How to File a Claim for Broken or Missing Items After a Move

How to File a Claim for Broken or Missing Items After a Move

Now that you’ve chosen a reputable moving company and your items have been packed and shipped to your new home, it’s time for the unloading and unpacking process. Moves usually go smoothly, but occasionally problems do arise. How can you handle them and file a claim for missing or broken items?

When the driver arrives at your new home, together you will fill out a check-off sheet that allows you to ‘check off’ each item as it’s delivered and unloaded off the truck. It is essential that you note all missing and damaged items on the delivery documents during this process.

What to do when you discover missing or damaged items

    What do you do if you discover you have missing or damaged items? You need to fill a claim, but before you do so, there are specific rules and other factors that will ensure the process moves along smoothly and hassle-free.

    • Document all missing or damaged goods at the time of delivery – You should document all missing or damaged goods before signing the delivery documents. However, even if you notice missing or damaged items after the driver has left, you can still file a claim. Do note that your claim will be stronger if you stated the missing or damaged items on at least one of the delivery documents: the customer check-off sheet, the inventory sheet, or the bill of lading.

    • File your claim within the time limit specified – You must file a claim within the time limit set by your moving company, which is usually less than nine months. If you miss that deadline, federal regulations prohibit your moving company from paying the claim. It’s therefore crucial that you file your claim correctly and within the appropriate time frame. 


    How to file a claim with your moving company 

    • Call the moving company for the correct paperwork – First, make note of the missing and damaged items on the customer check-off sheet, inventory sheet, or bill of lading,. Next, call the moving company or the agent that handled your move and ask them to send you the necessary paperwork to file your claim. You could also check the mover’s website to see if they have an electronic claim filing process.

    • Do not move damaged items – Make sure you keep all of your damaged items in the same condition and location as when they were delivered until inspectors arrive. The moving company will send inspectors to survey the damage, and so if you move the items or throw away the boxes and packing material, the moving company cannot conduct an investigation. As a result, they may deny your claim.

    • List each item that is missing or damaged – When you file your claim, the form will ask you to list each item that is missing or damaged and identify the inventory number from the inventory sheet. You will also need to describe each item. Most importantly, you must claim a specific amount for each item. 


    What happens next?

    Once they have received your claim form, the moving company will assign a claims adjuster to help you resolve your claim. The first thing they will do is hire a local repair company to come to your house and inspect the damaged items. The repair company will determine if the damage is transit-related, assess if each item can be repaired, and estimate the cost of the repairs.

    Once the claims adjuster has this information, they’ll offer to either have a repair firm fix your item or offer to pay you a cash settlement for the estimated cost to repair. If the item cannot be repaired, you will receive a cash settlement based on the type of valuation coverage you chose before you moved. If the repair company determines that the claimed item was not damaged during the moving process, you will be informed that your claim has been denied. 
    Most claims adjusters will try to resolve your claim quickly, although every moving company has their own process. They will try to give you a response within a week or less. That’s because quickly resolving your claim isn’t only important to you, it’s also important to the moving company to ensure good customer service. 
    Now that you know what to do if your items are lost or broken and how to file a claim, you will be more prepared in the event that it happens.