Keeping your belongings organized during a move is tough, but staying on top of your finances can be just as difficult. About 11% to 12% of Americans change addresses every year, according Census Bureau data, which means millions of people need to not only sort and pack all their stuff, but also remember to update their insurance policies, keep track of moving expenses, and notify their bank of their move. And overlooking one of those financial to-dos can have serious consequences, from late fees due to missed bills to denied insurance claims because of out-of-date policies. To keep your finances ship-shape when you’re relocating, review this list of seven money-related to-dos to tackle before you move.
1. Change your address with your bank
Even if you do all your banking online, you should still take a few minutes to update your address with your bank, student loan or car loan lender, credit card provider, brokerage firm, and any other financial institutions. While you may not get statements delivered through the mail, you don’t want to run the risk of missing important communications because they went to your old house.
If your bank doesn’t have locations or ATMs where you’ll be moving, you may want to set up an account with a new bank or credit union. Do this online before you move, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about after you settle in. Once you’ve set up your automatic payments and updated any direct deposit information, close out your account with your old bank.
2. Inform your insurance company
Call your car insurance company and let them know you’ll be moving. This is especially important if you’re moving out of state, since different states have different insurance requirements. But even an in-town move could mean a change to your policy. A move to a neighboring zip code could cause your premium to rise or fall by as much as $200, a study by Bankrate found.
You’ll also want to let your homeowners or renters insurance company know about your move, since you may need to update your coverage or get a new policy. If your new home has a swimming pool, for example, you may need to increase your coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. For renters, the presence of safety and security features like deadbolts and burglar alarms might score you a lower rate.
3. Update billing information
You let your credit card company know about your new address, but did you remember to change the information for accounts that are automatically billed? If you don’t update your billing address, any automatic payments you’ve set up might be denied. Fix that problem now, before you discover you can’t log on to Netflix. Now is also the time to update your billing and shipping address with online retailers you frequently shop with, so your Amazon orders go through without a hiccup. And don’t forget to cancel gym memberships or other recurring charges for services you’ll no longer be able to use once you move.
4. Shred old documents
You’re already sorting, packing, and purging, so use this time to rid yourself of old credit card bills, bank statements, and other financial documents you no longer need to have on hand. Not sure what you need to keep and what you can toss? Check out our guide for how long you should keep certain types of financial documents, including tax returns, pay stubs, and medical bills. Anything you don’t need, shred (as a bonus, all that shredded paper makes for good packing material). Even if you need to keep something for your records, consider scanning it and then shredding the original.
5. Set up mail forwarding
Don’t forget to let the postal service know about your new address. Forwarding will ensure all your mail follows you to your new address, so you don’t have to worry about credit card offers or personal information falling into the wrong hands. Identity Guard, an identity theft protection service, suggests completing your change of address request at least 10 days before you move, so your mail isn’t left sitting at your vacant house after you’re gone.
6. Document moving expenses
If you’re relocating for work, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses on your taxes. To be eligible for the moving expenses deduction, the move must be due to your job, your new workplace must be at least 50 miles further from your old home than your previous job, and you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks in the year after you move.
Deductible expenses include the cost of shipping your belongings, renting a moving truck, and even hotel stays while you’re moving from one place to another. Keep receipts for all expenses if you’re thinking about claiming this deduction.
7. Donate unwanted items to charity
If you’re like most people, moving probably means getting rid of some little-used items. If you plan on giving your cast-offs to Goodwill or a similar charity, get receipts documenting your donation so you can claim a deduction on your taxes. Donations of household items and clothes are only deductible is they’re in good condition, and the deduction must be for the item’s fair market value. The more valuable the item you donate, the more documentation you need to claim the deduction.