The excitement and fears of moving across town or across the country are real for most people. But an added protection for your peace of mind could be purchasing moving insurance.
Most people don’t understand that homeowners or renters insurance may not cover loss or damage to your stuff while on a truck going to your new place, says the State Farm Insurance website. Before buying any moving insurance, check with your insurance agent about your current policy of what it covers while you are moving.
Your belongings should be covered while your belongings are at your residence, in transit and in storage facilities. However, the Insurance Information Institute (iii) explains that it will not pay for any damage done to personal property while being handled by movers when packing or physically moving the boxes and furniture.
The iii suggests understanding other insurance options and to know what is in your current policies (including car insurance):
Trip transit insurance
This will cover your personal property for things such as theft, disappearance or fire while in transit or storage. The policy can also be written for the full value of your stuff or as excess coverage above what the moving company’s coverage. But remember, you are not covered for breakage or flooding if you put your stuff in a storage unit.
Special perils contents coverage
This gives you protection for breakage of all but fragile items. For instance, if you allow the movers to pack up your Aunt Clara’s 18th Century crystal collection and it all breaks, you won’t be getting a dime for that.
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If you have valuable items such as an art collection or expensive jewelry, adding a floater to your regular homeowners or renters insurance can fully protect you.
Car insurance verification
If you’re shipping your vehicle, make sure to get the auto shipping company’s insurance certificate. They must have one by law. Plus, call your insurance company about its coverage.
Whether you need a storage unit or garage for a few weeks or a few years, it could help to invest in added protection. Make sure you see the fine print on the policy.
What if you move all the stuff yourself?
State Farm explains that most likely your homeowners or auto insurance policy won’t cover your possessions if you transport it in your own vehicle or a rental vehicle. If that is the situation (remember to check with your own insurance agent), then you take all the risk. However, truck rental companies do offer insurance that not only protects the vehicle that you take but also the driver, passengers and your items. But really check those rental companies out.
Should you buy the moving company’s insurance?
Many movers do offer insurance policies through one of their affiliates. Just make sure you take your time to understand the policy including what your premium will be upfront and what the deductible will be if you do have to file a claim. These types of insurance are regulated by states, not be the federal government, and not all states permit moving companies to sell insurance policies. But also be aware that some moving companies already offer protection if your stuff gets damaged or broken.
What protection do moving companies offer?
The iii says under federal law, all interstate movers must offer two different liability options – full value protection and released value protection. And most movers also offer both options for intra-state moves, too.
Full value protection is a plan in which the mover is liable for replacement value of your cargo in your shipment if it is lost, destroyed or damaged while in the mover’s custody. You will pay extra for this protection.
Released value protection is given at no additional charge beyond the moving fee. But it only gives you a portion of the value – such as no more than 60 cents per pound per article. That’s not a lot when you are talking about something that is high cost but doesn’t weigh a lot.
What is the cost of moving insurance?
Depending on what belongings you have and the state or city you live in and are moving to, the costs of moving insurance vary significantly, says Angies List. You need to make a big list of all thing things you are moving and estimates of what it would cost to replace them – that means clothing to your toaster to all the furniture. So if you say your stuff is worth $30,000 and you are moving across the country, you might pay somewhere between a few hundred dollars to over $1,000 for full insurance coverages meaning movers do all the loading, transporting and uploading.
But before choosing any moving company or any moving insurance, find out whether the company has a report with the Better Business Bureau, which has reviews of more than 20,000 moving-related companies. Look at the letter grade the BBB has assigned the mover and read about any complaints, reviews, and government actions. You can also assess the company’s complaint history by using the mover search tool on the Department of Transportation’s website.