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Protecting Your Treasures While on the Move

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2001 – You watch "Antiques Roadshow" this fall and learn a chifforobe just like your great- grandmother's is worth $5,000. Dang! If you'd known that you'd have had insurance and squawked more when those butterfingers banged up yours during your summer move.

Permanent-change-of-station moves mean stress, anxiety and problems even when you don't own high-value treasures. But when you do, paying attention to some common sense dos and don'ts may save you grief.

Carriers and the government assume no liability for such high-value items as watches, jewelry, cash, stocks, bonds, coin and stamp collections, antiques, bills, deeds, precious metals or irreplaceable sentimental items such as photo albums. Carry these valuables with you, Military Traffic Management Command officials advise. Don't ship them as household goods, and don't leave them in dresser drawers or lying around while movers pack.

  • Get professional appraisals for expensive, valuable items such as artwork, collectibles and heirlooms. Obtain supplemental insurance for these valuables during the move. Standard insurance carried by most movers pays claims by the pound, not market value. The government will not pay for appraisals or extra insurance, but consider the cost a wise hedge against loss or damage.
  • Videotape or take close-up photos of all your belongings, paying extra attention to the condition of your furniture and your expensive and valuable items. Inventory records like this will help you document any losses and damage you may incur in the move.
  • Record serial numbers of electronic equipment.
  • Movers are supposed to document furniture condition on their inventory record sheets. Make sure you confirm their entries and challenge them until you agree on accuracy. When you sign the mover's inventory record after the packing's done, you're certifying its accuracy.
  • Don't wax or oil wooden antiques and fine wood furniture before shipping, because some products might soften the wood and make it vulnerable to imprinting from furniture pads.
  • Third-party servicing will likely be needed before moving such luxury items as hot tubs, large-screen TVs and some exercise equipment.
  • Talk to the moving company about pre- and post-move servicing of washer, dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, grandfather clock, satellite dish and other such items.
  • Think twice before dismantling your outside TV antenna -- a new one may cost less than shipping the present one.

Following these suggestions will safeguard valued items and help you have an efficient and painless move.

There's a wealth of information on the Internet about moving in general and military relocations in specific. Simply use the keywords "military relocation" on any Web search engine for links.

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Related Sites:
AFPS News Article: Relocation Checklist Could Make Moving Smoother
AFPS News Article: DoD Testing Household Goods Shipment Program

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