You shouldn’t drive without car insurance or own a home without homeowners insurance, and you shouldn’t move without third party moving insurance coverage.
A lot can go wrong during a move. Even with the most careful and responsible movers, the very nature of the moving process puts your belongings at risk. Your dishes could break. Your furniture could be damaged. And that’s just for starters. What if the entire moving truck is involved in a crash, catches on fire, or is targeted by thieves?
Everything you own is on the line, so it makes sense to protect it with appropriate insurance. The protection that you can get through your mover may not provide the coverage you might need, but you can get robust insurance through a third-party moving insurance company.
Here are nine things you you need to know before you purchase moving insurance.
1. The Limitations of Your Mover’s Released Value Protection and Full Value Protection
The FMCSA says that interstate moving companies are required to offer two types of valuation coverage: released value protection and full value protection.
Released value protection doesn’t cost anything extra, but it doesn’t provide much protection, either. If you go for this option, your belongings are only covered for $0.60 per pound or less. That’s it. Let’s say you have a dining room table that weighs 200 pounds and cost $1,000. It’s damaged beyond repair. The most you can get for it is $120. The math gets even worse when you consider expensive but more lightweight items, like electronics. If you have a flatscreen television that weighs 40 pounds, you might just get $24 for it.
Full value protection sounds better, and it does offer more coverage. If you select this option, you have to pay for coverage. Your mover will cover your belongings at replacement value – but there are some key restrictions and exceptions. First, the mover is not required to cover items of extraordinary value, which means anything that’s valued at more than $100 per pound. Things like jewelry and china can easily fall into this category. Certain types of losses – such as tornados, floods, lightning strikes and other “acts of God” as well as things like terrorist acts and riots – may not be covered. You also won’t have coverage for pairs and sets, so if one item in a set is destroyed and you need to replace the entire set, you won’t have the coverage you need. Another issue is that losses aren’t handled by experienced and licensed independent claims adjusters, and you don’t get a written policy. This can make dealing with losses more of a headache.
2. Third-Party Moving Insurance Offers Superior Protection
A third-party moving insurance provider (like movinginsurance.com) can offer more robust coverage for your move. These policies can include coverage against acts of God and terrorist acts or riots. You can get coverage for high-value items. You’ll also get a written policy, and claims will be handled by a company that specializes in insurance.
You have several moving policy types to choose from:
- A total loss policy covers all of your items in the case of a major catastrophe. However, individual items are not covered.
- A named perils policy provides coverage for individual items. However, you may not have coverage for mechanical damage to electric components or coverage for pairs and sets.
- All-risk policies provide the highest level of protection. With this policy type, you can secure coverage for pairs and sets as well as mechanical damage to electric components.
3. The Value of Your Load
In order to know how much coverage you need, you’ll have to calculate the value of your load. This may seem like a hassle, but it will help you get the right coverage, and it will also come in handy if you have to file a claim. Knowing the value of your possessions is also useful for homeowners and renters insurance, so you’ll be able to use this information again.
Home inventory apps can simplify this process. There are many apps to choose from, including Sortly, Encircle and the NAIC Home Inventory App.
4. Your High-Value Items
When you create an inventory of your belongings, pay attention to high-value items. These may include works of art, antiques, jewelry, furs, china, collectibles and any other items that would be expensive to replace.
Talk your moving insurance company about securing coverage for these items. You may need to list them separately to make sure they’re covered.
5. Your Deductible
When you purchase a moving insurance policy, you will need to select a deductible. This is the amount that you will be responsible for if you have a claim. For example, let’s say you have a $250 deductible. You file a claim for damages totaling $3,000. The insurer pays you this amount minus the deductible, so you receive $2,750. A larger deductible can keep the moving insurance cost down, but it also means that you’re taking on more risk.
6. Your Insurance Policy’s Packing Requirements
A poor packing job can be disastrous. If you pack your items incorrectly, you could end up with broken glasses, scuffed furniture, damaged electronics and other losses.
If you decide to pack your belongings yourself, your coverage may be limited. Although it may cost extra to have the moving company handle the packing, this can be the best way to ensure that your belongings are packed by workers with the supplies and training needed to keep your items safe. See your insurance policy for packing requirements.
7. Excluded Items
Third-party moving insurance can provide the greatest level of coverage for your belongings, but there are still some exclusions. Certain items will not be covered by insurance. For example, your policy may exclude medium-density fiberboard (MDF) furniture because of its propensity to break and swell.
Additionally, some items cannot be moved under state and federal laws. These prohibited items include hazardous and perishable products.
8. The Notification Requirements
Once your items are delivered, it’s important to check everything for damage. You should do this before the moving company workers leave so you can note any damage on their paperwork. In addition to looking for visibly damaged or broken items, you should plug in electronics to make sure that they are functioning properly.
If you have a loss, you should let your insurer know as soon as possible. Your insurance policy will have notification requirements that require you to check items for damage and report any issues within a certain amount of time.
9. The Claim Filing Timeline
If you have a loss, you will need to file an official claim.
Before your move, you should check with your insurer so that you understand the claim filing timeline. There will likely be a deadline for filing claims. If you try to file a claim after the deadline, you may not have coverage. You may also need to supply information, such as photos, to support your claim. Providing all of the information required can help your claim be settled as fast as possible.
Do you need moving insurance coverage? Get a quick quote.