Moving is a stressful time for anyone, but it can become even more stressful if you have to deal with the aftermath of an unfortunate incident.
In addition to all the stressors that come with moving, such as packing, coordinating moving logistics, and finding a new place to live, you also need to ensure that your things are properly insured in case something unexpected happens.
Moving insurance is one of those things you might not think about until it’s too late. After all, how often do we move? Unless you’re in college or live with roommates who move every few months and change address every time they do, probably not very often.
But just because it’s rare doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for it. A successful move depends on many factors: the condition of your home before you move out and after you move back in; whether or not you own your current residence; how much stuff you have; etc.
If you’re planning on moving soon, this article will help you understand what type of coverage you need and what factors may affect your policy.
What Is Moving Insurance?
Moving insurance is a type of insurance that helps protect your belongings during a move. It can cover the cost of repairing or replacing damaged items, as well as the cost of storage if your move is delayed. Moving insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that your belongings are protected in case something goes wrong during your move.
There are two main types of moving insurance, which we’ll explain in a bit:
- released value protection
- full value protection.
When deciding whether or not to purchase moving insurance, it’s important to consider the value of your belongings and how much coverage you feel comfortable with.
Keep in mind that most homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies do not cover damage that occurs during a move, so you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage if you have high-value items or are making a long-distance move.
Note that moving insurance is not actual insurance. As an alternative, moving companies offer something called valuations.
Companies that move don’t sell insurance and aren’t subject to the same federal regulations that govern other types of insurance. Federal law, however, requires them to provide options for valuation. In addition to moving companies, third-party providers can provide insurance to cover high-value items that moving companies won’t cover.
Basically, valuation is how much you value your belongings. In more precise terms, it’s the value of their replacement. Would it cost you much to replace everything if you lost it all during a move?
When your belongings are damaged or lost, the moving company compensates you for the loss or damage. An insurance policy for moving offers protection against the loss or damage of your possessions. A moving insurance policy can cover anything from floods and fires to your new high-end camera being dropped by a mover.
Do I Need Moving Insurance?
Anyone who has something of value transported (or maybe even simply moved across the room) needs to consider moving insurance. Nobody likes to think about the possibility of damage to their belongings, but it’s a fact of life that things break or are lost or stolen.
Although it’s not possible to completely eliminate the risk of loss, i’s possible to transfer the risk to an insurance company by purchasing a moving insurance policy. Items that are especially susceptible to damage during a move include electronic equipment and furniture.
If you own any pricey electronics, it’s important to know whether or not they are covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Some policies may include coverage for computers, stereos, TVs, etc., while others do not.
Furniture can be especially tricky — some furniture is covered, while some isn’t. And some furniture is only covered for a certain amount, like $100 for an old sofa.
Depending on the type of furniture you own, you may want to purchase extra moving insurance to protect it against damage.
What Does Moving Insurance Cover?
Most people believe that their homeowner’s insurance will cover the cost of their belongings during a move, but this is often not the case.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy typically covers your belongings if they are stolen or damaged in a fire, but it usually does not cover damage that occurs during a move. This is where moving insurance comes in.
Moving insurance can provide coverage for your belongings if they are lost, stolen, or damaged during a move. It can also provide coverage if you have to cancel your move or if your new home is uninhabitable due to unforeseen circumstances.
Moving insurance is typically divided into two types of coverage:
- transit protection
- cancellation protection.
Transit protection covers your belongings while they are in transit from your old home to your new home. This type of coverage typically includes protection against loss, theft, and damage. It may also include coverage for things like weather-related delays and missed connections.
Cancellation protection covers you if you have to cancel your move for reasons beyond your control, such as a job loss or an illness in the family. This type of coverage typically reimburses you for non-refundable deposits and expenses, such as movers’ fees and hotel reservations.
Moving insurance can be purchased through most major moving companies, and many insurers offer standalone policies as well. The cost of moving insurance varies depending on the value of your belongings and the distance of your move, but it’s generally quite affordable – especially when compared to the cost of replacing damaged or lost items.
What Doesn’t Moving Insurance Cover?
The valuation doesn’t necessarily cover things outside your moving company’s control (e.g., earthquakes, fires, floods, etc.), and your moving company might limit how much liability it takes in certain scenarios.
An example would be:
- Rather than hiring movers to pack your belongings, you pack them yourself
- You may be held accountable for lost or damaged items if you fail to report them immediately after moving (most moving companies have a nine-month window for reporting lost or damaged items).
- It’s at your risk if you fail to specify in writing prior to moving that a particular item is of extraordinary (or high) value
- Inclusion of batteries, chemicals, or explosives in moving containers without informing the mover of their dangers or precarious nature
What Does Moving Insurance Cost?
The cost of moving insurance varies from one provider to the next. You can compare moving insurance quotes online to find a policy that fits your needs and budget.
The cost of moving insurance also varies depending on the level of coverage you select and the value of your belongings. A full coverage moving insurance policy typically costs more than a partial coverage policy with a low-value threshold. In the case of full value coverage, keep in mind that prices vary from moving company to moving company.
Most full-value protection policies charge you a percentage of your shipment’s value. As an example, if you ship $70,000, your insurance premium might be $700, or 1%.
A deductible may also be required when you file a claim, depending on the moving company. Make sure you know all the costs associated with any type of coverage before making a purchase.
You can lower the cost of moving insurance by ensuring that your belongings are adequately protected before you move. It’s also a good idea to create a detailed inventory of your most valuable items and store it in a safe place. This will make it easier to document any damage that occurs to your items during the move.
Types of Moving Insurance and Valuation
Released Value Protection
The most basic type of coverage offered by moving companies is released value protection. Although released value protection is free of charge, it must be requested and agreed to in writing in advance.
There is no additional cost associated with this type of protection, but it only offers a limited amount of coverage. There is typically a 60-cent per pound liability assumed by moving companies. In this case, the mover would just be required to pay $30 to compensate for the loss or damage of a pricey TV when it weighs 50 pounds.
Releasing valuation protection does not replace or repair lost or damaged items. As a substitute, you’ll be paid 60 cents per pound. Period.
Full Value Protection
Another way to protect your belongings is to purchase full value protection. In spite of the fact that this coverage has an upfront premium (typically 1% to 2%), it’s considerably more comprehensive than released value coverage. In addition, deductibles are often part of full value protection policies.
Choosing full value protections means your moving company is responsible for the entire replacement value of the goods they are transporting, subject to some limitations. An insurance premium is charged based on what consumers believe their goods are worth per pound.
The full value protection policy of most moving companies usually has some sort of minimum value you need to claim. A minimum amount of coverage is also specified by state regulations for household items, usually between $4 and $6 per pound. Moving 10,000 pounds of household goods and declaring a value of $6 per pound will result in a valuation of $60,000. You will receive this amount if everything in the shipment is lost or damaged.
Full value protection offers three options for fulfilling a claim:
- Item repair
- Substitute something comparable for the goods
- Compensation for the cost of the repair or the item’s market value
You can replace a damaged 200-pound couch with the same (or similar) couch, or you can be compensated for it based on its current market value. When a claim is filed, moving companies usually require a $250-$1,000 deductible. With released value protection, on the other hand, there are no deductibles, so you would simply receive 60 cents per pound of damaged items.
A full value protection policy can limit a moving company’s liability for high-value items. The item is considered extraordinary in this case. Antiques and $1,500 shoes are examples of high-value items which are generally worth more than $100 per pound.
Talk to your moving company before the move about whether these items will be covered. The moving company is not responsible if items of extraordinary value are not disclosed.
Additional coverage can usually be purchased from the moving company for high-value items. In general, the more extraordinary items you own, the higher your premium or deductible.
During a move, your belongings may not be adequately protected with moving insurance (a.k.a. valuation), so you might wonder if you should obtain additional insurance.
This question is a good one, but the answer depends on the value of your belongings. A home owner’s or renter’s insurance may or may not cover your belongings when you move, so make sure to double-check.
A move to a new home will not be covered by your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy if you are breaking the terms of the policy. It may be possible, however, that if you’re making a local move and maintaining your previous home’s policy, it will cover your belongings.
However, you should always check since this is not always the case.
Policies for homeowners and renters often contain caveats. You may only be covered while your belongings are in transit, for example. As a result, your insurance policy won’t cover anything broken while moving off the van and into your new house.
Don’t forget to double-check with your insurance provider to make sure what’s covered. Don’t wait until it’s too late to discover that some of your most valuable items aren’t covered by your insurance policy!
Your insurance provider might offer trip transit insurance, so you might want to inquire about it specifically. Your belongings while in transit are protected from loss and damage, including theft, fire, and loss of contents. Temporary storage can also be included. Damage caused by war, wear and tear, breakage, and nuclear disasters, however, is not covered.
Moving Insurance FAQ
What are the responsibilities of moving companies when it comes to damages?
Damages are not always the responsibility of moving companies. A mover’s liability is determined by the valuation method you choose.
Adding full-replacement value protection to your moving insurance policy will offer the highest level of coverage for your belongings.
Do homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies cover moving?
Damages incurred during the moving process are usually not covered by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. To be sure, contact your insurance provider.
What is the difference between transit valuation (protection) and insurance?
Insurance is not the same as transit valuation (or protection). Your belongings can be insured during transit by moving companies, but they often don’t cover their full costs (or market value). You can use moving insurance to supplement transit valuation and ensure that your belongings are insured to their full market value.
How does a moving company usually provide protection?
Moving insurance is usually offered in two forms: full replacement value and released value. A release value protection usually comes at no cost, while a full replacement value protection usually costs more. The mover is, however, substantially less liable for damage under released value protection.
Do DIY moves qualify for moving insurance?
Purchasing transit insurance (or moving insurance) for a DIY move is possible. Again, your renters or homeowners insurance policy may be helpful. Insurance companies sometimes offer “relocation” or “trip transit” coverage.
In some cases, your rental truck company may also offer transit insurance for an additional fee. Keep in mind that these options may not cover:
- Packing insufficiently
- Changing belongings during transit in the truck
- Vandalism or theft
What Is a Trip Transit Policy or Endorsement?
A transit endorsement or trip transit policy is an add-on to your standard moving insurance that covers any loss or damage that occurs during the trip from your old home to your new home.
A transit endorsement typically covers damage due to weather (such as a hurricane or flood) as well as other types of accidents or incidents, such as a car accident or fire. A transit endorsement can be added to any moving insurance policy (and not just an insurance policy purchased from a moving company).
However, it’s important to note that not all insurance companies offer this type of coverage. If you want this type of coverage, you should look for a moving company or insurance provider that offers it.
When it comes to trip transit insurance, premiums are usually lower, but rates are higher because this type of insurance pertains to a one-time event. Depending on the policy, the full value of the shipment can be covered, or excess coverage can be added to other policies.
Questions to Ask Movers Regarding Coverage
As you begin planning your move, you’ll want to start researching different moving companies and gathering quotes. Once you have a few potential moving companies in mind, it’s time to start asking them some questions about their insurance coverage.
Here are a few key questions to ask:
- What type of insurance do you offer?
- What does your insurance cover?
- How much does your insurance cost?
- Do I need to purchase additional insurance?
- In what way will damaged items be valued?
- Are the contract’s estimated values in line with what you own?
- Do you get different coverage if you pack your own items?
- How does the claims process work? Is there a deadline?
- Can I get my old home repaired if it’s damaged during the move? Do I have coverage for this?
- Is there a deductible? Is it possible to raise it to save money?
If the moving company offers insurance, be sure to ask about the details of the coverage. What exactly is covered and what isn’t? Make sure you understand the limits of the coverage and what your responsibility would be in the event that something is damaged or lost during the move.
It’s also important to find out how much the insurance costs. Some moving companies include basic insurance in their quote, while others charge an additional fee for it. Be sure to get all pricing information in writing before making a final decision on which company to use.
Finally, you’ll want to ask if there are any other options for insuring your belongings during the move. For example, many homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies will provide some coverage for items that are lost or damaged while being moved. You may also be able to purchase additional insurance from a third-party provider.
Once you’ve asked these questions and gathered all of the necessary information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not purchasing moving insurance is right for you.
Should You Buy Insurance From a Moving company?
The short answer is yes. This is the easiest way to both ensure you have the coverage you need and that you don’t forget to buy it.
A moving company’s insurance policy is likely to be more comprehensive than typical homeowner’s insurance policies and will also include liability coverage that protects you from injuries incurred during the move.
While it might be tempting to go with the company that offers the lowest rate, you’re better off working with a reputable company that offers high-quality coverage. Be sure to check our online reviews to see what other people think of the company and its services. We offer a lot of them!
While moving insurance is a prudent financial decision, it’s important to know that it will only cover certain items, and there are some things that it simply won’t cover at all. While it can be tempting to go as cheap as possible when shopping for moving insurance, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for.
It’s also important to select a moving insurance company that has a proven track record and will be there for you when you need them. Most importantly, keep your paper trail and receipts for everything. It’s not worth risking your money on a cheap policy with a fly-by-night company that won’t be around if you ever need to make a claim.
Matt is a veteran of the moving industry, a recognized moving expert and is the founder of Mover Focus. Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Finance and Marketing and Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Economics and History. He also has completed the EiM (Essentials in International Moving) course from the FIDI Academy. His advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Business News Daily and The SpareFoot Blog Go. Read more.