As most Americans are on the move after the Covid pandemic, it is important to talk about moving and your insurance coverage. Whether you are moving in town or out of state. Some would move on their own by simply renting a moving vehicle, some would seek help from friend and family, others would use a moving company. No matter, how you move, it is important to make sure your belongings are covered while you are on the move.
Of course first and foremost, you need to make sure you have property coverage either under a regular homeowner’s policy or a renters policy. If so, note that most homeowners and renters policies do provide coverage for your personal property at your residence premises but also while on transit or stored away from your home at a storage facility. However, most of these policies do not cover the damage to your belongings caused by movers. So it is important to check the moving agreement with the moving company you are using to make sure you have one of the following coverages:
- Trip transit coverage: this would cover your belongings for fire, theft, mysterious disappearance … while in transit or storage. This coverage usually provided by the moving company agreement does not however cover breakage. So it is important to discuss the issue with the moving company and see if they provide an additional coverage usually called “Special perils” coverage which would extend the coverage to cover breakage of fragile items.
- Floater coverage: this is an additional coverage you can purchase with the moving company which will cover high value items like collectibles, china, jewelry, fine art … etc.
COVERAGE PROVIDED BY THE MOVING COMPANY
It is important to keep in mind that the coverage the moving company offers is not “insurance coverage”. This means that the insurance state laws do not dictate what is covered or it is covered. This is simply up to each moving company to decide what they would cover and to what extent. The coverage they usually provide is very basic but most offer a more extensive coverage at a cost if you need it.
The coverage moving companies offer also tend to be different based on whether you are moving within the state or out of state. So a discussion is worth your time. Make sure to review the coverage the moving agreement provides and purchase additional coverage as needed.
The coverage moving companies provide tend to be either for minimal protection or full value protection:
- Minimal protection coverage: This is usually included in the agreement at no additional cost and tends to be calculated at a small dollar amount per pound or per item. Once you look at the detail of what this means for certain items, you will realize that this coverage is almost useless for most high value heavy weight items. If a 10lb TV is damaged and the replacement cost is $1000 and the moving company covers items at .60 cents/lb, you could get $6 coverage! So it is important to inquire about how you could purchase full value coverage.
- Full value coverage: This coverage is usually purchased at an additional cost and would cover your shipped belongings for the replacement value. This does not always means replacement as companies would chose to repair the damaged items first to reduce their payout cost. Some moving companies’ agreements include a deductible for this coverage, so make sure to keep that in mind as well.
Some moving companies only provide minimal coverage and no option to purchase the full value coverage under their agreement. They would usually refer you to a third party company that specializes in selling moving insurance instead if you need the replacement value coverage.
So as you can see, it is very important to take few minutes to review the moving agreement.
COVERAGE PROVIDED BY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
Whether you are using a moving company or not, make sure to check with your insurance agent and find out what coverage your homeowner’s or renter’s policy offers. This is especially more important of course if you are moving on your own and not using a moving company.
While consulting your insurance agent, ask if you have coverage for your personal property while in transit and what perils are covered and if the policy would provide replacement cost.
If you are renting a moving truck, make sure to check your auto insurance policy and find out if it extends coverage to the moving vehicle. Liability coverage is usually extended. The physical damage to the moving vehicle usually is NOT! So make sure to purchase the coverage with the rental company.
If you are shipping your vehicle during the move, make sure to check with your insurance company to see if you have coverage during the transit. Also, make sure to discuss the shipping company agreement and find out if it provide coverage for the vehicle while on transit and what exactly they cover. This is usually different for different moving companies in different states.