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I'm moving: Do I need an authorized appraisal of personal property?

Recently, I was helping my Mom clear out her basement and stumbled upon some hidden pieces of furniture. In particular, a lovely mid-1960s Hvidt and Molgaard-Nelson (Frank & Sons) teak side table. However, one end of the table had some slight damage - a crack that would need repair. And I thought, "What if this happened to a client's lovely piece of furniture during a move?" Though there are a few homeowners’ policies that cover routine moving damage (such as marring, scratches, etc.), the vast majority do not. A good moving company will offer a high value item inventory form, to ensure better coverage during transit. So let's suppose you were astute, asked your insurance company how your items were protected in transit, and obtained the right coverage during the move. You arrive at your new place and - oh no! Something of value is damaged. Now what? You need an authorized appraiser! To assist in a fair, equitable and expeditious settlement of claims, appraisers are most often best equipped to provide values or costs and alternative suggestions for settlement. Damage and loss appraisals require a great deal of attention to detail: what was the condition prior to damage? What repairs, alterations were previously done to the piece? Is the item appreciable (gaining value) personal property and if so, after repairs are made, might the piece suffer loss-of-value? Such an appraisal will need to state the salvage value of the damaged item (if any), and the market value of the item (in its pre-existing form). Based on the authorized appraiser's opinion of value, the appraiser may recommend cash-out, repair, or replacement. Any such findings are only divulged to the client (that could be you, the moving adjuster or your insurance company, depending on who hires the appraiser). Morals of this story? 1) Get authorized appraisals on anything you believe is appreciable personal property (art, antiques, etc) and keep those appraisals in a safe place (get them updated, as well, every few years, to reflect current market values);

2) If you overlooked step 1 prior to a move, and your appreciable personal property was damaged in transit, find an USPAP authorized personal property appraiser to perform the appraisal for you as the client. Moves are hard. They are harder still when valuables are damaged and claims must be made. Take care of the things you love, and take care of yourself, during a move!

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