PCS: Protect household goods for moves

By Capt. Joseph Levin, Chief of claimsFebruary 27, 2014

PCS plan
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT SILL, Okla. -- Permanent Change of Station PCS): that time of year will be here again soon so now is the time to prepare for shipping household goods to your new duty station.

Review these tips so that you can set yourself up for a successful PCS in case you suffer any damage to your household goods during the move.

Before moving

Make your own inventory of your belongings before the moving company arrives. List the make, model and serial number of valuable items (such as furniture or electronics).

Consider getting a professional appraisal of valuable antiques, artwork or other unique possessions that would be difficult to replace. Collect receipts or other proof of ownership for your high-value items. Take pictures of your high-value items and the rooms of your home and their contents. Carry these documents with you with your other important papers when you PCS.

While moving

Compare your personal inventory with the one the moving company makes. Their inventory should accurately describe what is in each box. For example, does the box contain dishes or crystal? Make sure nothing is missing on the inventory.

Throughout this process take your time. Any pre-existing damage on your furniture (such as chips or scratches) and belongings must be accurately described. If that item is further damaged in shipment, it will be difficult to prove the movers caused the damage if the item was already listed as having scratches all over on the inventory. If you are not satisfied with the description of pre-existing damage on the inventory and the moving company will not change it at the time of pickup, note the differences in writing on the inventory when you sign the paperwork. Take a picture of the item if you have not already done so.

When your household goods arrive at your new residence, look for any damaged items or crushed boxes immediately. Have the movers unpack your belongings. They have already been paid to perform this service, and you should take advantage of it.

Document any damage to your property on either DD Form 1840 or the ?"Joint Statement of Loss or Damage at Delivery" form while the movers are unpacking your belongings. You can update that same form after the movers have left if you find additional damage. Do not throw away broken items. Keep everything available for inspection by the carrier or a claims examiner.

After moving

The carrier must receive notice that you are going to file a claim within 75 days after the household goods are delivered. You can do this online in Defense Personnel Property System (www.move.mil) or by bringing your paperwork to your local claims office. You must visit the claims office at least five days before the 75-day deadline to be fully assisted in submitting your claim.

Review the carrier's settlement offer carefully. You have the right to accept or reject their offer on each damaged item separately. Go to the installation claims office to find out if the Army can give you a better offer. You can transfer a properly filed claim to the military claims office up to two years from the date of delivery.

The Fort Sill Claims Office is here to assist you with filing your claims and related questions. We are located in Building 4700, Suite 400, in the client services office.

Those with questions or potential claims are encouraged to stop by on a walk-in basis Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call 580-442-2317.

The claims office is closed on all training and federal holidays.