What are the risks involved when moving your household furniture items overseas?


Moving overseas can be quite an exciting time with new opportunities in life on the horizon. There are new people, new cultures and many opportunities to enrich your life experience. With many things to consider during an international relocation such as visas, employment, housing, health, insurance, finance and of course language considerations, you will need to be well prepared.

When moving overseas there may also be a requirement to move your household furniture items with you to ensure that you can settle into your new home in your new destination. It can be expensive to buy and replace furniture overseas and typically it is not easy to sell second hand furniture. For those who have tried to sell second hand furniture items it can become quite difficult to attract a fair price for these items that you have paid top dollar for when they were initially purchased.

Items you can not live without

There are also pieces of furniture such as antiques and artwork that you can not just part with! Families often have multiple pieces of artwork, paintings and antiques that have been in the family for generations and simply need to be with them wherever they are around the world.

Many individuals and families will take their furniture items with them when relocating overseas for the above reasons and despite what you may think, it can help them feel more relaxed and settled in their new environment as they are surrounded by familiar pieces of furniture and memories of home.

Choosing an International Moving company

When moving your prized possessions overseas there are, of course, tried and trusted methods that are used each year by thousands of expats overseas with success. Using a professional overseas removalist that has their own office overseas is always a good starting point along with experience and quality systems in place. It is important you research the moving company thoroughly before you entrust your worldly possessions into someone else’s hands!

Some important things to keep in mind when selecting a moving company can also include the quality of their packing materials, storage facilities at destination (should you not be able to move straight into your new home), who you will be working with at the other end and what type of transit insurance options do they offer.

Some of the risk involved when shipping these items overseas to be aware of:

1) Traffic collisions

Even though you are moving goods on the water, accidents can still occur – more on this later!

Once your shipment is packed and loaded it will need to be transported down to the wharf. This will involve road transport from your residence to the port of destination where your goods are then picked up and loaded onto the container ship.

Once the goods arrive in the new country they will also be required to be collected and then delivered out to your new home which provides risk at both origin and destination of accidents occurring during transit.

2) Container overboard

Singularity Hub reports that approximately 10,000 shipping containers are lost at sea each year! Whilst losing a shipping container overboard might not happen every single day, it does paint a picture of the risks involved in relocating overseas and that once the containers are loaded onto the vessel, they’re at the mercy of ‘Mother Nature’ when travelling around the world.

If you don’t have the appropriate transit insurance, then a lost container is just that, and you are susceptible to not having any compensation for sunken items due to international shipping rules and regulations.

It is very important to research the Transit Insurance on offer for your next overseas move so you can make an informed decision on what type of insurance may be best for your individual circumstance. 

3) Lost items

It is common for some clients to pack their personal items into boxes and engage an international removals company to ship them overseas in a cost effective method. It is common for smaller shipments to be grouped or consolidated with others which keeps the costs lower but this is where sometimes things can go astray!

As a general rule with professional movers is that “anything that fits into a moving box should be placed into one”. When packing your belongings, it is important to pack them into moving boxes so they are not left loose in the shipment which can cause breakages, but more importantly getting mixed up with other people’s household items and being lost or delivered to someone else!

Labeling your boxes correctly with your name and destination is also an important part of moving overseas to help avoid losing your precious cargo.

4) Broken items

Broken goods are common when moving house by yourself. It might even just be a few plates or tea cups, but it’s always annoying. There is nothing more frustrating than having to replace things, which could add to the amount of time you take off work and the amount of money the move costs.

The preparation and packing of whitegoods and furniture items is critical to ensuring a successful and stress-free move. It is advisable to have professional overseas movers wrap and pack your delicate furniture items such as artwork, antiques and chinaware. It may cost a little extra in the overall scheme of things but could save you time and headaches at the other end if things are broken and need replacing.

5) Storage Options

Many people who are moving overseas do not realise until it’s too late that furniture storage can be costly in major cities like Sydney, London or New York!

It is important to understand what can be left behind in long term furniture storage facilities and many professional moving companies will have better value for money options available than the traditional “self store” premises should you not require regular access to the items whilst you are overseas.

The other consideration during your overseas move is that you may not be relocating directly to your new home at your international destination. When selecting overseas removalists be sure to check if they have storage options at the destination and obtain a guide on the costs so you will have more of an idea of what the costs could be.

Risk vs Reward?

Moving overseas can be a daunting experience for those who have not relocated before. It is important that you plan and research your move so you are well informed and understand the risks involved.

It is important to research your overseas moving provider to ensure that you are confident they have the resources, facilities and experience to get your goods safely to your new location. Check the online reviews, their website and family and friends to see what their experiences have been like.

Transit Insurance is an important consideration to ensure you are not left at “risk” should something drastically go wrong. Most large international moving companies will have insurance cover available and it is important to check the respective terms and conditions to ensure you understand what you are purchasing and if it suits your personal requirements.

Moving overseas should be one of the best adventures that you embark on and moving your furniture to make you feel more at home can be made easy with when choosing a professional international moving company. Yes – there are some risks when moving your furniture items halfway across the world, but if you are well planned and researched, engage the right company to assist then moving your furniture should be more rewarding than a worry!


Allied Pickfords



About Author

Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of My Logistics Money Magazine and My Entrepreneur Magazine. Kizzi Nkwocha made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain. Nkwocha has published a number of books on running your own business and in 2011 his team won the Specialized Information Publishing Association (SIPA) award for best use of social media. In the UK he runs a successful consultancy called Social Biz Training which trains people on how to use social media for business.

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