We've got you covered: the Legal Office on Claims for 2012 moves

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Taylor
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Legal Office
Personnel Change of Station season is upon us once again and will likely provide the same daunting task of moving from base to base as it has in past years. While this may be stressful, there are a few things that you can do to help ensure your household goods are protected against loss or damage during the moving process.

One of the first steps in any mover's process is to take video recordings or pictures of all their valuable items showing everything in good condition and working order. In addition, consider getting an appraisal done to accurately record the value of any high-dollar items. If movers are concerned about smaller, high-dollar items, consider moving them yourself rather than having the moving company pack and transport them for you. Ensure when the moving companies pack your property that they annotate the property correctly on all the moving forms.

You may have heard in past years that the government will reimburse you for your specialty or novelty items that get lost, stolen or damaged. While that is true, in many cases the Air Force Claims Service Center will only cover the cost up to a certain amount and not the full amount that the item was appraised at.

If you do decide to let the moving company pack or move your high-dollar items or family heirlooms, make sure they put the items on a high-value inventory listing. Inventories such as these are meant for valuables that you cannot easily replace such as baseball cards, jewelry, coin collections, or other valuable collector's items you want to protect. This is in addition to the regular inventory sheet every member must complete as part of their move. Making an accurate inventory is the key to getting reimbursed in the event an item goes missing during your shipment.

No matter how careful you are or how careful you think the movers are, damage frequently happens on military moves. Somewhere along the move something goes wrong and the next thing you know, your TV does not work or your dishes are broken.

Once you have signed for your property from the moving company you are on a deadline to submit paperwork for any property damaged in the move.

If damages occur, you have a few tasks that you need to accomplish to recover the value of the items or get them replaced. The first step is to go through all your boxes and property to make sure there are not a multitude of items that need to be claimed. After you have done a thorough check of your property and discovered damaged or lost items, you must notify the moving company within 75 days of your move. After 75 days, any claims submitted to the moving company are likely to be denied. Once you have put the moving company on notice of loss or damage, you have up to two years from the date your property was delivered to file a claim with that company. However, there is a major caveat to the two-year rule: you must file your claim with the moving company within nine months of the move if you want the full replacement value of the items that were lost or damaged. Any claims filed after nine months, but before the two-year mark, will be paid at a depreciated rate for the value of the items at the time they were lost or damaged.

Also notification of the claim is not the same as filing a claim. Notifying the moving company is just you letting them know that your property was lost or damaged and that you will be filing a claim shortly thereafter.

After you have completed all the necessary paperwork and notifications, then the rest of the claims process should run smoothly. If you are unhappy with the service the moving company provided in regards to the claim, you can always contact the base legal office or the Air Force Claims Service Center.

If at any time you have questions or concerns with the process or what the next step is, feel free to stop by the legal office or call 481-7294.