Controlling Moving Claims with Pre-Move Photos

moving claims

Has a moving customer ever claimed that your crew damaged a piece of furniture when, in fact, you are sure the damage was already there – but you have no way to prove it? These scenarios occur more often than you may think. By taking pre-move photos, you’ll avoid disputes and prevent unfounded moving claims.

Many People Are Fine with Fraud

Fraud is a crime, but research has found that many people don’t see it as a big deal.

To find out how people feel about committing insurance fraud, ValuePenguin asked more than 1,000 Americans with active insurance policies if they had ever submitted a claim for pre-existing damage. A total of 35% of auto insurance policyholders and 33% of homeowners insurance policyholders admitted they had. Although people in all age groups admitted to lying to insurance companies, younger policyholders were especially likely to report that they had used deceptive tactics to save money on insurance.

This survey focused on auto and homeowners insurance. However, it’s reasonable to assume that if people are willing to submit claims for pre-existing damage to auto and home insurance companies, they’re also willing to lie about pre-existing damage after a move.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that fraud occurs in 10% of all property and casualty insurance losses. Every year, fraud steals more than $300 billion from Americans.

Proving the Source of Damage Is Often Impossible

Since some people are fine with committing fraud, they’ll have no moral qualms about saying your moving crew caused damage when that’s not what happened.

However, false claims may not always be intentional. In some cases, moving customers may believe the damage happened during a move. Think about it: are you confident you know about every scratch, dent, and stain on your furniture? Signs of wear and tear may go unnoticed. After a move, people are rearranging their furniture and inspecting it for damage, meaning they may spot damage they hadn’t noticed before and assume it occurred during the move.

For example, imagine you’re moving a set of leather club chairs for a family. After the move, the customer sees damage from tape and assumes it happened in the move. You know your crew was careful not to apply adhesive to the leather and suspect the customers’ children caused damage. Unfortunately, since you can’t prove this, you have to accept the claim.

Alternatively, you may be moving a cement bench. Your crew notices a crack in it and is careful not to make it worse. However, when the customers see the crack, they claim your moving crew caused it – and it becomes a matter of he said/she said. The customers become angry – and now you’re dealing with a bad online review on top of the moving claim.

Pre-Move Photos Are the Solution

Movers can avoid claims for pre-existing damage by taking pre-move photographs.

This is especially important for high-value items and a smart idea even if the damage seems minor. It’s not always possible to repair damage – and even when damage is fixable, the repairs might be just as expensive as buying a new item. A crack in a cement bench or tape marks on a leather chair may lead to full replacement cost claims.

Before you prepare items and load them onto your truck, snap a photo using your phone. Make sure you’ve turned on the phone’s date and time stamp. If a customer files a claim after the move, send the photos directly to the claims adjuster.

If customers ask why you’re taking photos, there’s no need to be confrontational. Simply explain that it’s standard procedure – just like when someone rents a car. You note damage and take photos to have a record of both the pre-move and post-move condition. This protects both parties in case there’s any confusion about the source of damage later.

Although pre-move photos are not typically a requirement for moving insurance, it’s a smart practice, particularly when it comes to high-value items with pre-existing damage. We’ve seen several fraudulent claims that were thwarted by pre-move photos. We highly recommend taking photos of pre-existing damage on an insured item on the valued inventory list.

Some moving claims are fraudulent, but many are legitimate. By offering moving insurance, you’ll protect your reputation and customers while creating a new revenue stream. Learn about becoming an affiliate.