Make a numbers list and mark each box. That includes software such as LPs and CDs as well. If lost insurance pays out very little.
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If you care about your stuff, no. Moving companies do not provide insurance as normal people understand it, and it's unlikely your homeowner's will cover it during the move. Read your policy to find out. You can check with your insurance agent if you wish, but be careful with that. Simply calling your agent to inquire about coverage can constitute a claim, believe it or not.
I moved cross-country a year ago and carried all my valuable audio equipment in the back of my car.
Considering the considerable damage done to some of my household furniture I'm very glad I didn't trust the audio gear to the movers.
Even having insurance that covers damage won't compensate you for the hassle of making claims and trying to recover costs.
Don't do it.
I've moved three times in the past 15 years and with the exception of the turntable and computers I've entrusted my audio/video equipment with professional movers. Not a single problem. Pack the equipment just like you're going to ship it via UPS and have a detailed discussion with the movers. Ideally you want a single load truck with the same crew at each end.
Only if you purchase a special insurance rider from the moving company to cover those items, which must be scheduled into the rider. Very expensive, but it puts the moving company on notice that you are serious. I recently got an estimate for such a rider. For $100,000 of coverage, the premium for the rider was about $5,000. Rates vary somewhat depending on the insurance carrier and mover. Some movers cannot be covered, telling you something about using them in the first place.
I agree with Onhwy61. I also let my movers move my (extremely well-packed in original packing) equipment, save for my turntable/arm/cartridge, which I brought myself principally because I had a new cartridge installed after the movers had taken everything. The key here was that while the move was 400 miles, I used a local, family-run company that was highly recommended, got to talk with the movers who were very nice and had them realize that this stuff was not to be handled roughly. No problems at all. I might have had second thoughts with a large chain company, but after talking with the people who were actually doing the moving I had no qualms.
I just relocated from the US to England, and moved my gear (and everything else) with a professional mover, most via sea container. Absolutely no problems with anything - everything arrived in perfect condition (TT, speakers, etc). I don't think I could have packed my stuff anywhere nearly as well as they did.
No, do not trust them. I'm not kidding. I work for a Fortune 500 company with hundreds of locations that are constantly moving and remodeling. It's a high turnover, labor intensive low paying job. Most of the guys have an addiction problem. As I said turnover is high and there not much training.
Here's how I roll. Wife in the car... Check. Dog in the car...check. Amp, pre-amp, etc in the car.... Check. All the other crap goes with the movers. I have three boys all in their twenties and none of them live at home anymore......priceless.
I guess I've been lucky. Moves fron CA to FL to MN to NC--all without any problems whatsoever. I packed all my gear in original boxes. Staged them all separately, explained the contents to the driver/lead mover. I have gear ranging in size/bulk from Vandy 5s and Maggie 1.6s, down to the 'delicacy' of Avid and W/B 'tables. I think this is where original boxes really make the difference, as well as tipping the moving crew at both ends.
I just relocated from the US to England, and moved my gear (and everything else) with a professional mover, most via sea container. Absolutely no problems with anything - everything arrived in perfect condition (TT, speakers, etc). I don't think I could have packed my stuff anywhere nearly as well as they did."
To be fair, you really didn't have a choice. I think most people are talking about a move that you can drive yourself, not overseas. What company did you use? Maybe there is a good one after all.
Explain how this is any different than shipping from the manufacturer to the dealer or the dealer/seller to you. You had no control over UPS or Fedex. Why is there a problem with another shipper, assuming you use the original packing materials?"
From the factory to the dealer, the product is new. Its very easy to come up with an exact value for what something is worth. Once the unit is sold, its considered used and is up for negotiation as to what its worth. Kind of like when you have a car accident. The insurance company usually thinks the car is worth much less than what the owner does. Its no different with shipping. Also, the fact that you are moving plays a huge part. You're basically shipping something to yourself. If you sell an item on a place like Audiogon or Ebay the transaction info shows exactly what the unit sold for. You won't have that with moving.
For your sake, ignore the responses that tell you that all will be well if you entrust your equipment to movers. It simply isn’t true. Movers typically repack their truck with freight from multiple homes. They can even disassemble furniture to facilitate maximizing space. This is particularly true of long distance moves.
I speak from experience. We just moved 700 miles, only to find that some of our most valuable items didn’t arrive at our new home. We filed a claim for $4K, and received $165 from insurance. That didn’t include the damage to our antique furniture. In any case, my strong advice would be to load all valuables into your car or a rented truck. Don’t, under any circumstances, trust it to movers.