Boxes aren’t the only things that are overlooked during a move.

All too often, people forget about obvious tasks such as updating insurance policies and clearing out a safe-deposit box. Here’s a checklist of loose ends you’ll need to tie up before you turn in the house keys:                 

                                                                                                                                 Chip Wass

Change Your Address. You can file a change-of-address form with the U.S. Postal Service in person (free) or online at (they’ll run a $1 charge to your credit card to verify your identity). The change typically takes seven to 10 days to take effect, and your mail can be forwarded for up to one year.

You also should notify your bank, insurers, credit-card companies and most recent employer, says Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis. Do so about one to two weeks in advance. And don’t forget your alma mater, periodical subscriptions, loyalty programs, charities, and professional and political groups.

If you don’t have time to do all the legwork, an online service can do it for you. With, for instance, submit the names of your service providers, your old and new address and moving date and the site will send out the new information free of charge, says David Greenberg, the company’s founder and CEO.

Get Your Deposit Back. If you’re moving out of a rental, you should be able to get your deposit back without issue (assuming the unit is in the condition you left it, given normal wear and tear)—as long as you notify your landlord in the manner agreed to in your lease, typically at least 30 days in advance and in writing, says Barney Fadal, chief executive of the National Renters Association.

                 Cancel Home Services. You’ll want to make arrangements to cancel services such as cable, Internet and telephone land lines, as well as utilities, such as electricity, at least a few days before you want your service terminated, Ms. Warne says. If you’re going to keep the same service providers, ask about transferring your account and any promotions for customers who are relocating.

Review Bank Accounts. If you’re moving out of state, check whether your bank operates in the new state and has convenient branches and ATMs near your new address.

Many credit unions have reciprocal arrangements with other credit unions in different regions of the country, meaning you can use an affiliated credit union’s branches and ATMs free of charge (just as you would at your credit union) without having to change accounts, says Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at

One important task people often forget to time properly: switching over direct-deposit setups, such as a paycheck, and automatic withdrawals, for, say, the mortgage or insurance.

Clear Out Safe-Deposit Box. Valuable items are too often left behind in safe-deposit boxes, financial experts say, and as time elapses, rightful owners become difficult for banks to track down.

Update Insurance Policies. If you’re moving to a new state, you’ll typically need to get a new insurance policy for your vehicle, since insurance regulations vary by state, says Rachael Risinger, a spokeswoman for insurer State Farm. Check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website about deadlines.

Keep in mind that even if you move within a state, your rates might change, depending on your new location, if you’ll be driving a lot more for a new job and other factors.                 

Get a New License and Registration. If you are moving to another state, check the DMV site to see how much time you have to register your vehicle in the new state. You’ll need proof of insurance, so make sure to finalize your policy first, says Laura Adams, a senior insurance analyst with

You’ll also need to apply for a new license, and possibly new license plates. (Go to for each state’s rules.)

Transfer Medical Records. Moving often means switching doctors. You can ask physicians for copies of your medical records, as well as any recent X-rays, says Rachel Seeger, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, the health department’s enforcement agency for civil rights and health privacy.

Starting Sept. 23, health-care providers must make electronic copies available to patients as well.

Ms. Seeger notes that patients might not be able to see all the information in the record, such as a practitioner’s notes from psychotherapy sessions. In such cases, she says, patients can request that their doctor share a copy of the record with the new physician.

Re-Evaluate Your 401(k). If your move involves switching employers, you’ll need to decide what to do with your 401(k) retirement plan.

Some employers allow you to keep your current 401(k) even after you leave, Ms. Warne says. You also can roll it over to another 401(k), if your new employer offers one, or roll it into an individual retirement account. Consider consulting with a financial adviser about your options.


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Greg Chadwell

Broker associate

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