Written by Richard Way,
Last Modified: 21st November 2022

Is 2023 the year of your big move halfway around the world, perhaps with a family in tow? If so, it’s not too early to start planning how you’ll take your belongings with you – preparation is key when it comes to moving. Here are four pointers to help you organise a suitable removal firm.

A couple unload following a house move

Stick to the professionals

Executing a successful long-haul move across the Atlantic or down under requires experienced professionals who have approved partners around the globe. Don’t be tempted by a removal firm with a sketchy history for the sake of lower fees. Remember, your personal possessions will be in transit for several weeks, so you need to feel safe with your firm and trust that all available protection is in place. Take your time researching removal firms and draw up a short-list of three. Start by only considering those with industry accreditations from the British Association of Removers (BAR), International Association of Movers (IAM) and Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux (FIDI- FAIM) – any overseas partners should be equally certified.

Surveys & quotes

Choosing who to use starts with inviting your shortlist of removal firms to do a survey and provide a quote. A representative from each will visit you at home to discuss the details of your move, including proposed moving dates and budget, answer questions and of course assess what you will be taking. They will likely need to visit each room in the house to note down everything you intend to ship and offer guidance on items that need special attention or you’re unsure about bringing. Other things to cover include packing and storage – will you require either or both of these? Once they have all the required information, the remover can send you a full itemised quote, allowing you to compare each firm like for like.

Using a firm to organises your removals saves you time and effort

Understanding time scales

It’s easy to see why you need to be speaking to removers a good few months before you plan to set foot in your new country, arriving in time to receive your belongings. Long-haul moves take between six and 12-weeks door-to-door, including transfers and customs clearance. This is for shipment by sea, which is the most common way, as air freight is expensive. Things that affect the timing include the type of shipment (the process takes longer for loads in a shared container), departure times for the cargo ship, handling at the port of departure and port of arrival, efficiency of customs and the length of onward transfer. Customs clearance alone can take up to 10 days, often longer. Your remover should check all the paperwork before your shipment leaves the UK, to avoid any hold-ups. Once cleared, their partner firm will provide onward transportation to your new home or storage.

The benefits speak volumes

Payment protection & insurance

It can feel daunting watching your worldly possessions disappear into the sunset, having paid a removal firm a hefty fee and entrusted them to deliver everything to your final destination several weeks later.

Fear not, there are two simple solutions to ensure that your payments and possessions are protected at all times during the removal process. Firstly – and unsurprisingly, make sure you have suitable insurance cover for all your belongings. This should be from a provider that specialises in transit and storage cover and understands the risks associated with international transit. They should offer different options that can be tailored to meet your personal requirements and budget. Your removal firm will likely be able to refer you to a third-party insurer, or you might choose to find one yourself.

Secondly, only use a firm that is signed up to BAR’s International Movers Mutual Insurance (IMMI) Advance Payment Guarantee Scheme. This cover means that in the unlikely event your remover goes bust or cannot complete your move for financial reasons, the BAR will appoint another of its accredited members to undertake the remainder of your contract at no additional expense to you. IMMI is the only authentic scheme of its kind in the UK, offering total protection against insolvency.

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