Over 35 million Americans move each year.

If you’ve ever moved before, you know it’s a long and stressful process. From planning to packing, there are a lot of moving parts that require careful consideration.

To alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that comes with relocating to a new home, we’ve put together a list of three tips to help keep yourself and your belongings safe during a move.

1. Create an Inventory of Your Items

Before you start hauling your items out to the moving truck, make a detailed inventory of everything you own. Consider building a spreadsheet with a description, the quantity and photos of all your valuables. Although it may create additional work, taking inventory will make your move much easier because it will help you quickly identify any missing items.

Additionally, if your current security provider services your new neighborhood, include all features of your security system in the inventory. Make a record of the following equipment:

Moving policies vary by provider. At Vector Security, we can help you explore options if you are moving, with programs in place to support customers that are relocating.

Contact your security provider at least eight weeks before your move. This will give you both enough time to coordinate logistics.

2. Vet and Monitor Your Movers

Researching moving companies is critical to help you avoid moving fraud. Moving fraud is when a company gives an estimate, loads the belongings on a truck and then requests a much higher price than what was originally agreed upon. Often times, homeowners never see their belongings again if the estimate is left unpaid.

While most moving companies are legitimate, it’s still important to research and vet your movers. Consider the following tips to avoid moving scams:

  • Get a written estimate from all movers you’re considering.
  • Verify the mover is registered and insured with the proper authorities.
  • Check review sites like Angie’s List and Yelp to confirm the legitimacy of the company.
  • Ensure your mover provides you with a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet. Federal regulations require moving companies to provide this to their customers.
  • Be as involved as much as possible. Unethical or ill-willed movers will be less likely to steal your belongings while you’re around. Also, when you interact with and get to know your movers, you become more familiar with who is supposed to be at your home, which will allow you to spot any suspicious activity.

Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for more information and tips on how to spot moving scams.

3. Utilize Your Current Security System

If you own home security equipment, contact your security provider to explore options to professionally relocate it.

Security devices like cameras or alarms are effective for keeping your belongings safe. Consider keeping the following installed until the end of the move:

  • Access control, which enables homeowners to see who is coming and going from their home. Using unique or temporary passcodes, access control secures your home and provides a log of everyone that entered and when.
  • Alarm systems should be set once the movers leave. Sometimes a move can take several days depending on the size of the load. Set your home alarm system to prevent break-ins.
  • Video surveillance systems are used to monitor all activity throughout the home. Keep your cameras recording during the entire move to keep watch over your belongings.

No matter the reason, making a move is an important life event that requires significant planning. Follow these three tips to keep your family and beloved items safe.

How do you keep your belongings safe during a move? Share in the comments below.