What Are the Unexpected Expenses in Moving?

Remember to factor in packaging costs.

Remember to factor in packaging costs.

The typical cost of an interstate household move using a moving company was around $4,300 in 2009, according to the American Moving and Storage Association. That cost was based on a typical three-bedroom household moving a distance of 1,225 miles. An in-state move of the same size would have cost $2,300 in the same year, based on the price of a crew of four charging a typical rate of $200 per hour. You'll be able to get the costs of moving down by doing it yourself, but will need to factor in every expense to avoid any nasty surprises.

Weight and Dimensions

Failing to get a proper estimate of the weight and size of the items you need to move can throw your moving budget into disarray. This will be true whether you're planning to do it yourself or hiring a moving company. You won't want to find the vehicle you're using isn't big enough to carry your load on the day of your move. Use a tape measure to calculate the dimensions of the items you want to ship and heavy-duty scales to work out the weight. If you plan to use a moving company, try to use a local firm that will be able to inspect your belongings before providing a quote.

Additional Materials

You'll need to buy a selection of boxes, string and parcel tape, and some moving straps. Begging and borrowing old packaging from friends and family won't really cut it. The cost of the materials you'll need to pack all of your belongings safely will depend on what you need to shift, but will probably be more than you'd expect. Use the measurements you've taken to calculate how many boxes of what size you'll need for your move. Be conscious of the maximum weight your boxes will be able to carry.

Tolls and Fees

There will be a chance you may have to pay road tolls while transporting your belongings to your new home. You could also have to pay parking fees while you're loading and unloading your van, especially if you're doing so in an urban environment. These expenses will usually be included in the fee you're charged by a removal company. If you're moving your belongings yourself, you'll have to foot the bill.

Insurance

Although most moving companies will have liability insurance in place that would more than cover all your belongings while they're in transit, check any agreement you sign to make sure the firm you use has adequate protection. DIY movers will need to sort out their own cover. If you're hiring a van, the insurance held by the company you rent from will not protect your load. Check your home contents insurance policy to see if it has a "temporarily removed from home" clause that would cover your move. If it doesn't, contact your insurer to arrange additional protection.

Timing

Moving over the summer could end up adding to what you'll have to pay, according to Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate. Moving firms can charge more for their services over the summer months due to higher demand. Shifting your gear at the weekend could also be more costly. Try to move mid-week if your schedule will allow it.

Special Items

If you have any valuable antiques or large items that are hard to move, you could have to pay additional charges to have them loaded and transported safely. Any items that are particularly valuable could also add to your insurance costs. Using a professional removal firm to transport any difficult or valuable items is preferable to trying to shift them yourself. It will cost you more, but there will be less of a chance anything will get damaged. The extra cost involved in moving items such as pianos, grandfather clocks or large vases will depend on their size, the difficulty of maneuvering them and the amount of manpower and time required.

About the Author

Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.

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