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So we did it. We made it from Fort Campbell to Dallas. The moving truck came and went. The movers weren’t particularly confidence inspiring, but to be honest we’ve only had one set of movers that we believed in. Which of course leaves us with the same old question: To Claim or not To Claim?!
First: Make Sure You Have Realistic Expectations
Having my stuff boxed up is never that big a deal to me. I always set aside the super important stuff so that we can deal with that ourselves. Watching movers load and unload the truck is a whole different story. That sends my anxiety through the roof. The massive game of Tetris they play with my belongings makes me want to throw up.
There are some items that never make it through… Ever. Backyard Grill? HA! King Sized box spring, yea right! Then there are other things that you have to wonder if they’re TRYING to mess it up… 1200 LB gun safe that’s rated to withstand the apocalypse?! Thompson Movers can dent it, Just give ’em a week!
Second: Remember that Just Because You Won’t Replace it Now Doesn’t Mean You Won’t Replace it Ever, So Claim It!
When we first started this little military journey of ours, we only claimed major issues. Seriously damaged furniture, multiple broken dishes etc. Over time we realized that most of the time things don’t get seriously damaged. They’re scuffed, nicked, rubbed or chipped. We weren’t necessarily going to run right out and replace everything, but if we continued down the path we were on we’d find ourselves surrounded by shabby belongings without the monetary means to replace them. That’s when we started to claim damn. near. everything. If it cost us more than $20 dollars and it’s damaged in any way, we claim it.
Third: Weigh The Effort of the Claim Process vs. the Reward
At first it seemed insane. Do we really need to claim the cowboy hat that no one has worn in 7 years?! We’d research the brand and validate the cost we requested. That’s all we did. Prove it cost as much as we said and send pictures of the damage. Now its a much longer process. They send someone out to the house to check on any larger items that you claim (furniture, tools, purses etc) to validate that they need replacing and not repair. You’ll still get compensated if a repair needs to be made, but they’ll research repair shops and only give you the amount it would cost to fix it. That whole process can take up to 2 months from the day you first complete the online claim form.
Yes, it takes a long time. Yes, the government websites including Move.Mil are incredibly frustrating, but it doesn’t really take much effort. Once you file your initial claim and submit your substantiated documentation (receipts, current cost at retailer etc) there’s really no effort on your end. It can mean the difference between hundreds (or THOUSANDS) of dollars in your pocket.