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Should You Get Moving Insurance? A Look at What's Covered and What's Not


by: Jessica Santina
01 Dec 2010

Moving insurance is a great option for protecting your belongings, but it's actually not insurance at all. Because moving companies aren't regulated by state insurance commissioners, what they issue isn't insurance, it's something called valuation coverage, meaning that there is no physical policy, just a bill of lading, or a contract between mover and customer.

Types of Coverage

When you enter into a contract with a mover, you should be offered one of two types of coverage:

  • Released value: Interstate movers are required to assume liability for personal property at 60 cents per pound. This is generally offered without additional cost. If your belongings aren't worth much, this is often adequate protection. But if you have valuable furniture or electronics, 60 cents per pound won't cut it when there are breakages.
  • Full value: Most people opt for full value coverage. In this option, you can either receive a current market replacement or a cash settlement for items that are lost or damaged. Depreciation is not a factor here. There are a couple caveats to this coverage option. Movers aren't required to reimburse you for any item valued at more than $100 per pound unless it's specifically listed on shipping documents, and in order to receive this coverage, you'll have to inventory your belongings and determine the value of each, which can be overwhelming and difficult.

You might also be able to take advantage of additional coverage options, depending on the moving company. These include declared value coverage, which enables you to set a per-pound value on your belongings, and lump sum value coverage, in which you set amount by value, not by pound.

What's Not Covered by Moving Insurance

Not all breakages or losses are covered. There are exclusions depending on circumstances, including:

  • Packing: If the moving company didn't pack it, breakages contained inside boxes or other packing c containers generally aren't covered, except in certain cases of extreme and unusual box damage. If you intend to file a claim, leave the box as-is so an inspector can see it.
  • Natural disasters: Fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, or other catastrophic disasters aren't the moving company's fault, so they won't cover any resulting damage.
  • Storage: If items are damaged while in storage, you won't be covered.

Moving insurance isn't the only way to protect your possessions. You might also be able to buy additional insurance or a rider on your homeowner's policy. Some companies also offer relocation insurance, which enable you to state a value on your belongings. Talk to your insurance agent about what's available to you.

Sources:
Understanding Valuation and Insurance Options • http://www.protectyourmove.govhttp://www.protectyourmove.gov/consumer/awareness/valuation/valuation-insurance.htm • Federal Motor Carrier Safety AdministrationCourtney Ronan • How Much Moving Insurance is Enough? • Feb 28, 2001 • http://realtytimes.comhttp://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20010228_moving.htm • RealtyTimes.com