KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- One constant of working for the military is frequent moves. Whether you are just arriving in Europe or finishing your tour, you will have to deal with receiving or shipping household goods. These tips can help you keep belongings safe, preserve your ability to make claims for damage, and have professional interactions with your movers.

1. Prepare a detailed inventory before the movers arrive to pack.
If you experience property loss or damage during your move, a detailed inventory will help you make a claim for reimbursement. Take pictures of items to document their condition. While movers will need to verify the presence of items before you ship them, high value items will often be less conspicuous if you have already documented them and prepared the inventory in advance. To reduce the risk of theft it is best to avoid showing off high value items such as jewelry, watches or electronics. Although original appliance boxes may be useful for packing appliances, the pictures on the outside of the box can make it easier for thieves to target items to steal once the shipment leaves your home. Consider covering pictures on the outside of boxes or using other containers instead of the original box.

2. When receiving a shipment, verify inconspicuously that high value items are present.
Before movers leave, you will need to verify that all your high value items are present and undamaged. If you have multiple adults in your household, it may be best for one person to stay with the movers, while the other person inspects the high value items in another room. Inspecting the items elsewhere will help keep a low profile and reduce the chance that movers might share details about your possessions with others. If you cannot inspect the property outside of the movers' presence, inspect items as inconspicuously as you can.

3. Report any unprofessional or suspicious actions by your movers.
By necessity, movers know where you live and may have your contact information. If your movers act unprofessionally, contact you inappropriately after the move, or even commit sexual harassment, you should immediately report the incident. Contact the Military Police to make a report. The MPs can help you make a report to the Polizei regarding any criminal acts or harassment. You should also report issues to the Transportation Office, who can address problems with the moving contractor.

4. Make a claim for damaged and missing items as soon as possible after delivery.
As soon as you notice missing or damaged items from your shipment, contact the moving company to give them notice of the loss and to make a claim. Generally, the deadline for giving notice of a loss is 75 days from the date of delivery, but the sooner you submit a claim, the better. Even if you miss the 75-day deadline, there may be circumstances in which a late claim would be accepted.

For any claims questions, call the claims office at Kleber Kaserne, Building 3210, Room 110, at DSN 483-8968 or 0631-411-8968.