Depending on the scale of your relocation — most notably the value of your belongings — purchasing moving insurance is a worthy consideration. Consider the reaction if a family heirloom or some other unreplaceable item becomes damaged during your move. Is it your responsibility, or does the professional mover — if you used one — cover the loss through their own insurance?
These and other questions remain numerous, and play a significant role when planning any move. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at moving insurance and whether or not you need to make it part of your relocation.
Insuring your Belongings is a Smart Call when Moving Yourself
If you are going the DIY route when relocating, definitely consider purchasing some insurance coverage. If you are leveraging the help of your friends and family for packing, loading, and transporting your belongings, insurance provides some peace of mind if any adverse event damages some of your goods. Perhaps your friends would replace anything damaged if they were at fault, but the proper insurance coverage helps to prevent these awkward situations.
If you already maintain a homeowners insurance policy, a percentage of the value items may be covered in the event of damage during transit, but in many cases this is a nominal amount — 10 percent of their value. Check your policy for the details. Additionally, talk to your insurance agent when planning for your move to see if you are able to increase the coverage amount; they may also issue moving insurance or relocation insurance policies.
If you decide to use your insurance provider — or any other company — for moving insurance, sometimes called “Goods in Transit” insurance, make sure to create a detailed listing of all your belongings in a spreadsheet. This helps speed the process if you need to file a claim. A similar list is also a good idea when going with professional movers, as it helps them create a bill of lading which is also used for any coverage they provide.
What about Insurance when using Professional Movers?
Many professional moving companies provide a measure of protection to their customers for transported items. This is an area you need to pay close attention to — don’t assume everything will be covered at 100 percent. Additionally, you may prefer to still use your regular homeowners insurance agent if the their cost ends up being similar — the claim process might be easier with your existing provider.
Federal regulations require moving companies to offer coverage for out-of-state moves. Released value protection only covers 60 percent of the value of your belongings, and you determine their value. Remember, making a detailed list of items is essential for any move, so make a “value” column in your spreadsheet for this information. This level of coverage in generally included in your moving quote.
If you want the moving company to cover the full amount of your belongings, purchasing extra coverage, called full value protection, is an option. The typical price for this coverage runs around one percent of the total valuation of your goods. If you value your items at $25,000, expect to pay $250 for this extra coverage.
You need to highlight any especially valuable items you are moving — anything with a value greater than $100 per pound, usually jewelry and other high-value items. These need to be noted on the shipping documents, according to Federal regulations. If you don’t itemize these valuables, a moving company isn’t required to reimburse you if they are lost, damaged, or destroyed during transit.
It is important to note that moving companies aren’t providing “insurance” per se; it is a statement of liability in the event something adverse happens to your goods. When collecting bids from professional movers, definitely pay close attention to the level of protection they are offering you, and purchase additional coverage if you feel it is warranted. Also remember, movers won’t cover anything they didn’t pack, and any natural disasters relieves them of liability.
The only cons to moving insurance are the additional cost and the extra effort involved in itemizing your belongings. Don’t forget to talk to your current insurance provider to see if they can offer any coverage to supplement your moving company’s options. Ultimately, moving without insuring your valuables simply isn’t smart.