How to Protect Your Family Heirlooms During a Move

As an affluent homeowner in the San Diego area, it’s likely that you have one or more valuable family heirlooms in your house. When you go to move, these heirlooms deserve—and need—special attention from you and your movers. While there are many quality movers in the San Diego area, you will still certainly want to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting these irreplaceable items during the move. Here are some ideas for you to consider, depending on your particular family heirloom possessions.

Verify Insurance Coverage

Protect your family on moving day in San DiegoBefore you do any packing or moving of your family heirlooms, verify their insurance coverage. They may be covered under your homeowner’s policy, or you might be able to have them added. If you have larger items, like chandeliers, pianos, rugs or furniture, make doubly sure that these will be covered by the moving company insurance. When you speak to the insurance representative, specify the items that are heirlooms and have appraisals in hand to ensure that you will get fair compensation for them in the event of loss or damage.

Take Photographs

If a family heirloom is lost during a move, the last thing you’ll want to deal with is trying to locate some old picture that has the heirloom in it, so you can prove ownership to make an insurance claim. Take a set of clear photographs of all your family heirlooms while they are still in your home. Try to include a family member in some of the photos as extra proof of family ownership. Keep the photos on your phone or in the cloud so they can be quickly accessed if you need to submit them.

Always Hire a Separate Piano Mover

Some of the larger moving companies offer piano moving as part of their regular moving services. But if you own a piano that’s been in your family for generations, or one that has a special sentimental or monetary value, you’ll want to hire a separate piano mover. Technically, moving a piano simply entails a special wooden platform carrier, strong men and a truck with an automated lift gate. In reality, all pianos are very delicate when moved, and damage can easily occur. Invest in a separate piano moving company that does nothing else but moves pianos. You’ll be guaranteed to get experienced, trained piano movers who understand the special treatment needed.

Bring Smaller Items With You

Smaller family heirlooms that are extremely valuable should be carried with you instead of getting packed into the moving truck. This may include things like old family photo albums (not technically heirlooms; but irreplaceable nevertheless), an ancestor’s medals and citations, coin and stamp collections, achievement certificates and awards, cherished framed photographs, antique silverware, gold watches and jewelry, etc. Be sure to box up these smaller heirlooms into easily recognizable containers that are not necessarily are marked “priceless,” but that don’t blend in with regular boxes like clothes and kitchen utensils. These heirlooms can travel with you between homes, safe in your immediate possession.

Allow Professional Packing

As a high-end homeowner, you are probably hiring the moving company to do the packing for you. You may feel like you should still pack your family heirlooms yourself, to make sure they are packed correctly. Actually, the opposite is true. You’re not a packing expert. Movers that offer packing train their movers to pack items in a way that minimizes the risk for insurance claims. The professional packer will have special sizes and shapes of boxes for your larger family heirlooms. They know what they’re doing as far as packing, and you should let them do it, even though it may go against your instincts.

Oversee Activities

Finally, it’s important that you stay around to oversee the packing and moving of your family heirlooms. You don’t need to follow movers around, but you shouldn’t disappear to run errands or make snacks, either. It’s important to have an adult family member in sight to a) answer mover’s questions, b) ensure careful handling of heirlooms, and c) let the movers know that you are watching. It’s just human nature that workers will be more diligent when they know the customer has eyes on them. You can be present without being intrusive by sitting down with a coffee and a magazine and just being there.

There’s absolutely no reason why any of your family heirlooms should be damaged or lost during a move. These tips will help to ensure that your family treasures stay safe no matter where life leads you.

Do you have any tips of things that have worked for you in the past? Comment below.