What Happens if Movers Break Something (What to Know)

What To Do if Movers Break Something

It’s no secret that the moving process can be long and exhausting. The anxiety of breaking or losing something along the way is always with you.

You might think that hiring a professional moving company would relieve you of that anxiety. And you’re not wrong, letting a professional handle your packaging is a smart move.

However, mistakes happen, and that applies to moving companies too.

So, what happens if your movers break your stuff by mistake? How will you deal with the losses? That’s what we’re here to discuss.

Table of Contents

Is It Common for Belongings to Break During Moving?

Yes, broken items and damage of belongings during moving is a very common experience that can happen to anyone.

However, there are ways to ensure that the moving company you’ve hired will compensate you for anything the movers broke.

Let’s talk about a few things you should do before and after moving.

What to Do Before the Move

Here are two steps to keep in mind before leaving your old home for good.

1. Do Your Due Diligence

Due Diligence

The most important step in resolving any issues if your movers break something is to do your research on the companies before hand.

Check the company’s status on the Better Business Bureau.

Read through reviews on as many sites as you can find. All companies will have both good and bad reviews, but you can usually get a good sense of how a company is to deal with if an issue occurs.

2. Read the Contract and Bill of Lading Beforehand

Before hiring your moving company of choice, read the contract and go through the terms thoroughly. This is crucial for having a smooth move, and guaranteeing fair compensation upon any accidental damage.

Make sure that the contract’s terms guarantee your rights if any of your belongings arrive damaged at your new home.

Don’t forget to re-read your bill of ladingOpens in a new tab. as well to make sure that all the details of your agreement with the company are correct.

Having (and understanding) the appropriate paperwork can save you a ton of hassle later on.

3. Take Pictures of Your Belongings Before Packaging

Taking pictures of your belongings before you get them ready for your move might come in handy after moving.

If you discover any damage after arrival, you’ll be able to use these pictures as proof that your belongings were in better shape before moving.

Some moving companies might try to claim that your items were already damaged, so the before pictures are a great way to shut down these claims.

What to Do After Moving Day

Arriving at your new home means the hardest part is over, but don’t let out that sigh of relief just yet. Here’s what you should do.

1. Inspect Your Belongings

Inspect Your Belongings

The first thing you should do after your arrival is to inspect items for any sign of damage. We know that this sounds tiresome and that you’d rather take your time with the unboxing.

However, the earlier you get on with it, the faster you’ll discover any issues and then be able to deal with them quickly. Even if you have 30 days to file a claim, the longer you wait the more likely you’ll forget to do so.

Create an inventory sheet and when/if you find a broken item, notate it on the sheet and then sit that item aside so you won’t lose it.

The biggest concern will be your glassware and fragile items like china and electronics. Check these boxes first because they’re susceptible to damage the most. Make sure that all your glassware is in good condition, and your electronics as well.

When it comes to your electronics, it’s a good idea to plug them in as well after inspecting them externally. They can sometimes sustain internal damage from getting bumped too much.

Another example is your furniture. Are the table legs in good shape? Are there any scrapes on any wooden piece of furniture? What about your couches, is there any sort of tear in their fabric?

Not only that but make sure to check your door frames as well. They can get damaged during moving your belongings inside the new house. That’s also the mover’s responsibility so make sure to keep an eye out for any damage.

2. Take Pictures of Damaged Items

If you discover any damage after inspecting and checking everything, you should take pictures of the damaged items.

We’ve mentioned before that you should take pictures of your stuff before the move, now it’s time to take pictures after.

The before and after pictures will serve as a clear visual comparison for your items before and after damage.

3. Don’t Throw Away Anything

Make sure not to throw away any of your damaged belongings, or throw away any damaged parts. Even if you’ve taken pictures of them, the moving company will want to inspect the damaged items in person.

So don’t throw away anything because then the company might try to deny your claim if your damaged item isn’t there.

File a Claim

Now that you have your proof ready, the next step would be to file a damage claimOpens in a new tab.. What you need to do is take note of your damaged items on the bill of lading. You’ll use that along with the pictures you’ve taken to make your case.

Your next move will depend on your three cases. The first one is if you’ve purchased moving insurance via a third party (an insurance company). The second one is that you’ve purchased the insurance through your moving company. And the third one is, you didn’t purchase any insurance at all.

Insurance Purchased via Third Party

If your insurance was bought through a third party, then go ahead and contact them and explain your case.

An agent will then work with you on your claim with you until the necessary compensation is met.

Insurance Purchased Through Moving Company

When it comes to insurance purchased from the moving company, there are two cases.

●       Purchasing released value protection

●       Purchasing full-value protection

In the first case, items are insured at 60 cents per pound. Make sure the claim paperwork covers this amount.

On the other hand, if you’ve purchased full-value insurance, your compensation will depend on your belongings and their value.

This insurance plan guarantees that you’ll get your damaged item repaired to restore it to its original condition. And if your item is beyond repair, it’s the company’s responsibility to replace it for you with a brand new one.

Whichever your insurance plan is, contact your moving company and ask about the steps to start the damage claim process right away.

No Insurance Purchased

If you don’t have an insurance plan, then contact your moving company and request a claim directly. Make your case with your note, your pictures, and a detailed description of the damage your item faced.

Along with these details, include the age of your item, how much you bought it for, and how much it costs now.

What to Do if Moving Company Doesn’t Cooperate

Of course, you’ll find yourself asking the question, “what should I do if the moving company doesn’t cooperate?”

If your hired moving company decides not to cooperate peacefully, your best bet may actually be to turn to social media for help.

A bad online reputation can be a disaster for most moving companies. Leave a detailed review of the issue you’ve faced with the company on their website and socials.

To increase your credibility, include with your review your before and after pictures, and your bill of lading. And add details about how the company refuses to cooperate and denies you compensation.

A review like that is sure to start a conversation among the company’s customer base. It can even lead potential customers to rethink their decision in hiring them in the first place.

This of course will lead the company to try and solve the dispute right away to maintain its reputation among its customers.


It’s true that the anxiety of finding your items damaged after a move can be nerve-wracking.

Accidents happen, however, rest assured that if you keep the points above in mind, you’re guaranteed to get your compensation if your movers break something.

Finally, there are also things you can do to help make the process go smoother as well. Here are some tips to protect your floors during your move.


I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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