Moving tips to make your big move easier. These tips will help you plan a less stressful move, whether you’re doing it DIY or hiring professional movers.

An estimated 20 million Americans will pack up their lives and move into a new home this summer, according to No matter how organized you are (or think you are), moving is a huge undertaking. Homeowners aim for a smooth transition to their new home, but it almost never goes as planned.

I remember during a DIY move just a few years ago, the U-Haul truck we rented broke down in the middle of a busy street less than a mile away from the lot. We figured it out, but it goes to show, anything can happen. And that’s why it’s best to sort out the things you can control before your move.

We were able to get that move back on track because we budgeted a few extra hours for our move just in case. You never know if someone who planned to help you move is going to cancel, if there’s going to be traffic, or in this case, if the moving equipment you rented is faulty.

I’ve put together two big moving tips to help you make your next move a successful one, even with those inevitable mishaps.

Moving Tip #1: Plan Ahead

First moving tip: whatever you do, don’t wait until the week before your move to start planning it. There are a lot of decisions that you need to make, some of which require reservations, and waiting until the last minute is a surefire way to stress yourself out.

It starts with one big decision that will guide the rest of your planning: will you hire movers or DIY your move? If you’re not sure which one is best (or most affordable) for your family, do some homework. Hiring movers can be costly, but DIY moves often mean relying on friends and family to help, making the move a bit hectic.

Tally the expenses of renting a truck, insurance, gas and rewarding the folks who help with pizza and beer. Then, compare it to two or three quotes from certified moving companies. Consider the tradeoff between cost and convenience to make your final decision and book reservations.

Then, you’ll want to inform your insurance about your move to see how your premium will be affected. “Depending on where you move and what structure you move into you could run into big changes in costs for premiums just because you’re in a different zip code,” says Jason Hargraves, managing editor of

When you start packing, update your home inventory with each item and its value. Take new photos of each item and, if you want, video. A thorough home inventory will come in handy if you ever need to file a claim with your insurance for lost or damaged property.

Moving Tip #2: Protect Your Belongings

Gather any heirlooms, mementos, or valuables that can’t be replaced. Pack them in clearly labeled boxes and keep them separate from all of the other furnishings you’re moving. Whether you settled on DIY or hired movers, these items should only be handled by you directly. (You may need to move them in batches over to your new home.)

Before we began our last move, I put a few small boxes of  my most treasured belongings in a friend’s car. If that’s not possible, leave those boxes for last and carry them in your lap in the front of the cab. Accidents happen and if something is lost or broken during the move it’ll help to know you did everything you could to protect your most treasured belongings.

Are Your Movers Insured?

Now that we have your prized possessions protected, what about everything else? If your move is DIY, you might want to reach out to your insurance company to get additional coverage on your belongings while they are in transit.

If you’re hiring movers, certified professional moving companies are required to have insurance, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Typically, movers have built-in coverage provided at no extra charge, but Hargraves says, “A lot of people assume they’re covered and that’s a mistake. It covers up to 60 cents per pound [for lost or damaged items] which is so minimal it doesn’t really cover anything.” Additional coverage is often available for an extra fee:

  • Depreciated Value Coverage: Movers pay market value for a lost item, minus depreciation, or a predetermined amount per pound.
  • Replacement Value Coverage: Movers pay in full for any lost or damaged items.

Hargraves recommends when planning a move, “Look at your own situation and see how much you have, how valuable it is, and how much cash you have on hand to insure it.”

If you do use movers, don’t let them leave before you’ve gone through your things and confirmed there’s no damage. If there is damage, make sure they sign an acknowledgment so you can file a claim.

When you’ve finished unpacking and purchasing new things like furniture and electronics, update your home inventory again so you have an accurate record of your belongings in case an unexpected event results in lost or damaged property and you need to file a claim.

More on Moving and Insurance:

How to Save Money on Your Property Taxes When Moving Within the Same State

Trees, Neighbors and Insurance Coverage: What You Need to Know

How Soon After Buying a House Can You Switch Homeowners Insurance?

Title Insurance For Your Home: Do You Need an Owner’s and Lender’s Title Policy?

Should I Make a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim?