List of Important Moving Documents

Moving guides - January 11, 2019

Moving can be really complicated. There are so many things to accomplish in a relatively short time period! You have to get everything in order, and there are mountains of paperwork involved. Thankfully, it’s something good organization can definitely help with. So, you might be wondering, what paperwork is there? What important moving documents do you have to have on hand? Well, there’s a lot of them, and with damn good reason. After all, one of the first moving tips anyone hands out is “get everything in writing”. And they’re right! If you get everything in writing, you avoid nasty surprises and misunderstandings alike. You don’t have to worry about faulty memory, you can double-check whenever you want, and you won’t fall prey to unscrupulous movers.

A man extending his hand for a handshake.
Be wary of a mover who insists that just a verbal agreement and a handshake are fine. They aren’t.

The bill of lading is your most important moving document

So, what’s a bill of lading? Simply put, it’s the contract between you and your movers. It’s like a receipt, but for your entire move instead of for items! It’s legally binding, and it outlines everything you can expect from your moving company. So, it’s definitely something you can’t misplace! First, since it has every important fact on it. Second, because if you accidentally choose wrongly and get fraudulent movers, your bill of lading is how you can sue. This is common knowledge, but it bears repeating, especially since we’re living in the era of click-through Terms Of Service: read what you sign. No matter if you have a verbal agreement otherwise if it’s not on your bill of lading, they don’t have to do it. This is definitely a document you can’t lose.

The moving estimate is one of the most important moving documents

Everyone throws around the words “moving estimate”, but what is it? Well, a moving estimate is an estimated price tag for your move. It’s also referred to as a moving quote. They come in several flavors – and it’s important to know the difference between binding and non-binding moving quotes. This is very important, as the price tag on those can vary!

Someone planning out their budget - though not official, also one of the important moving documents.
A moving estimate helps with budgeting!

If you pick a non-binding moving quote and your actual moving costs exceed what the movers gave you as an estimate, you will have to pay up even if it’s above your budget. That can be dangerous if you pick shady movers, who can claim the actual expenses were way higher than the estimates they gave you, and you can’t contradict them – so protect yourself from moving fraud! If you pick a binding moving quote, that is what you’ll pay no matter what – that means even if the actual cost is lesser! The third option, binding not-to-exceed estimate, is the best of both worlds for customers. Not-to-exceed means that if the price was greater than the estimate, the customer doesn’t have to pay more, but if it was lesser, the customer will pay less.

Order of service is one of the often overlooked important moving documents

An order of service basically outlines exactly what kind of service you’ll receive. It also has details like the exact date and time of the pickup and drop-off! If you’ve hired piano movers Brooklyn, for example, piano moving and details about it will be on the order of service. You will have to sign it, and so will your mover. It should match your bill of lading – if your bill of lading has something, not on your order of service, there’s a problem!

Someone signing one of their important moving documents.
The most important moving documents are the ones you’ve signed.

You’ll get an inventory list as one of your important moving documents

The inventory list is exactly what it says on the tin. Your movers will note down everything they load onto the truck, and issue you a comprehensive list. It should come with the conditions of the items – this is for everyone’s safety. However, if you haven’t hired a packing service, and so have packed everything yourself, they’ll just list it as packed by owner. After all, they’re not gonna go digging around your packed boxes! You should be aware of important federal laws when it comes to what things you can pack, especially if you’ve hired long distance movers Brooklyn. Did you know many states have federal laws against moving plants? Make sure you’re not doing anything illegal by accident!

What are your important moving documents – as in the documents you need to gather when moving?

It’s true that moving comes with it’s own paperwork, but we all come with more paperwork than we’re aware of. There are many personal documents you may need, that can be disastrous or expensive to lose during a move. Just imagine the horror of losing your passport in a move, and not realizing it until you want to travel out of the country! With that in mind, here’s a non-exhaustive list of easily-misplaced yet important documents.

  • Your birth certificate might not be the first thing on your mind when you think of important moving documents, but you need it for a surprising amount of things. Need a driver’s licence? Birth certificate! Copy of your social security card? Birth certificate! Not to mention that it can be a hassle to replace, especially if you’ve switched states or cities!
  • Your medical records are definitely on the list. Especially if you don’t have a chronic illness and you’re in tip top shape, since that’s often when it doesn’t cross your mind. You don’t want to have to hunt for those when you’re not.
  • Your kid’s school records, if they’re transferring schools.
  • What about your pet? Your pet’s veterinary records!
  • Are you moving specifically to start work? Good news! You might qualify for a tax deduction – so make sure to get all the things you need for it!
  • Do you have a car? Make sure to get all the information about it handy, because you’ll have to change registrations in your new state.
  • Freshly moved? What about your mail? Make sure to change your address with the USPS website!

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