10: Verify Your Address

No one can blow this one, right? Don’t be too sure. With the stress of moving, the number of potential properties considered and how busy people are when moving, mistakes occur more often than you might think.

Start by verifying your new address with your landlord or realtor. Double-check the house or apartment number and the spellings of the street and city. If moving into new construction, make sure the developer didn’t change the street name from what was originally filed.

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Find out how the post office codes your mail. Check street and city names against what you have. This will also give you the opportunity to obtain your zip + 4code if you don’t already have it. By using zip + 4, your mail will be delivered faster and more accurately.

The basic step of verifying your address will reduce errors and save you time. It will also save you the embarrassment of having to make your address changes twice.

Utilities

10. Gas & electricity

The address change should be a natural part of switching over your utilities, but its importance can’t be understated. Be sure to give the utility company a few days heads up to avoid an electricity-free weekend welcome in your new home.

11. Water

Another rookie mistake in the making: Forgetting to switch your address over with your water provider. The shower desperation after a sweaty move can be real, so include them on your “ample notice” list.

12. Internet, cable & phone

We’ve bundled these like your cable company keeps selling you on, but be sure to notify each separately if you use multiple carriers. Keep in mind that providers can vary by ZIP code, so make sure to find plans in your area.

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6: Know Your Timeframe

Mail forwarding extends for different lengths of time depending on the type of mail. And each type is handled a little differently.

First-class and priority mail are forwarded for 12 months at no charge, as long as the sender did not place a non-forwarding endorsement, such as "do not forward", on the mail piece. During months 13-18, the mail is returned to sender with your new address. After 18 months, the mail is simply returned to the sender.

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The same forwarding time period and return treatment applies to express mail. It also receives the same expedited treatment as before; however, the delivery guarantee is void when it is forwarded.

Your magazines and newspapers will be forwarded for 60 days at no charge. After 60 days, the computerized forwarding system will handle the periodical based on the type of change of address on file. If you filed a temporary change of address, your periodicals will be disposed of after 60 days. If you have a permanent change of address on file, they will be returned to the sender with your new address.

Just about the time you start getting settled in your new home, after about seven to 10 postal business days, your mail will start arriving at your new address. If it doesn’t, it’s time to call 1-800-ASK-USPS.

Does All Mail Get Forwarded When You Change Your Address?

When you change your mailing address, most mail sent to the old address will be forwarded for one year.

The following mail will be forwarded to your new address for one year:

  • First Class Mail
  • Priority Mail
  • First Class Packages

However, for marketing materials such as magazines and newspapers, the forwarding time limit is much shorter. The USPS will only forward marketing mail for 60 days, so be sure to update your new address with each company as soon as possible.

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Your Change of Address Checklist

While snail mail might not be your main form of co

While snail mail might not be your main form of correspondence, most of your accounts, memberships, and bills have your address on file. Important documents and those with personal and financial information are often received by mail. Completing the proper changes will help you avoid confusion and potential difficulties in the future. Use this change of address checklist to make sure nothing gets left out.

Post Office

Your local post office is a good place to start when you begin to document your address change. The only way you can receive mail at your new address is to set up a mail forward through the U.S. Postal Service. Fill out this simple online form to get it done right away. Mail sent to your old address will be forwarded to your new home for six months to a year.

How Do I Include My Family Members on Change of Address Forms?

The name of everyone who is moving to a new address must be included on your USPS change of address form.

If everyone in your family has the same surname, everyone will be included on one form. Simply include the names of every family member who will be moving to the new residence. If there are members in your family with different surnames, you’ll need a separate form.

How do I change my address for a temporary move?

If you need to live at a new residence for less than a year, you can have your mail forwarded to your new address for a specific amount of time.

There are a variety of reasons you may be temporarily changing residences. Luckily, you can apply for a temporary address change. A temporary address change typically means six months or less. However, you will also have the option to extend the change up to 12 months. This option means your address will automatically revert to your original residence after the specified time.

Government Agencies

Be sure to notify these agencies of your upcoming move:

Internal Revenue Service

You can’t get a tax refund or stimulus check if the IRS doesn’t have your current address on file. You can take care of this online and even link your bank account to your tax return so you can have money owed to you by the IRS sent immediately.

Social Security Administration

If you receive benefits from the government (like disability, retirement, Medicare, survivor benefits, or supplemental security), it’s essential to update your address as soon as you move. Even if you receive payment through direct deposit, benefits will stop if the agency can’t contact you by mail. Fill out the SSA’s simple online form to update your contact information.

State Tax Agency

To change your address with your state tax agency, go to your specific state’s website, and look for directions. Most often, you’ll be able to take care of this online.

DMV

Whether you’re changing states or not, the DMV typically expects you to report your change of address within 30 days of moving (even within the same city). If you’re taking a registered vehicle across state lines for the move, you’ll be required to register your vehicle in your new state, as well. Luckily you can get a lot done while at your local DMV office. Bring the right documents with you and update your address for your driver’s license, vehicle registration, voter registration, and passport.

Voter Registration

Election time is not when you want to figure out where to go vote. Changing your voter registration address will inform you of your voting district and polling location, so you’ll at least know you’re waiting in the right line. You can change your voter registration online or when you visit the DMV.

Change of Address Checklist Pro Tip:

Combine tasks into one trip to take care of your address change quickly. For instance, you can accomplish a lot with one trip to your local DMV office.

Utilities

Moving to a new home only to realize that it will take days to get your utilities turned on isn’t a situation anyone wants to face. Whether you’re moving down the street or across the country, make sure to check into notifying local utility companies of your new address at least a month ahead of moving day.

You may be able to complete your change of address online for many of these companies. If you already have an online account and are remaining in the same area, simply update your account to reflect your new billing address. A move across state lines or a transition from apartment to home will require you to cancel your current utility services and open new accounts.

Common utilities you can expect to change include:

  • Gas and Electric
  • Phone, Cable, and Internet Providers
  • Water/Sewage Department
  • Garbage/Recycling Company
  • Home Security Company

Your Employer

Even if you’re changing jobs, your previous employer should be notified of your new address a couple of weeks before your move. Your previous employer might need to mail important documents to you (like tax information) after you’ve been removed from the HR system. If you’ve been communicating with your new employer at your current address, it’s important to let them know about your new address and your moving date.

Financial Agencies

Mail theft is one of the most common ways identity theft occurs. That’s why it’s vital to ensure you notify all financial institutions of your change of address before the move.

  • Bank: Even if you bank online, you may receive statements, debit cards, and other important financial information in the mail.
  • Credit Card Companies: Even if you use paperless billing and only shop online, your credit card and retail card providers should be notified of your change of address. You don’t want important notices, your updated card, or seasonal offers falling into the wrong hands.
  • PayPal: Payment services like PayPal, Stripe, and Venmo keep your address on file. Defaulting to your old address could lead to declined payments and products lost in shipping.
  • Your IRA/401(k) Administrator: Long-term accounts can be easy to forget. Make sure you update your address to avoid missed memos and other important information.
  • Credit Unions: It’s common to use a bank and credit union for different purposes. If you use a credit union, you need to update your address before moving day.
  • Accountant and Tax Preparer: When tax season arrives, you’ll be glad you took care of this on time. Conflicting addresses on tax forms can lead to unnecessary delays, lost refunds, and even tax audits.

Change of Address Checklist Pro Tip:

Order new checks when you take care of your address change to eliminate an extra step.

Loan Providers

Are you paying for a car? Do you still have a mortgage on your home? Are you paying off a mountain of student loans? While the idea of leaving these responsibilities behind is tempting, it’s not a realistic decision. You’re required to let your lenders know of your move. Taking care of this task ahead of time helps ensure you don’t miss any payments and potentially damage your credit.

Insurance Companies

It’s easy to forget how many insurance policies you need to protect your family and possessions. Insurance coverage can be tricky in the best of situations. Don’t let a simple task leave you underinsured in your time of need. Often, a change of address can be accomplished online or over the phone with the following companies.

  • Health Insurance, Life insurance, and Dental Insurance: A health insurance claim can be denied for something as small as a typo. So, even if you remain in the same state with coverage under the same provider, notify all insurance companies of your address change.
  • Car Insurance: Auto insurance coverage varies from state to state. Even if you remain in the same city, update your auto insurance when you update your driver’s license and registration.
  • Home Insurance or Renters Insurance: Home insurance is only useful if it’s for the right home. You’ll need to notify your home insurance provider of your new address and see if any other coverage changes apply. Whether you rent or buy your home, you may be required to provide proof that you’ve secured home or renter’s insurance.

Change of Address Checklist Pro Tip:

Ask your home or rental insurance provider if your possessions are covered during transit. If not, you might want to consider mover’s insurance to protect against risks during the move.

Online Shopping Sites

Online services are a part of everyday life for mo

Online services are a part of everyday life for most people. Shopping online is likely a convenience you’ll be taking advantage of immediately after you move. If you forget to update your address information for Amazon or eBay, your purchases will go to your old address by default. Luckily, these changes are typically as simple as making an update to your account profile.

Change of Address Checklist Pro Tip:

Your streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have your address on file, too. Make sure to update your address before the move so you can keep streaming without interruption.

Clubs and Organizations

Retail clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco exist practically everywhere. Make sure you include your updated address with these organizations so you’ll be ready to stock up on supplies after the move.

Apps

When you’re in a hurry and Google Maps defaults to your old address, you’ll likely be routed to a long commute. Many types of convenient apps use your home address as a default. If you use these types of apps, take a moment to edit your address before the move.

  • Map Apps: Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps
  • Transportation Apps: Uber, Lyft
  • Smart Home Apps: TV, thermostat, lights, speakers

Change of Address Checklist Pro Tip:

Don’t forget to change the address in your browser. Auto-fill is only convenient if the right address is associated with your name.

Magazines and Subscriptions

Magazines and subscription boxes are a “set it and forget it” convenience that can be easy to overlook. While the new residents at your previous address might appreciate your Dollar Shave box or favorite monthly magazine subscriptions, take the time to enter in your new address so you receive next month’s box.

Local Service Providers

If you employ local providers to take care of routine services (like housecleaning or lawn care) on your property, you need to advise them of your move ahead of time. If your new address is within the service area, advise companies of your new address and when you expect to be moved in.

Medical Providers

Your doctor, dentist, veterinarian, and other local medical providers need to know about your change of address. Specialists that you see at least once a year like your optometrist, orthodontist, or other medical specialist need to be included on this list, as well. Appointment reminders, bills, and other important information can go unnoticed for weeks or even months when your providers don’t have your current address. Conflicting addresses can also lead to problems with payments and insurance claims.

Change of Address Checklist Pro Tip:

If you’re moving far away, your current medical providers may be able to help with referrals in your new town.

Friends and Family

Your immediate family and closest friends are likely aware of your changing address, and they might even be helping with the details of your move. Still, your circle of relatives and acquaintances goes far beyond those you see on a regular basis, and they should have a spot on your change of address checklist. Luckily, today’s technology makes notifying your friends and family of your move as simple as sending out a mass email. If you’re worried about accidentally snubbing loved ones, use your contact list or holiday list to make sure everyone gets the memo.

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