- Your homeowners policy may not cover your belongings while they are being packed or transported by professional movers.
- Coverage provided by moving companies is not insurance and is not governed by state insurance laws.
- Federal law requires professional movers to provide you with both released value and full value coverage for your belongings. Released value pays $0.60 per pound while full value can pay up to $100 per pound.
- If you own collectibles or other high-value items, you may want to purchase third-party moving insurance that offers a higher level of protection for these possessions.
Moving insurance covers your belongings while they’re on the road, whether you’re moving across the street or across the country, and whether you’re handling the move yourself or using a moving company. It is offered by insurance companies to provide coverage beyond what moving companies will provide.
Your homeowners or renters insurance can cover your belongings while they are in your home, in transit or in storage. But it may not cover damage that occurs while your belongings are being packed or handled by movers.
Moving companies will offer two types of protection; Released value protection (RVP) and full value protection (FVP). Professional movers are required by federal law to offer them to consumers, but they are not technically insurance.
Movers may also offer moving insurance backed by third-party insurance companies. These moving insurance policies offer higher levels of coverage than what is offered by the full value protection of the moving company. With this type of coverage, the moving company will be responsible for damages to your belongings up to 60 cents per pound with the insurance company covering the rest of the damage up to the policy’s coverage limits.
- Released value protection (RVP): also called basic carrier liability, this is required by federal law and costs you nothing. The mover provides this coverage and pays for claims. It is based on weight and pays up to 60 cents per pound. This is pretty minimal and offers very little coverage for items that may be light in weight but have value (think your laptop or grandma’s pearl necklace).
- Full Value Protection (FVP): this type of coverage is also required by federal law and is provided by the mover, not an insurance company. Your estimate from the mover should automatically include the cost of this coverage, although you can waive it if you want a cheaper move. This insurance requires the mover to repair or replace any item that is lost, destroyed or damaged while in the mover’s custody, up to $100 per pound.
- Separate third party insurance: this is optional coverage provided by insurers, not your moving company, and is governed by state law. If you forgo full value protection but still need coverage for expensive possessions, you can opt for a third-party moving insurance policy. It can provide more protection for your belongings from natural disasters and other events beyond the movers’ control.
If you are using professional movers, it may be worth considering. While full value and dropped value coverage offer you some protection, they may not provide all the coverage you want.
Released value coverage offers protection limited to 60 cents per pound. Let’s say your mover drops and breaks a $2,000 stereo system that weighs 20 pounds. Your payout would be 0.6 multiplied by 20, or $12.
Full value protection provides stronger coverage but increases the cost of your movement. It will cover your property at a rate of up to $100 per pound, which would fully cover the $2,000 20-pound stereo. As long as you don’t own any items of great value, such as artwork, fine jewelry, or other expensive but lightweight items, full value protection can be a good choice to cover you for the move.
Third party insurance can provide even more comprehensive coverage if you own expensive items or want coverage for a wider list of possible causes. This type of insurance can be purchased from regular insurance companies, not the mover, and provides full coverage of your property, regardless of value, up to policy limits. This type of coverage is not the same as appraisal coverage and is governed by state and federal laws.
Before considering moving appraisal and insurance, talk to your insurance agent or company to see what your homeowners or renters insurance policy covers.
The cost of moving insurance will be determined by several factors including the amount of coverage you want and the insurance company.
The most basic moving protection, abandoned value coverage, is free—it’s paid for by the moving company and comes under federal law that states it must be included in every moving contract.
The amount you pay for coverage other than that will be largely determined by the weight and value of your belongings. Full value protection is based on a valuation you provide to the company, so it is vital that you do a full inventory of your assets before signing the contract so that you have adequate cover.
Although the cost of this type of insurance will vary, it is likely to be approximately one percent of the total estimated cost of your move. There is usually a deductible, which is often between $500 and $1,000. This protection will pay up to $100 per pound for your lost or damaged property.
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If any of your belongings were damaged during the move, the first step is to request a claim form from the moving company or your insurer, depending on the type of coverage you have. You will complete this form and submit it as directed. You have nine months from the move to file your claim, so it’s worth inventorying your belongings after the move as soon as possible so you can determine if there is any loss or damage.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that requests must be in writing, but they do not have to be submitted on the moving company’s request form. If you are not satisfied with the settlement, your mover should have a dispute resolution program; Otherwise, you can initiate legal action against them.
If you are using professional movers, your homeowners insurance policy may offer limited coverage, depending on your policy limits. Some examples where you may be covered are if the moving truck is in an accident, catches fire, or your belongings are stolen while in the truck. Your homeowners policy may cover you in those situations. If you are moving yourself, you may also be covered. As every policy is different, however, it may be a good idea to contact your home insurer well in advance of your move to determine under what circumstances your policy will cover you.
The type of coverage you purchase and the company you are working with will determine the coverage. Generally, full value protection insurance means that your mover will be held responsible for the replacement value of the items you trust during the period your property is in their care, up to $100 per pound. Perils covered are likely to include theft, loss, fire, and other named perils (floods, however, are a common exception). If your property will be in storage for a long time, you may need additional storage insurance. Your moving policy or homeowners insurance may or may not cover off-premises storage.
Many truck rental agencies offer several protection options. U-Haul, for example, offers several levels of coverage. The company’s Safemove coverage pays for truck damage and theft, damage to your belongings from collision, rollover or fire, and medical/life protection for you and your family. Safemove Plus adds a higher level of liability coverage, up to $1 million, with no deductible. These coverage options do not cover the rental of trucks or vans, only the movement of the trucks. You may also want to check with your car insurance company to see if your vehicle is covered while being towed by a moving truck. In many cases, it is not.
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