Everything You Need to Know Before Moving

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ABC News' Spencer Wilking reports:

Even under the best of circumstances, moving is a stressful experience made no easier by mile-long to-do lists. However, if you are planning on hiring someone to help you move your things it is important to do your homework to ensure all your belongings will be handled with care.

ABC's "The Lookout" went undercover to help a family worried that their possessions wouldn't be delivered. Here are some tips we got from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to make sure your future moves are protected.

Watch ABC's "The Lookout" on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.

Moving Tips Before You Move:

  1. Know your mover. Avoid brokers and make sure the company you've contacted is actually carrying out your move.
  2. Make sure your mover is licensed with the proper authority and insured. You can double-check a mover's registration at protectyourmove.gov.
  3. Check your mover's complaint history online with the Better Business Bureau and the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
  4. Get a written estimate from several companies. The estimate should be based on an actual "on-site" inspection of your household goods and not a phone estimate.

Mover Warning Signs

  1. The moving company demands cash or a large deposit before the move.
  2. When you call the mover, the telephone is answered with a generic "Movers" or "Moving company," rather than the company's name.
  3. On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned or marked fleet truck.
  4. They ask you to sign blank or incomplete documents.
  5. The company's website has no local address and no information about its registration or insurance.
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