise, they’re liable for damage or loss up to $1500 per unit of goods. Each package counts as one unit of goods, which is worth bearing in mind when you do your packing. Two paintings packaged together count as one unit; if they’re packaged separately, they count as two. A box with several items inside is also one unit – so it’s best to keep high value items apart.
As with any contracts, pay attention to the exclusions. Some moving insurance doesn’t cover items like passports, watches and jewellery. You may want to move valuables yourself.