Every move involves risks. The U.S. Census Bureau says that people in the U.S. move an average of 11.7 times. That’s 11.7 chances for something to go very wrong. Careful planning can help you avoid some of these mishaps, but only if you know what the risks are. You may know that items are sometimes broken or damaged during a move, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are five often-overlooked moving exposures.
Moving is physically demanding, and injuries are fairly common. Here are just a few of the ways you could hurt yourself while moving:
- You hurt your back while lifting a heavy box of books.
- You sprain your ankle while carrying a sofa backward down the stairs.
- You slice your hand on a box cutter.
- You drop a dresser on your foot and break one of your toes.
Many of these injuries can be avoided if you use proper lifting techniques and other safety best practices. Professional movers should be trained on this, but when people move their own stuff and rely on friends or family to help, the chance of a bad injury could increase.
2. Fires and Explosions
Could you kid’s chemistry set start a fire? What about your matches or nail polish remover?
Many household items can be safety hazards under the right – or rather, under the wrong – circumstances. Some of these items might be fairly obvious hazards, like ammunition and fireworks. Other items, however, can seem fairly innocuous, and you might not realize they’re a hazard when you’re packing your belongings. However, there’s a good reason professional movers have a list of items they won’t move.
Pests are another risk that you might not think about when you move, but you probably should.
If you don’t check your belongings, you could end up moving pets along with your stuff. This is worrisome when the stowaways hitch a ride to an area where they aren’t normally found.
Failing to check for pests could actually land you on the wrong side of the law. For example, if you’re moving from an area with a spongy moth (previously called gypsy moth) quarantine to an area outside of the quarantine, the USDA says you are required to check you outdoor household items for the moths (including adult moths, pupae, caterpillars and eggs) and remove any you find before you move.
Picking up pests during the move is another problem. This is one reason why professional movers prohibit perishable food items, such as produce, dairy, eggs and meat. Perishable food can also rot along the way – it’s just a bad idea to try to pack it.
Moving trucks are a tempting target for thieves. Everything is right there, already packed up and ready to be taken, and breaking the lock on the back of truck might seem a lot easier than breaking into a house.
To reduce the risk of theft, you should use strong locks and park in safe areas with good lighting and security cameras. Also avoid packing items that couldn’t be replaced, such as heirlooms, family photos and important documents. It’s better to keep these items with you during a move, and professional movers may refuse to pack them.
5. Pet Disasters
Moves aren’t just stressful for people. They’re also stressful for pets.
The American Pet Products Association says that 70% of U.S. households have at least one pet. The majority of people have pets, so it follows that the majority of moves involve pets.
Unfortunately, pets can be injured or otherwise hurt during the moving process, for example, if they get underfoot while people are carrying heavy loads, or if they get into something that that’s bad for them. Lost pets are another big risk. Stressed pets may run away while their owners are busy with moving tasks. Even worse, the pets won’t be able to find their family again because their family has moved.
Helping Your Move Go Smoothly
A move is a major life event, and it can be an incredibly difficult and stressful one. Hiring professional movers can help things go smoothly. The movers can focus on doing their job, and you can focus on taking care of yourself, your family and your pets.
Securing good insurance is another smart way to manage your risks. Moving valuation isn’t insurance, and if your items are damaged or stolen, valuation might only compensate you for pennies on the dollar. To make sure your items are adequately covered from common moving exposures, you can purchase third-party moving insurance. Learn more.