Here, we’ve done all of the research for you, and have broken down moving insurance as a whole. By reading this, you will find out what type of coverage is right for you, and what liability coverage movers are mandated to carry by federal law. You will also be able to more thoroughly examine your liability insurance options.
The importance of peace of mind cannot be overstated during your transition to your new home. Knowing that your goods are covered no matter what is a great place to start.
What Types of Coverage Do Moving Companies Offer?
Released Value Protection
This basic coverage represents the bare minimum in liability coverage that moving companies have to provide. This insurance covers your goods at a rate of $0.60 per pound, per item. This may sound like far too little, but it is industry standard. Under this coverage, the market value of your things is immaterial. If your 30-pound television is broken by your movers, you will be entitled to $18 in compensation, no matter what you paid for it originally.
This coverage is included in the price of any move and, even though it doesn’t offer much in the way of compensation, you should still make sure your movers have it before booking. For a full list of your rights and responsibilities when moving, look here.
Full Value Protection
All moving companies are required to provide some form of valuation coverage on all goods transported. The only time this coverage is not applicable is if you packed goods on your own, or if you were not fully up-front with your movers about the inventory you were having them handle.
This coverage, while not technically insurance, can provide full coverage for items up to a certain value. Many movers will have different tiers of coverage that clients can buy, up to a certain point. Depending on the amount being moved, this may not cover goods of extraordinary value. Claims filed against full value protection can either be paid via a cash settlement for the replacement value of any damaged items, or with an actual replacement of the item(s) in question.
Car Shipping Insurance
Auto shipping carriers are all required to carry insurance on all cars being transported. They also carry USDOT numbers, which can be used to research different companies here. Very few cars sustain damage in transit, as most auto shippers who get regular work have solid safety practices. So, while you do need to have proof of auto insurance in order to ship your car, purchasing additional insurance for protection in transit is optional.
You should examine the coverages provided by auto carriers that your particular auto shipping broker deals with. It may be smart to go through a broker that acts as an insurance agent for the AFTA plan. Most complaints against auto shipping carriers are due to failure to pay out claims. AFTA is an industry-leading gap insurance provider that picks up wherever auto carrier insurance stops. A car is potentially the most significant high-value item you own, and the extra cost is well worth it.
Should I Purchase Additional Coverage in the Form of Third-Party Insurance?
If you don’t feel like paying for valuation from your movers, and want more traditional full value coverage, then going through a third party may be your best bet. Most major insurance companies offer policies to cover clients on the move. No matter which insurer you go with, you should conduct a full inventory of your home to determine the kind of policy you would need to purchase. If you happen to have items of extraordinary value – more than $100 per pound – then purchasing this kind of coverage may be a necessity.
Before proceeding with any kind of valuation or third-party coverage, you should review your insurance options thoroughly. It varies across providers, but some homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies do offer a degree of protection. This is the exception rather than the rule, but should still be looked into. Here, your degree of comfort and the number of valuable items you have will greatly impact whether you go to an insurance company for moving coverage.
It is worth noting that third-party insurance can protect your goods against natural disasters. This isn’t offered by valuation coverage, or under most homeowners policies as they relate to moving. If you live in an area that’s prone to flooding, wildfires, or earthquakes, added insurance may be a necessity, regardless of the value of the items in your shipment.
Moving Insurance FAQ
How can I prove loss or damage on a large, long-distance move?
Long-distance moving companies are required to maintain detailed bills of lading for all goods loaded onto their moving trucks. This comprehensive inventory list is compiled during the load-up, and cross-checked at the unload. You should ask for a copy of your own to cross-check with your driver at the unload, and make any discrepancies known immediately, before signing the bill of lading.
Can I get moving coverage through my renters' insurance policy?
This varies between providers, but you usually cannot get coverage through this policy. However, most renters’ policies do cover theft. So, if any items are stolen during the course of your move, you may be entitled to compensation, within the limits of your particular policy.
The same can be said of most homeowners’ insurance, although you should check your particular policy before going elsewhere for coverage.
Are damaged items that I've packed eligible for coverage?
Typically, you are responsible for any items you’ve packed into moving boxes. If boxes that you have packed come out of your moving truck or container, and are structurally intact, then you are fully responsible for their contents. However, if a box is crushed in transit, due to poor load packing, you can file a claim for reimbursement or replacement. You should supervise the entire unloading process to ensure that you receive compensation for any such incidents.
If I need moving insurance, can I purchase it through my movers?
All coverages offered by moving companies are in the form of valuation. They are NOT technically insurance, but they function similarly, which is why you may hear some refer to valuation and insurance interchangeably.
Movers are not licensed to sell insurance, but if the value of your belongings is great enough, and you’re planning a longer or interstate move, third-party coverage may be needed.
Do container rental companies provide relocation insurance?
Depending on the moving container company you use, you may need to go through a third party or examine your coverage options more in-depth. Some offer no coverage with their basic moving price. Still, others will offer coverage of the container itself, with little to no protection plans for the household goods they contain. Some of the best in this field offer multiple types of coverage, based on the full valuation of the goods you’re shipping. If using a moving container provider to move, then you should shop around to get the best coverage.