Organizing a move is challenging, but there’s more to do after you’ve unpacked your last box. You also need to change your address to keep your life running smoothly. That’s where a change of address checklist comes in handy.
It sounds simple enough. However, if you overlook any steps, you could interrupt everything from utilities to paychecks. We made the process as easy as possible with this change of address checklist.
1. Contact Your Local Post Office
If you want your mail to arrive at your new address, you should start the paperwork at the post office. There are two ways you can do this.
Visit your local post office and request the latest Mover’s Guide packet, which will include PS Form 3575 for address changes. You can also visit the USPS website to start the process.
When filling out your form, you can specify if it’s a temporary move and the date you want your mail forwarded. Remember that you’ll need to pay $1.10 with a credit or debit card to complete the change of address.
However, this is only the verification cost. If you want to change your address for an extended period of time, you need to pay $19.95 for six, $29.95 for twelve, and $39.95 for eighteen months.
2. Notify Government Agencies
Filling out a change of address form with the post office isn’t fail-proof. For example, federal law does not permit the U.S. post office to forward checks issued by the federal government. Otherwise, you could miss out on a stimulus check or a tax refund adjustment.
Here are some agencies that you should notify about your change of address:
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Illinois Department of Revenue
- The Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- Chicago Social Security Office
- Chicago Board of Elections (Voter Registration)
3. Transfer Your Utilities
Your utility companies can transfer service from one address to another without interruption. Changing your address online with the post office should forward along with your utilities. However, you don’t want to leave it up to chance and miss paying a bill.
Some apartment complexes include all or partial utilities. But it isn’t legally required for a landlord to provide utilities in the state of Illinois. However, they may decide to offer it as part of their lease terms. In this case, you may not need to transfer your service but simply cancel it.
Check your lease terms or speak to your landlord if you’re unsure what’s covered.
4. Shop Around for Cable and Internet Providers
Before you transfer cable and Internet providers, consider shopping around instead. Many companies offer move-in specials and first-time customer discounts. Your current providers may also provide a deal to keep your business.
Remember to give yourself a grace period with your cable and Internet providers to avoid a service lag. You may need to schedule an appointment for a technician to turn on the service.
5. Talk to Your HR Department
If you’re moving out of state to Chicago, your employer could encounter legal implications. For example, you or your employer may have tax liabilities in both Illinois and the state you’re moving from. Notify your HR department or employer about your move. Otherwise, you could miss out on paychecks, tax forms, and other important information.
6. Gather Up Your Insurance Policies
Include all of your insurance policies on your change of address checklist. Some rates, like auto insurance, could also change depending on where you’re moving from and your policy. Add these insurance policies to your change of address checklist:
- Auto insurance
- Life insurance
- Health insurance
- Long-term disability insurance
- Pet insurance
7. Contact Your Bank
Even if you use online banking, updating your address with your financial institutions is still necessary. Your bank may need to verify your identity before conducting financial transactions.
Obtaining the correct address is also a legal matter. Federal law usually requires financial institutions verify customers’ identity with a legal address. P.O. boxes aren’t allowed.
8. Check Your Financial Statements
Check your financial statements if you’re worried about forgetting who to change your address with. Look over all of your recent, recurring charges. You may find a business or organization you forgot to update, like a charity or student loan provider.
9. Watch Out for Change of Address Scams
Just like apartment rental scams, change of address scams are unfortunately common.
For example, you may see sites charging unusually high fees to change your address. The site may look like the USPS website but is fraudulent. Make sure you’re using the USPS website or appropriate forms and not a fake document that looks similar.
You should also keep the notification letter from USPS that you forwarded your address. If you received a notification and did not change your address, contact your local post office immediately.
If you think you’re a victim of a scam, call the Postal Inspectors’ office at 877-876-2455 to discuss the problem.