How to make moving house easy

YOU'VE sold your house. The next mountain to climb is moving. That's a learning curve if you've never done it before, or can be refined if you have.

Harcourts' northern regional manager Claire Wright's tips for moving include:

• Get your children excited by encouraging them to decorate and pack a box with their name on it.

• Use paper plates between crockery as you pack.

• Take photos of the rear of all your electronics so you remember which cords plug in where.

• Check the smoke detectors in your new home.

Wright also recommends reading the fine print of your agreement with packers and movers. What does it cover and will you be recompensed if something goes wrong?

Bayleys residential property management general manager Lisa Sargison's practical tips for moving include:

• Prepare an inventory of everything you will be taking with you.

• Talk to your children about the move.

• Start using food items in the freezer.

• Organise to have your mail redirected.

• If necessary, organise a babysitter for the day of the move.

• Back up your computer files before your equipment is packed away.

• Read meters so that you won't be overcharged on utility bills.

• Leave a note with your contact details for the new owner or tenants.

• As you begin unpacking, check for damage or missing items.

One thing that rarely crosses people's mind when they move home is what cover their insurance provides. Reading the fine print is essential.

What happens if the moving truck crashes and your breakables are broken, there is theft from the removal vehicle, if your belongings are in temporary storage and there's a fire, or vermin eat through the boxes?

The Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens says many people assume their contents will be covered irrespective of where they are but that is not the case.

"Also there will be no cover if items are taken by someone lawfully on the property, such as anyone helping you move or at an open home."

The Ombudsman has investigated a number of claims such as jewellery that was not covered because the policy excluded items in storage rather than "temporarily removed".

Every policy is different. Not all policies cover goods in storage, although it may be an optional benefit. Nor do all policies cover both addresses at once. Some companies have wider-reaching policy wordings than others.

Haydn Halls, executive general manager of The Warehouse Group Financial Services, says insurance should be reviewed when moving or putting household items in storage.

Halls says to check with your insurance company to see if you have cover or are able to extend your cover when your contents are with movers.

"If not, a reputable moving company should be able to provide some sort of protection against accidental damage," he says.

It's also wise to get in contact with your insurer and tell them about the move so that your contents are covered automatically at the new address and that you're made aware of any shortcomings in the policy or need to buy extras. If your belongings are going into storage make sure that the policy you have covers that.

Halls points out that Warehouse Money Everyday Plus contents insurance provides up to 12 months cover in a storage facility, which can be useful. Others may be shorter.

Other questions that people may want to ask their insurance provider, says Halls, include:

• Does their cover only apply if they are using professionals to move?

• Are items only covered if they are packed professionally?

• Are certain items excluded from cover, such as watches and jewellery?

Another thing people give little thought to is moving boxes. They're expensive, but offer better protection than ordinary boxes. There's a thriving market for second-hand moving boxes on Trade Me, which has financial and environmental benefits. Another option is an eco-friendly ReloCrate made of plastic.

ReloCrate owner Larry Banks says the top benefit of rented plastic crates for moving is their environmental friendliness because they can be used over and over again.

"Moving companies like them as they stack better, are more stable and impervious to moisture, they also contain any liquid spillage."

They also offer more protection against vermin than cardboard boxes. Banks lost his own valuable papers this way many years ago before he launched ReloCrate. Finally, don't forget to crack open the bubbly at the end of the move.

- NZ Herald

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