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Moving tips in time for summer

KETTERING, Ohio (AFPN -- For people who are preparing to move due to PCS, separation or retirement, a successful move is not a matter of chance. It is the result of planning and hard work.

Officials at the Air Force Claims Service Center say there are things servicemembers can and should do to safeguard their belongings during any move.

The government does not pay for appraisals. If the person moving has expensive items such as artwork, collectibles or heirlooms, then he or she might consider an appraisal as part of the investment in case of loss or damage.

In fact, he or she should consider insuring valuable property separately. The government is only allowed to pay for damage or loss to what it considers reasonable for the average person to own. Transportation management office representatives are prepared to discuss full-replacement protection. It costs between $175 and $500 depending on the weight of the shipment.

People also might talk to their own insurance company about a special policy for valuables. Airmen may have heard that full replacement value is coming and it is. Moves this summer, however, will not yet be covered under that new program.

People preparing to move should use a video camera or digital camera to take close-up pictures to record the condition of their furniture and to show what their expensive and valuable items look like. This will allow them to show the item if it is lost or damaged during shipment. It is also a good idea to include a current newspaper in the video and pictures to show the date photographs were taken. People should carry these recordings and photos with them when they move, not pack them in the household goods.

Officials encourage people to prepare their own personal inventory. Before they move, they should make a list of the major items they own, such as furniture, electronic equipment, and art objects. List the purchase prices and dates for these items and collect the documentation to prove it: paid bills, credit card slips, canceled checks, pre-shipment appraisals, etc. They should make it a habit of saving receipts for big purchases, officials say.

People shouldn't ship small, extremely valuable items such as stocks, bonds, jewelry, coins or coin collections and items of great sentimental value such as photo albums. They should pack them in their suitcase and hand carry them, along with any purchase receipts, pictures, video recordings and appraisals.

People should plan to be flexible when selecting a pickup date, according to officials. They should never schedule a pickup on the date they close on a house, vacate an apartment or terminate a lease. Nor should they schedule their pickup on the day a cleaning crew is to start cleaning their quarters. Scheduling the pickup on these days leaves no room to adjust to unforeseen problems. Additionally, it's a good idea to leave the phone and other utilities connected until all property has been picked up.

People with questions can call the Air Force Claims Service Center (24/7) at DSN 986-8044 or toll free at 1-877-754-1212. They also can visit the Air Force Claims Service Center Web site.