5 Reasons To Check Your New Home Insurance Policy Immediately After Moving


Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, living anywhere near the Gulf of Mexico means you need to prepare ahead for storm season. 

That doesn’t just mean getting a generator and stocking up on food essentials. 

If you’re into going above and beyond (kind of like us!), you’ll want to do the smart thing and check on your home insurance policy so you’re not left high and wet dry!

We sat down with Ken Robinson of MAKZ Insurance to get the scoop on why it’s so important to examine your insurance policy as soon as possible. 

So why do you really need to check out the details of your home or renters policy right away?

According to Ken, here’s exactly what you should know (and do) about your renters and homeowners insurance policies before the official start of hurricane season!

Table of Contents

#1: Insurance Carriers Prepare Early for Storm Season—Even if You Don’t

Hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin (which includes the Gulf of Mexico where the great state of Texas extends) *officially* lasts from June 1 to November 30 each year. 

But, as anyone living in Texas, Florida, or Louisiana knows, a tropical storm can strike at any time. 

In fact, the first hurricanes of 2020 actually began in May:

A survey by the American Psychiatric Association found that Americans are the most anxious about finances, safety, and health. Moving can trigger anxiety because it impacts your finances and safety.

If you think insurance companies don’t track weather reports, think again.

So instead of waiting until the eleventh hour of a storm forecast, there are quite a few reasons you shouldn’t wait to do an insurance check-up. More obvious factors include protecting your major investments (like your house, rental property, and your personal items.)

The less obvious reason? 

Cutoff dates are set by all insurance carriers in the face of named storms. 

Yes, this varies by the insurer, but if you don’t prepare early, you could end up waiting too late to get or update your homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

#2: You Can’t Get ‌Homeowners‌ or Renters ‌Insurance‌ During‌ ‌Hurricane‌ ‌Season

Let’s clear something up:

While Ken verifies that you can get homeowners or renters insurance at any time—remember, official hurricane season starts June 1—there is a catch when it comes to impending storm warnings…

“You cannot get insurance when a named storm is so many miles away from the coast,” he says. 

“So for instance, if you’re in the Houston or Galveston area, and a named storm is like, 100 miles off the coast… Most carriers shut down binding authority, which means that you can’t buy a policy at that time.”  

Why the heck does this even happen?

Insurance carriers operate off of their financial reserves to pay out claims, based on the number of clients. 

The companies could literally go bankrupt if they accommodated everyone who scrambles to get home or renters insurance due to a storm forecast. 

Then, they’d have to pay out MASSIVE amounts of claims all at once, based on the hundreds of thousands of new clients…

We’re talking in the millions to billions of dollars worth of damage that storms often cause.

Imagine how quickly the industry would collapse if they accepted new clients every time a storm was miles away from the coast of a major city! 

To protect their reserves, carriers set a cut-off date for purchasing last-minute policies.  That’s why it’s critical to buy, change, or adjust your renters or home insurance policy before storm season even starts. 

—Ken Robinson, MAKZ Insurance Tweet

“Don’t wait until it’s too late,” Ken warns, “because if you wait until the storm is 100 miles off the coast, it’s too late. Every carrier has their [own rules] and threshold of what they feel is their breaking point.” 

That goes for all types of property policies: homeowners insurance, renters insuranceflood insurance, and even auto insurance!”

#3: Storm Damage Isn’t Necessarily Covered by Your Homeowners Insurance

You should definitely check out what your deductible says on your declaration page specifically regarding storm damage. 

Perhaps you assume that coverage is automatically included, but that depends on a few things.

Some insurance carriers combine wind, hail, and named storms under one deductible, while others have three separate deductibles for each. 

All storms are typically covered by your policy unless you or your carrier exclude the coverage for some reason… Such as, where you live:

“There are parts of Galveston, and down the coast where you may have to get a separate wind policy because you’re too close to the coast,” Ken says, “But, for the most part, all homeowner’s policies cover wind damage, fire, and most storms.”

#4: Flooding Is Super Common During Storms, but Isn’t Covered by Your Renters or Homeowner Policy

One thing our team and Ken have noticed in plenty of discussions with new homeowners or people moving into storage, is the confusion over flood coverage. 

And, since it floods so easily in the Gulf Coast, Ken wants to end the confusion once and for all.

Flood coverage is an entirely separate policy, which means you have to add it to your current coverage. 

Don’t assume that just because you have homeowners or renters insurance that you also have flood insurance. Make sure you check with your insurance carrier to verify.

#5: Your Policy’s Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value Coverage Can Be Very Different

Your policy’s replacement cost vs. actual cash value (ACV) can be very different.

Typically, under a basic renters or homeowners policy, your personal property is covered at ACV instead of replacement value. 

You can increase or upgrade this with your carrier, though.

Here’s the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost when it comes to covering your damages:

This is the amount your item is worth, including depreciation over time. Whatever amount is not covered, you’ll have to make up the difference yourself.

This is the amount your insurance carrier will pay to replace your item at its brand-new & current cost

To decide between keeping ACV or upgrading to replacement cost, Ken suggests that you:

  1. Get an appraisal if you’ve been in a home for a while (say, 10-15 years), or have had major repairs/renovations done. 
  2. Take inventory of what you own. Using a receipt-tracking app or folder in your email is a great way to document when and how much you paid for each item. This way, you can decide which insurance option is best.
  3. Adjust your replacement cost/ACV policy limits through your insurer so you have solid coverage in case of a hurricane.
  4. Even renters may need to adjust their policy limits, especially if you own high-value items. You can also get a special endorsement for pieces like jewelry. The good news is you only really need to worry about your personal belongings

Replacement cost vs. actual cash value can be a little more complicated than what’s presented here.

See more in-depth info in our previous post about the differences between replacement cost and ACV to help you determine how much you need (of either option) to protect your new home:

Wrapping Up

There’s nothing better than knowing your personal property is safe (or that you’ll at least be reimbursed if it’s damaged)… especially as we face increasingly stronger, more frequent storms here in Texas.

Now that you know to start early, ensure you have the best renters or homeowners policy coverage for your needs before storm season! Get in touch with your agent to protect your home or personal belongings right away. 

You can also contact Ken Robinson at MAKZinsurance.com for assistance with any confusing insurance details.

Remember, if you’re already moving out or need storage due to storm damage, we’re always here to help you, too!

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Yes, You Can Still Move With No Power & Burst Pipes. Here’s How.


Did Mother Nature interrupt your plans to have a smooth moving day by knocking out your power or bursting your pipes? 

Even if a major, weather-related inconvenience has put a damper on your previously scheduled move, you do have options.  

In some cases, your move can continue as scheduled if your moving company makes some adjustments.

In other cases, you may need to change your plans so you can still leave while having as little damage to your belongings as possible. 

Either way, a stressful situation calls for an easy solution, and we’re here to help you get your sanity back! 

See your options for moving in several distressing scenarios and how 3 Men Movers can help you safely settle into your new space.

Scenario 1: It’s Move Day—And Your Power Went Out

Believe it or not, you can absolutely move even if your power goes out.

Why fight the cold when you can move elsewhere (especially if you were planning to do so anyway)?

It may sound too encouraging, but we promise, it’s not. 

Having your electricity fail doesn’t mean you have to postpone your move day— our crews can simply move you during the daylight.

What to do if you’re moving without electricity:

  1. Gather any battery-operated flashlights or power banks to charge your mobile devices. This is important to do even if you’re leaving to go elsewhere. 
  2. Schedule your move for the desired date and choose a morning timeslot only. Flex moves aren’t advised if movers have to come to a home without electricity. Since they’re designed to be adaptable to the time needed for previous moves, flex moves won’t work for you or your movers because your crew needs the surest possibility of full daylight.
  3. Even if you’re staying at a friend’s house, you can always book the move using their phone or computer, and movers can meet you at your residence. This is why it’s so important to have a charged cell phone in case they call you with updates or questions!

Scenario 2: Your Pipes Burst & You Need To Move Everything, Fast

Unfortunately, wintery weather—or simply bad plumbing—can turn even a dream home into a nightmare.

If this ever happens to you, you know how awful and frustrating it feels. 

Besides consulting your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s policy on sudden and accidental water damage (most declarations include them, but some don’t), you’ll probably want to leave before things get any worse. 

If you’re really lucky, this may mean moving into an immediately available apartment.

Since an instant apartment is not always a reality for many people who suddenly have a burst pipe to deal with, your goal should be to keep everything as dry as possible and remove furniture as soon as you can.

How to prepare before any pipes are frozen or burst:

  1. Plumbers are in short supply during winter when pipes are most likely to burst. Still, try to find a 24-hour service as soon as you hear reports of prolonged temps below 32-degrees Fahrenheit (that’s when water freezes).
  2. Turn on your faucets to a pencil-size stream—not a measly drip.
  3. **TIP: Use HotHands 12-to-18-hour body warmers in the towels to distribute the heat when temperatures drop. Available at Target, Walmart, and many grocery or dollar stores. You can also try pipe sleeves, heat cables, or heat tape from home improvement stores. 
  4. Open all cabinets housing your pipes so warm air can circulate around them.
  5. Use extra linens or blankets to insulate heat in areas where it often escapes: via garages, attics, crawlspaces, and doors. 

What to do if you’re moving because your pipes burst:

  1. IMPORTANT: Turn off electricity to any areas with flooding or leaks.
  2. Turn off your water at the main valve or at the valves under your sinks and near appliances.
  3. Drain any remaining water from pipes that may not be frozen yet. Do this by turning on your faucets to a pencil-size stream (again, not a drip).
  4. Move any upholstered pieces to the driest part of your space and manually dry what you can with a hairdryer or towels. (Items need to be dry for movers to handle them, so do this first.)
  5. Wrap or cover anything that isn’t already wet using garbage bags, shower curtains or basically anything that’s non-porous and non-absorbent. Leaks from burst pipes can appear suddenly, so this helps secure your furniture just in case. 
  6. Schedule your move for as soon as possible. You’ll want to get your items removed immediately, but remember that they need to be dry first.
  7. Movers can either load your items into a new residence, or place them into a facility of your choice, or house your furniture in our climate-controlled self-storage (Houston area only) or MOVITS™ containers (San Antonio & Houston).
  8. To minimize additional damage from frozen and stopped pipes, wrap any exposed indoor/outdoor pipes with towels or newspaper, then with plastic or garbage bags to stay dry. 

Scenario 3: You Need to Remove Furniture From a Heavily Damaged Area

Maybe you don’t need to completely move out of your home or apartment…

Perhaps you simply need your beloved furnishings to be temporarily moved. 

If your current circumstances involve getting furniture out of the way so repairs can be done in a certain area—like a damaged wall or room—our movers can still help you.

In fact, you can book our MOVITS™ storage containers in San Antonio or Houston to stash your furniture until you need it again. 

How MOVITS™ storage helps when you’re doing repairs:

  • MOVITS™ are perfect for long-term or short-term storage
  • You can get multiple containers, or just one to fit your needs. 
  • MOVITS™ containers are designed to store the average 2-bedroom apartment, so you don’t need a literal house full of furniture. 
  • Even if you have no idea when your repairs will be finished—or if you don’t need everything all at once—our crews bring the MOVITS™ directly to you

What to do when moving furniture out of the way for home repairs:

  1. Before you, a contractor, or the movers touch anything, take pictures to document and report all damages to your insurer.
  2. Save any notes or photographic evidence somewhere safe and private (preferably on a digital cloud storage like iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox. We’ve made a home inventory sheet for you below!) 
  3. Pack whatever you can using suitcases or boxes you already have.
  4. To make everyone comfortable, please pack precious or sentimental items before movers arrive. 
  5. Disconnect and drain washers and/or freezers & refrigerators at least 12 hours before the move.
  6. If you don’t have any packing supplies, tell us and we’ll bring them to pack for you (NOTE: having a crew pack items in boxes is a separate service.)
  7. After booking your MOVITS™, we bring it to you and load your furniture inside.
  8. The crew will drive your container back to our climate-controlled warehouse and await your next call.
  9. Contact us whenever you’re ready, and we will deliver and unload your MOVITS™! 

Wrapping Up

So there you have it:

You can still move with us during a power outage, burst pipes, and even while repairs are being done in your home.

Remember, we’re just a click or call away so don’t hesitate to let us help you move in any of these conditions!

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Moving In Summer? This Is Your Cool Safety Guide.


 

Planning on moving in the summer heat and trying not to fry like an egg on a hot sidewalk?  

Summer is peak moving season. So not only is it hot, but it’s the busiest time for both movers and residents.  

Considering the amount of time and effort involved in moving, you don’t want to waste time or overheat yourself or a moving crew. 

Can you picture the ultimate summertime post-move scenario:

Relaxing with your air conditioner blasting…

Stress-free and totally finished?

If you can’t, that’s cool (pun intended). Because, luckily for you, we’ve learned a thing or two throughout 30+ years of moving during Texan summers, when 100-degree temps are super common. 

Whether you’re hiring movers or DIYing it, check out these summer moving tips that will keep you cool and collected despite scorching temps and insects. 

1. Take Lots of Breaks in Hot Weather

It’s great to pride yourself on keeping a steady pace no matter what kind of work you do. But, remember, moving day is not the time to overexert yourself! Especially if you’re moving in summer when it often gets extremely hot outside.

Keep these tips in mind. They’ll be particularly helpful if you’re not used to lifting heavy items or have a medical condition vulnerable to heat:  

  • Be comfortable; don’t rush to avoid rest periods during your move. 
  • Have intervals for mini-breaks—time yourself or set reminders if necessary.
  • Sit in the shade whenever you start feeling winded, thirsty, or tired. 

You might not want to delay your move, but consider how a trip to the hospital would interrupt your day if you get severe dehydration or heatstroke! 

It’s not worth the risk. 

 

2. Stay Consistently Cool & Hydrated

You lose water when you sweat. If you do vigorous activity and don’t replace fluids as you go along, you can become dehydrated. Hot, humid weather increases the amount you sweat and the amount of fluid you lose.

Not a big water drinker? Well, now is the time to start! (At least on moving day.)

Buy a liter or gallon of water and get ready to build a new relationship with H2O. It’s what’s going to keep you alive during your summertime move! If you simply can’t bring yourself to drink plain water all day, try sports drinks like Gatorade

Either way, thorough hydration doesn’t just start on your move day. Try to start drinking water regularly at least 1-2 days before moving

Skip this, and you risk sweating out all your electrolytes after spending a couple of hours dragging your furniture and dozens of boxes out the door. The good news is that technology makes it simple to track your water intake, like this list of apps that fight dehydration.

Stick to these science-backed summer moving tips to stay hydrated:

  • Pack enough hydrating fluids for all day. 
  • Stick to drinking water, coconut water, or electrolyte-rich, sugarless sports drinks. 
  • Avoid dehydrating beverages high in caffeine or sugar, like energy drinks or juice.
  • Totally skip the alcohol (you can celebrate moving later!)
  • Pack a snack of fresh fruit, especially if you can’t carry a drink along.

Finally, who could forget about air conditioning

Living in Texas wouldn’t be the same without it, so make sure to set up your electricity service for your move day. You’ll want to make sure the lights and air conditioning are on at your new place before moving in summer!

 

3. Watch Out for Summertime Insects on Your Move Day

From 1997 to 2017 in July:  279 Americans died after being stung by hornets, wasps or bees. 2,917 Americans died from heat exposure. (CDC.gov)

Southern summers are notorious for insects.  

If you’re not familiar with the South, here our summers are pretty much a competition between bugs and the sun. 

With rainfall, high humidity, and lots of tasty humans hanging outside, it’s basically playtime for insects, including mosquitos. 

Mosquito-borne diseases—like the West Nile and Zika viruses—have also been found in the world’s deadliest animal here in Texas. So, it’s vital to protect yourself! 

Not to mention roaches, disease-carrying ticks, and other critters who like hitching rides on your stuff. The last thing you need is an infestation in your new home!

Stinging insects can also attack when feeling threatened by you or a mover who disturbs their nests. 

Use these tips to avoid insect issues when you’re moving in the summer:

  • Allergic or attractive to mosquitos? Book a fixed move time when mosquitoes are least active. Avoid dusk & dawn.  
  • Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes like to breed. 
  • Apply an EPA-approved insect spray, but don’t use it on children under 2. Offer some to your movers, too!
  • Inspect all indoor & outdoor furniture and fabrics for infestations before deciding to take them with you.
  • Clear out fire ant hills, especially if they’re on the path to your new or former property. You don’t want to accidentally trip on them! 
  • Spray or hire a pest control company up to 1 month before moving.
  • Safely remove small wasp nests near outside corners or doorways. 
  • Always call a professional to remove larger nests of hives of ants, wasps, termites, or bees, which are more dangerous to you & your structure. 
  • Don’t spray beehives! Bee pesticides are often illegal and honeybee populations are critical to our food supplies. Call an apiary professional for help. 
  • Repair damage & clean residue so that your structure isn’t unstable and more critters don’t come around. (Extra important if you’re selling a home!)
  • Check and treat pets so they don’t carry ticks or fleas into your new place.
  • Avoid attracting ticks by wearing light-colored, long shirts and pants with the legs tucked into socks or high boots.

 

4. Overestimate the Power of the Sun

You can avoid sunburn, heat exhaustion, or heat-destroyed items by taking the right precautions when moving. 

Some smart tips to stay safe from the ravages of the summer sun when you’re moving: 

  • Check the weather forecast 1-7 days before your move to get prepared.
  • Stay hydrated using the tips in point #1; don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
  • Pick move time outside of rush-hour traffic. You can do this by booking early and packing ahead of time.
  • Wear appropriate SPF sunscreen for your skin tone (waterproof if you sweat heavily).
  • If you’re prone to sunburn, consider wearing additional sun protection (e.g. hats, sunglasses).
  • Choose light, loose-fitting clothing that is breathable and won’t snag on furniture
  • Wrap towels around frozen ice packs or place in a cooler full of ice for you and your movers to use. 
  • If you’re moving alone, load electronics last and unload them first so they’re not sitting in the heat. 
  • Only put heat-sensitive, combustible items in cool, well-ventilated areas away from vehicle windows
  • Plan to securely transport ammunition on your own. Most movers will not transport live ammo or loaded weapons, especially not in summer heat.
  • Unload, discharge, and clean any guns or gun safes before moving.
  • Never leave pets or children in cars unattended and/or without air conditioning. 

 

5. Recognize Signs of Heat Sickness in High Temperatures

Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures…. The condition is most common in the summer months.” 

—Mayo Clinic

Overexerting yourself?

Profusely sweating?

Staying outside for way too long?

Stuck in traffic with the sun baking your skin through your car windows?

Be wary because things could get dangerous.

In order to be prepared for any possibility, get familiar with the symptoms of heat-related illness in case it happens on your move day.

That way, you can get medical help for you or your movers, fast

See some common symptoms1, 2, 3 of dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke to look out for during your move:

Dehydration 

most mild

Heat Cramps

mildly serious

Heat Exhaustion

somewhat serious

Heatstroke

most serious

What it feels like: Extreme thirst.  Dizziness, fatigue, or confusion. Urine the color of apple juice or darker. Muscle pain, spasms, heavy sweating Fast, weak pulse; cool skin with goosebumps, faintness or dizziness, nausea, headache, low blood pressure if standing,  and/or muscle cramps. High temperature ( ≥ 104°F or 40°C).  Fast, strong pulse.  Hot, dry, red or damp skin. Confusion, agitation, passing out.  Dizziness, headache, or nausea.  Rapid breathing.
Where it happens: Mouth (due to thirst), head, or all over the body (sweating) Any muscle group you move a lot All over your body, especially the skin, head & stomach. All over your body.
What causes it (combined with heat): Excessive sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting.  Increased urination. Fluid and electrolyte loss, often from excessive sweating. Strenuous physical movement in high temperatures—especially with high humidity. Dehydration. Strenuous physical activity.  Drinking alcohol before moving.  Lack of air conditioning.  Certain health conditions.
What to do:  Stop physical activity to cool off.  Drink water or electrolytes. Rest for several hours.  Cool off.  Drink electrolytes. Loosen clothes.  Cool off with a bath, garden hose, or wet towels.  Sip water or electrolytes. Take a cool (not cold) bath or wet towels.  Remove excess clothing.
Seek a doctor if: Diarrhea is present for 24 hours or more.  Irritable, disoriented, or sluggish. Cramps last for over 1 hour.  You’re on a low-salt diet.  You have heart issues. Vomiting.  Symptoms get worse or last over 1 hour. Get the person to a cool place. Do not provide drinks. Seek medical help immediately. 

 

You can probably tell that it all starts with being adequately hydrated.  

If you or someone else starts experiencing those more serious symptoms during your move when it’s hot outside, pause the move, and seek medical attention immediately.

 

6. Let Professionals Handle Moving in Summer Heat

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by these tips or if you’re worried about prolonged heat exposure, consider hiring a moving company to do the heavy lifting for you. 

Lower your moving anxiety by just concentrating on packing. This will prepare you to move without having to be outside long. 

Many moving companies in Texas have been helping people move in the heat for years. Specifically, we’re pros at it because we’ve been training professionals to move in scalding Texas summers for over three decades!  

Before you hire movers to help you in the summer, do these two things first:

  • Prepare and pack well to have a faster, efficient move. 
  • Know how many crew members are coming & their experience levels.

You’re paying by the hour. So ask your chosen company how long your designated crew has been moving. The last thing you want in summer is a rookie crew who isn’t used to moving in hot weather. Professional, experienced crews can move all day without excessive breaks.  

Many people wonder if they have to feed their movers. 

While we definitely appreciate the sentiment, we don’t recommend it.

But, it is nice to get a few cold bottles of water or sports drinks rich in electrolytes (like Gatorade or Pedialyte) to offer the crew. 

Dehydration is exhausting and can stifle our mental and physical reflexes.

So, helping your moving crew stay sharp and hydrated can only benefit your move!

 

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re moving from one Texan city to another, or if you’re simply brand-new to a place with sweltering heat, moving in the summer is going to be a challenge if you’re not prepared.

Sure, you might have grand plans to spend all day lugging your belongings from your house to the moving truck, but those plans will probably change after 10 minutes in the Texas heat! (And no, it’s not a dry heat. It’s pretty humid, which means it’s more like wet, sticky, uncomfortable heat). 

Granted, this doesn’t mean you have to postpone your move until fall. 

Follow the tips above, and you’ll safely survive moving in the summer heat with no sweat.

 

 


Sources: 

  1. Mayo Clinic. 2017. “Heat Exhaustion – Symptoms and Causes.” MayoClinic.Org. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 2017. 
  2. 2019. “Heatstroke – Symptoms and Causes.” MayoClinic.Org. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). July 16, 2019. 
  3. National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2017. “Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness.” CDC.gov. Centers for Disease Control. September 1, 2017.
  4. UPMC Sports Medicine. 2016. “Hydration: The Importance of Replacing Sweat Losses.” UPMC.com. University of Pittsburgh: Schools of the Health Sciences. ‌

Domestic Violence Survivor’s Moving Safety Guide [DOWNLOAD]


Moving out or threatening to leave is the most dangerous thing a domestic violence survivor can do. 

It’s also the most necessary thing a survivor can do. 

This downloadable domestic violence moving safety guide is designed to make it easier. 

It explains not only what you need to do in detail, but how and why. 

This guide is brought to you by our partnership with the domestic violence shelter, Fort Bend Women’s Center (FBWC). 

P.S. We will never sell your personal info.

“It is crucial that you do not tell your abuser, his family, his friends, or any mutual friends of your plans to leave.  This could sabotage your plans, or even worse, cost you your life.”

Peggy Wright, Director of Sexual Assault & Counseling Programs at Fort Bend Women’s Center

Domestic Violence Survivors’ Moving Safety Guide

By leveraging our vast moving assets and crews, we’re driving items donated during a move to the FBWC resale shop, PennyWise. 

Download a Free Domestic Violence Moving Safety Guide

So why are we doing this?

This way, the Center can generate more profits and funds to support survivors who leave and try rebuilding their lives. 

FBWC provides not only shelter, but therapy, connections with legal advocates, access to medical care, training resources, and so much more. 

The help survivors receive is vital. They most often leave with nothing for themselves and their children or pets. 

Stopping family violence is not whimsical, part-time dabbling for us. 

It’s a goal that we will do anything to reach. 

If you have an upcoming move

Let us know during booking, and we’ll take items or furniture you don’t want (with a few restrictions) as donations. 

Not only is it one less thing you have to worry about, but you’ll feel better knowing that it ended up in a much more useful place than a landfill.  

If you’re not moving but still want to help

There are still ways you can support FBWC and domestic violence survivors. Please consider giving in one of the following ways:


Escaping Domestic Violence? Here’s How to Move Out Safely.


For victims of domestic violence, the COVID-19 pandemic presents another obstacle when trying to leave toxic situations and move out.

With stay-at-home orders, job losses, financial and emotional hardships, and lack of resources or support, moving out and escaping an abuser unharmed can seem like an intimidating effort.

“What we do know is that because of COVID-19 there has been a dramatic increase in domestic violence1, not only in our county but around the world. We also know that most of the area shelters are full and because of the epidemic are not accepting new clients, so it is a particularly dangerous time for victims who are still with their abusers.”

Peggy Wright, Director of Sexual Assault & Counseling Programs at Fort Bend Women’s Center

If you’re experiencing domestic violence and need to leave quickly, you may be too anxious or frightened to hash out the details.

So, below is a plan to follow. If you don't have time to do everything on this list—that's okay. Oftentimes, people escaping abuse don't have days or weeks to plan.

Pick out what works for your situation and do whatever you can do to stay safe.

If abuse has escalated to the point that you fear for your life or that of any children in the house, please call 9-1-1.

Read on to see moving tips for those escaping domestic violence, and download the moving safety guide designed to help abuse survivors plan a safe relocation.


Before Moving: Plan Your Exit

If you live with an abuser, you may not feel you have the courage to move out yet. 

And that’s okay

Even before you’re ready to take that first step, planning is critical.  Doing it early—even if you're not prepared to leave as soon as possible—will boost your chances of success.

Here are some tips from movers and our friends at Fort Bend Women’s Center:

  • Set aside money when you can. Shelters offer services free of charge. It’s still a great idea to have your own money to access depending on how you are moving out and your post-move plans.
  • Things will be easier if you have money to access independently. Try setting up a checking or savings account in your own name at a bank that is separate from your partner. 

Gather your most important and valuable items.

It doesn’t have to be all at once, but set aside what you can, whenever you can.  (Examples: extra car keys, car title/lease paperwork, emergency cash, insurance cards, birth/marriage certificates, social security cards, health records, extra medications, debit/credit cards, extra clothes, children’s clothing or supplies, any evidence of physical abuse— like photos, journals, notes, medical or police records, etc.). 

  • Store them in a private place. Private, as in, ONLY you have access to it. Do not leave this with anyone close to your abuser or any place where your abuser could easily find it. (Examples: a personal lockbox, a backpack, with a trusted friend or family member, or in a safety deposit box in a bank your abuser doesn’t know about). 
  • Make copies of any documents your abuser is likely to notice are missing.

Create a code word, phrase, or signal.

If you have children or other loved ones living with you and your abuser, they need to know exactly what to do when you say this.

Also do this with any trusted friends, family, or neighbors you can call on stay with or help you leave.

(Examples of a plan: Go to a neighbor’s home, ask your school staff to call/text me, call grandma). 

In case you’re in a situation where your abuser is closely monitoring your every move, or listening, create a code term that sounds natural but is unique to you and your loved ones.

You should also practice what to do in case of danger—especially if you have kids. 

If possible, get your own cell phone.

The chance that an abuser has secretly installed a surveillance app on their victim’s phone is extremely high. Many IPS (intimate partner surveillance) apps can be installed without even touching a cell phone.

According to MIT’s Technology Review, one survivor even recounts how opening a photo texted from her ex-boyfriend gave him total access to her cellphone—including her apps, current location, emails, passwords, camera, and even social media accounts.

If you can get your own phone, use a passcode that can’t be easily guessed.

How to safely handle a cell phone to plan your move:

  1. DO NOT ditch the compromised phone, (this could enrage the abuser). Use it for simple tasks, but do not use it to call/ search for movers or domestic abuse resources.
  2. Suspect you’re being spied on? Don’t bother paying for anti-spyware apps since most can’t find all the creepy software, and the abuser could react violently. The only way to remove it is to factory reset the phone, and that will remove all your current apps and settings. It’s best to get a cheap phone that allows you to privately text, browse the internet, plan your move, and make calls to police or family violence centers. 

Can’t get your own cell phone?

Keep the Fort Bend Women’s Center hotline number handy: 281-342-4357. They suggest “saving it under something innocent like the name of a restaurant [or business] you like."

To plan your move from an abusive situation:

  1. Use a public computer at a library, school, or friend’s house. If you know where you’ll be moving, set up mail forwarding through your local United States Post Office, or do it online for $1.05. If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, you can get help from a shelter when you’re there. (Log out of all services and clear your history when you’re done.)
  2. Research how you’ll move. Will another trusted adult be helping you move? Will you hire a moving company instead? Make sure that whatever company you choose has domestic violence policies in place (what we call “privacy moves”), and that the movers have undergone criminal background checks. We call these “privacy moves” because we take every precaution to protect your privacy—which is vital in cases of abuse. No one who calls will be able to discuss details of the move just by using your name. In fact, you’ll be issued a personal file locator number so only you can review the move information. 
  3. Know your options: call shelters in advance.  This is important to learn the policies about whom they allow to stay or visit. Even if there isn’t room, a shelter can often refer you to another place. Hotels are often used to house people escaping abuse when centers are full, and staff members will assist with meals, health care, child care, pet care, education, job training, counseling, waivers for utilities and phone service, legal help, longer-term shelter, and more. 
  4. Shelters may be able to help you with pets.  Take any evidence you gathered previously, (like photos or medical records of abuse). Besides legal help, you’ll also want to ask if the shelter is pet-friendly. Typically, service and support animals are welcome. If not, you can leave your pet with a trusted friend or family member out of the abuser’s reach in case (s)he tries to retaliate. Shelters may also be able to connect you with resources on fostering your pet if necessary. Fort Bend Women's Center, for example, has connections with the Houston Humane Society and can help make arrangements for fostering or sheltering pets.
  5. Determine the best time to leave. If you live with your partner, ask yourself: when do they go to work or leave the home for extended periods of time? Are there any rooms you feel safe in that you can exit from in case you have to move quickly? If you don’t live with your partner, consider: When is the best time for you to be alone or have privacy?

Avoid posting or messaging anything on social media about your plan.

You’ll need to memorize important information, like phone numbers or addresses of trusted neighbors, friends, or family.

If you have children, tell them to memorize it too. Agree on a code word/phrase that will let everyone involved know what to do when it is used

Consider free private security.

There are some nonprofits that help domestic abuse victims move by standing watch in case an abuser shows up unannounced. One organization, called Reynolds Protection, is right here in Dallas, Texas!


On Move Day: Time is of the Essence

When survivors of violence leave their abusers, it can be a dangerous time. But you are strong enough to make it out! These steps will help make it easier on the day of your move. 

Confirm the details with your movers & others

Whether you’re hiring pros or supporters to help you move—or getting out by yourself—review how you want your move to work. Go over your code words and escape plan with children or people who are helping you move. Use a public computer (like at a library or at most shipping stores) to print out the destination in case your phone is being spied on. 

Make sure your essentials are ready to go.

In a hurry? Grab the essentials that you packed previously and go. Remember those copies you made? Leave them in case you have little to no belongings to move and don’t want your abuser to quickly catch on that you’ve left.

What to do if you don’t have boxes (or the money to buy them)

Ask your local grocery store. These boxes will probably be somewhat worn or less sturdy (and you may be able to only use them once), but grocery store boxes are a good fix if you have no money.

Your moving company can also provide these—especially if they have packing services.

Lock up anything that could be used as a weapon.

Make sure these items are as hard to reach as possible. (Example: Put things like guns, knives, or bats in a safe, on top of kitchen cabinets, or in a toilet water tank.)

Also, review where your exits and windows are located in case you have to run to another room.

Know your end destination.

Will you be leaving unexpectedly? Where will you go and how will you get there? Have your printed directions ready—especially if you think your cell phone is being used to spy on you.

If you have children at school and can't pick them up before moving...

Ask the front office to change release privileges so an abusive partner cannot pick them up after finding out you have left.

Sometimes when abusers feel they have lost control, they may try to lash out and retaliate by hurting your loved ones. Do this on the same day and time you’re planning to leave home you share with your abuser.

Ditch the compromised cell phone.

Remember: it’s highly likely that your abuser is spying on your location and whatever info passes to or from your phone.

Once you are safely on your way to your destination, that is the time to ditch your current phone or do a factory reset.

But first, log out of every online and app account you own so they can't access your location through your app and online account permissions.

NOTE: Things to know before doing a factory reset on your phone.

Resetting your phone will remove your current apps and settings, so you’ll have to download and log into them again.

Some apps you should avoid downloading again (like certain email apps) and only access them through a computer.

Update each account password and its security questions.

Change your passwords to something the abuser can’t guess. Do this for your email account first, because social media and other apps will often send location info to your email to authorize any changes.

Unable to discard the compromised phone?

Disable your Bluetooth, Bluetooth scanning, and location so your phone cannot communicate with other devices.

This is usually called Location Sharing in your Settings or menu bar.

Look in Settings to ensure Bluetooth scanning is disabled, as apps can use it to share your location even if you have Bluetooth turned off.

Check each application in your privacy and security settings to ensure suspicious-looking apps cannot access and share your information.

Download Google Voice, a free service that generates a virtual phone number for you to make and screen calls or texts.

Ensure that no one can make changes to your wireless service.

If you are the account holder for your wireless service, call and ask them to put additional security measures in place, or change your verbal PIN.

If you are setting up a new service, inform them of your situation as many providers will waive fees.

Have your personal phone easily available & set up Emergency SOS.

Moving out due to domestic violence can be scary, so it’s necessary to be prepared. Using the SOS feature is easy and will call the police first, then alert your emergency contacts in case you are in danger.

NOTE: In case of danger, use your Emergency SOS buttons or call 9-1-1 .

Use the secret code/phrase/signal with any children or people who are helping you move. Do not run to where your children or loved ones are, in case your partner tries to hurt them. If you must go to another room, make sure it has an exit.

What to do if your abuser shows up unexpectedly.

Your abuser may already be home when your friends/movers arrive— so it's important that your helpers are prepared. For movers, this means acting on their privacy move policies.

Example: at 3 Men Movers, this includes appearing as if they have the wrong house.

For children or supporters helping you move, this means acting on your emergency code word plan or calling 9-1-1 in case your partner becomes threatening or violent. 

Disable anything that could be used to track you during a move.

Moving out is an extremely sensitive and nerve-wracking process if you're dealing with abuse from an intimate partner. That's why it's critical to make your move-out as streamlined and private as possible. 

It's common for abusive partners to exert control by tracking you without you even knowing it. 

In fact, Bluetooth-enabled devices that were originally created to find lost items are being leveraged for stalking unsuspecting victims. 

Devices like Apple AirTags can be stealthily slipped into a bag or attached on a car and track everywhere you go. 

So not only should you check your vehicle and other belongings for trackers, it's also a good idea to turn off any GPS navigation in your car, and disable the location-tracking features on your smartphone. 

Be aware that if you have an iPhone, it can take anywhere between 8 to 24 hours before an AirTag will alert you to its presence.

That means you'll need to plan a specific time to check your belongings for tracking devices before moving out. 

Below are apps that can help you find out if you're being tracked by an unknown device:

Reach out to your safe place.

Wherever you’re going—be it a shelter or a loved one’s home—reach out first. See if they can provide you with any help or transportation to your destination.


After Moving: Protect Your Future

Follow these post-move privacy tips to embark on a new, brighter future and stay safe. 

Get & keep copies of your protective order

Depending on their funding and access to lawyers, shelter or domestic violence attorney may be able to connect you with a family violence attorney or help you fill out paperwork—but you may have to persistently check on the status.

Children and pets can be included in these orders, too.

Carry a certified copy of the protective order with you everywhere you go. Addresses may be on these documents or police reports, so consider using a P.O. box or a friend’s address for your mail.

Be careful who and where you submit your new phone number and address. 

Ask for service deposit waivers.

Getting a break for a while will help you gain financial independence and avoid returning to toxic partners who make you feel like you can’t succeed without them. 

In Texas, the deposit for utilities (like gas, electricity, and wireless/phone service) can be waived or reduced to a monthly basis.

The requirements include getting a letter signed by Certifying Entity and faxing it to the utility company (you can use faxes at any shipping/postal store).

According to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, entities that can sign utility waivers are

      1. Family violence centers
      2. Treating medical staff
      3. Law enforcement personnel
      4. Office of Texas District or County Attorney
      5. Office of the Attorney General
      6. Grantees of the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation 

 Change up your routine.

If you take the same route to/from work, take a different route.

Avoid going to the places your abuser knows. If you normally work or shop at night, try switching to the daytime. The most vulnerable time for survivors is when they leave and the abusive partner has lost control.

Ensure your abuser can’t predict where you’re going. This will be easier if you’re moving a lengthy distance from where your abuser lives.

Notify your workplace.

You just did an incredibly brave thing by choosing a better future! Someone else’s choices shouldn’t change that. Give a photo of the abuser to your work supervisors, security staff, or coworkers that you trust and work closely with at the same time.

They don’t have to know the details, but they should be aware that (s)he isn’t allowed near the premises to harass, stalk, or threaten you via a protective/restraining order.

You can also alert authorities at your children’s school, even if you changed their schools

Unlist your new phone number.

Lockdown new emails or social accounts. It’s common for abusers to show lots of remorse or even cry in order to get back into your life.

This is a manipulative tactic to regain control, and they may also try this through mutual friends or family. Unfortunately, you’ll have to make some changes to avoid caving to pressure.

  1. First, set up two-factor authentication (this is available on almost all Internet-based accounts).
  2. Next, do a social media cleanse, like blocking your abuser and their friends, not allowing yourself to be tagged in photos without review, not sharing any location tags/check-ins, etc. so they cannot see where you now live. If you share mutual custody of children, it’s more complicated. Shelters can connect you with a family violence attorney who can assist you further. Call your wireless company and ask to change or unlist your new phone number.

Read the Fine Print in New Contracts, Service Agreements, & Privacy Policies.

Finally, avoid doing business with companies who state in their Privacy Policies that your personal information might be sold for marketing purposes. 

Set up security in your new space.

Pick security systems (like cameras and alarms) with motion-sensitive lighting and backup that won’t fail in bad weather or can’t work without WiFi.

You’ll also want to make sure a simple laser cannot disable them.

Security system companies may also be able to help you settle in with discounts or a monthly waiver. For this, you may be asked to furnish some proof, so consult with your attorney or ask the company what you need to provide.

Replace wooden doors with steel or metal doors.

Secure windows, garages, locks, and doors with security bars or locks so they can’t be opened or kicked in from the outside.


How Survivors Can Get Help For Domestic Violence

If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation and needs help, please contact the following:

 


What Happens If It’s Raining on Your Moving Day?


Your new place is ready, your Austin movers are scheduled, and you’ve even started to pack. Being on top of things feels good! You check weather.com for your moving day and UGH, it forecasts rain. What happens if it's raining for your move?

It would be super if every day was a perfect temperature and sunny. But, that’s not the case—especially in Texas where weather is crazy and unpredictable from one day to the next. The great news is that as long as it’s not dangerous, 3 Men Movers will be there rain or shine.

If you do have the flexibility, just to avoid you or your things getting wet, it might be best to reschedule. We also know that sometimes you just can’t. Sometimes your house is closing, you can only take that day off work, or your lease is up. Here are some helpful things to know if you are moving in the rain:

How You Can Plan for Weather in Advance:

-Check the weather a few days ahead and especially the night before. If heavy rain or storms are forecasted for your moving time, give us a call 24/7 to see if we can come earlier or later.

-If it is raining, and you live where parking is limited, scout out a close by parking spot for the moving truck early so we can carry your things the shortest amount of distance in the rain.

Extra Measures We Take for Rain:

-We will use extra shrink wrap on everything, and extra blankets to protect your items from getting wet.

-If there is heavy downpour, we will stop the clock—i.e. the time you are paying—for up to an hour to make sure your things are safe and dry.

A Few Things You Should Know:

-Taking the proper safety precautions in the rain (driving, loading, wrapping, and unloading) may take a little longer than on a dry day.

-If the weather is really bad and it’s just not safe to move you, we will call and get you rescheduled.

Read Customer Reviews:

It was raining hard on the day of our move with a possibility of flooding. 3 Men Movers came in and wrapped everything in plastic before carrying it out. All of our belongings arrived at our new home dry as a bone. Would highly recommend 3 Men Movers. -Pat B.

Prompt, friendly and efficient! Andres Caesar and Javier worked straight through despite pouring rain and my belongings arrived safe and sound! Use them. You won’t regret it! -Kelly M

Joe and his team were extremely professional, efficient and a pleasure to work with! Despite dozens of stairs in our four story town home and pouring rain, they were able to get us moved into our new home extremely quickly and with smiles on their faces the whole way! -Allison S

One of our core values at 3 Men Movers is “We do what we say. Always.” This includes moving you on the day we say. So, if you need Austin movers you can count on, call us or get your free quote here.


How to Spot the Red Flags and Avoid Rogue Movers


As a Houston moving company that's been around for over 30 years, we've heard lots of horror stories about moving scams.

In fact, some of our customers came to us after realizing that another moving company scammed them, overcharged them, or just didn't honor their contract.

After listening to these horror stories, we decided enough was enough.

So, we made a short video showing you exactly how to check whether a moving company is operating legally.

We also created a list of red flags to look for before hiring movers in Houston.

Here are some of the signs to look out for if you want to avoid moving scams.

 

 

The Price Is Amazingly Low

If you're looking for Houston movers and see an ad offering cheap prices--like 30 or 40 percent less than all the rest--you're probably going to do a double take and consider calling them. Hey, who doesn't want to save money? And that's exactly what some dishonest moving companies count on!

They expect their low prices to get people in the door, at which point they'll nickel and dime you until you pay more than you should. And if they don't increase the price, they'll likely offer subpar services, which is all they can afford to give since they don't pay for insurance, aren't licensed with the DMV or use cheap, low-quality labor.

Basically, if it sounds too good to be true, it is!

There's a Lack of Identifying Information

A good Houston moving company is proud to tell you the business's name because the movers have spent years building their reputations. A company with tons of complaints, however, is going to be wary of giving you their name... which is why one of the moving red flags is when you call the company and they don't say their name.

Similarly, if you hire a Houston moving company and the truck doesn't have a logo or DMV number on it, that's a bad sign because movers are required to have both.

They Have a Bare-Bones Website

Before you hire a Houston moving company, check its website.

First, look for its street address.

If there's only a PO Box or no address at all, run!

You should be able to put the address into Google Maps and see a building so you know it's a legitimate company.

Also, if the website has stock photos or pictures of paid actors, these are moving red flags.

A legitimate moving company will have real photos of their movers and equipment. After all, you absolutely deserve to know who will be showing up at your home on moving day!

The DMV Says They're Not Active

Another item you should see on any moving website is the company's DMV number.

If you don't see it, don't hire those Houston movers. Even if you do see a DMV number, check to ensure the company is active by plugging in the number at the Texas DMV Truck Stop site.

The video above shows you how to search for a company in the database.

For moving companies, maintaining a proper state license is quite easy.

So, if the site says the company is no longer active, it's a HUGE red flag.

Avoid hiring those movers no matter what!

There's No Contract

A legitimate moving company should present you with a contract to sign before your move.

This allows you to formally agree on the price, schedule, and how to proceed if your Houston movers break or lose your belongings.

It also contains important policies and *should* be followed up by a Rights & Responsibilities pamphlet, as is required by law.

So, if a so-called 'moving company' doesn't offer this, they're simply not legal.

If there's no contract to sign, you're not as protected as you should be and it's best to cancel the move.

While you should do the research well before moving day, don't be afraid to cancel at the last minute if you're feeling uncomfortable with the Houston movers you hired. Moving day is hard enough without feeling pressured into keeping movers around who you don't trust.

You can always contact the Texas DMV or even 3 Men Movers if you're not sure if a Houston moving company is playing by the rules. We want to ensure you're safe and happy with your move, so contact us any time at our Houston office!


The Pros And Cons Of Moving During The Summer


Summer is without a doubt the busiest season for moving. However, moving during this time of year comes with positives and negatives. We’re going to give you both, along with a few helpful tips that will make moving in the summer a breeze!

The Pros

1. The real estate market is up during the summer

If you’re looking to sell your home, the summer is the perfect time to list. Making a profit from your current home will be essential to ensuring that you have an easy and budget-friendly summer move!

2. The timing aligns with the patterns of common life events

Many moves occur during summer because the timing correlates with major life changes. Kids go on summer vacation, grads move from their college towns, newlyweds move in together because it’s wedding season, and so on.

3. The weather

If you live in an extremely cold climate, the summer is probably the best time of year for you to move. Trying to get settled into your new home while dealing with snow, ice, and chilly weather is no bueno.

The Cons (& How To Combat Them)

1. The rental market peaks in the summer

Unlike for sellers, the summer is not an ideal time to look for a new place if you're renting. Because the demand is so high, apartments raise the rates on leases significantly.

Solution: Start looking for your apartment two months out

You will be able to put in your application as soon as tenants give their 60 days notice, or snag new apartments as soon as they go on the market. Depending on when you start looking you may be able to avoid peak summer rental prices.

2. Professional movers may be more expensive during the summer

Also due to the demand, the cost of moving fluctuates year-round and is typically higher during the summertime. You’ll need to budget more if you want to hire pros to handle your summer move. If you’re on the fence on whether to hire movers consult our guide.

Solution: Be fully packed when your movers arrive

Even though rates for movers will likely be higher in the summer, the best way to keep your bill low is to be fully packed and ready to go when your movers arrive. Having loose items will only make your move slower and your final bill higher due to the fact that most movers have an hourly rate. If you need tips on packing, check out our handy guide!

3. The weather

If you live in a hot climate, like Texas, moving in the summer won’t provide you with any type of relief. Moving during the height of the summer gets pretty rough, especially when you’re moving during the afternoon when the heat is at its peak.

Solution: Stay hydrated, and move in the morning

The summer heat is a hard one to combat. The best that you can do is to stay hydrated and, if possible, start your move in the early morning so that you avoid the hottest part of the day.

Wrapping Up

Moving in the summer has its pros and its cons. However, if you plan accordingly and are prepared for your move you can successfully combat the negative aspects and enjoy the positives!


What Should I Do With My Valuables When Moving?


One of the things our customers worry about the most when moving, is how to keep their valuables safe from damage. A “valuable” can be subjective… from items that have monetary value to sentimental items that could never be replaced. No matter where they fall on the spectrum, here are our top tips to keep your valuables safe when moving.

Insider top tips on how to keep your valuables safe during your next move:

Know where your valuables are before your move

During the process of moving it’s easy to lose track of things, especially if you haven’t seen the item in a while. Some people get to their new home and are looking for an item that they haven’t seen in years but assumed was in a box somewhere. Before the packing phase of your move ensure you know where your valuables are so that you can make sure they are packed and transported to your new home.

Pack your items ahead of time

If your valuable item is personal, we recommend packing and boxing it ahead of time instead of leaving it for your professional packers or movers. Seal it with packing tape, and add a label on the outside of the box instructing your movers where they should place the box in your new home. It’s a little work on your end, but it ensures that personal items aren’t lost.

Take your valuables to your new home early

The back of a moving truck can be a hazardous place. Even when a truck is loaded properly, you have to remember that the back of the truck is full of very heavy and bulky items. If you’re worried about a very delicate, valuable item (think glass or crystal) getting damaged consider transporting it to your new home ahead of time. Another option is to set it aside and let your movers know that you will be taking it to the new location later. Even with proper wrapping and protection, some delicate items are best moved outside of the truck.

Keep your valuables near while moving

There are some things that you should keep on yourself during a move (like expensive watches, cash, wedding rings and bands, other jewelry, priceless antiques, and any items that you deem priceless). Your belongings will be out of their usual place, and you may have different people going in and out of the home (movers, internet installation crew, cleaning crews, etc.) so keep these valuable items with you at all times or with a family member. It will give you peace of mind and ensure that they remain safe and in your hands.

Wrapping Up

Ensuring your valuables are safe during your move doesn’t need to cause you stress it just requires a little pre-planning. Remember to keep your valuables boxed, sealed, or on your person. Happy moving!