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How to Estimate the Value of Your Goods for Insurance

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Moving insurance is a difficult field to navigate, because it's hard to figure out what your items are worth. When moving, people are unsure of what level of insurance to purchase. How can you ensure the insurance coverage you choose will adequately cover valuables? Picking the right amount of insurance coverage for your move takes careful consideration and requires you to correctly estimate the value of your belongings.

How to Estimate the Value

This guide will break down the process of determining how much your belongings are worth so that you are able to pick the right amount of insurance for your move.

Determine the value of your goods before you pack to move

If you're having trouble figuring out what a certain item is worth, there are several methods you can use:

  • Estimate the value of electronics, clothing and furniture by finding similar products online and accounting for condition
  • Jewelry can be appraised either online or though a local jewelry shop
  • For items like antiques and collectibles, determine the current value by getting the advice of an antique dealer or expert

As you determine the value of your items, make an inventory of your goods.

TIP: When tackling a comprehensive project such as valuating your belongings, spreadsheets are your best option. Spreadsheets help you keep things organized and allow you to stay on top of the inventory process.

It helps to divide your inventory into three distinct categories: current replacement value of the item, original cost of the item and your best estimate for how much the item is worth in its current state.

Choose the proper type of moving insurance

Before choosing the level of coverage, you should be familiar with the different insurance plans offered by moving companies. There are usually four main types of moving insurance, but your options can vary depending on your moving company.

  • Basic carrier liability is the lowest coverage you can purchase. All licensed movers will have basic carrier liability built in to their standard moving fee, it is the minimal amount of liability that must be provided to you free of charge by law when transporting your items.

    Basic carrier liability is known as the "released value" and is limited to $0.30 (intrastate) or $0.60 (interstate) per pound per article.

  • Declared value protection is based on the depreciated value of that item. Your entire shipment is given a dollar amount (declared by the customer) with an additional charge of $1.25 times the overall weight. While you may have to pay a bit more money for this type of coverage, your belongings would be protected.

  • Full replacement liability is the most inclusive type of insurance, and you'll receive full cash value for any belongings that are lost or damaged. This will be the most expensive option, but it is recommended for those who have many expensive items that need to be moved and want the most security.

    The mover is responsible for the first part of the coverage, up to $0.60 per pound per article. Anything above that amount is then covered through the insurance company to meet the replacement cost of your item. You will be responsible for a deductible amount in the case of loss or damage.

  • Extraordinary value items require their own insurance. Movers are allowed to limit their liability to articles of extraordinary value, so you should identify all packed items which are considered as such. You should also tell your moving agent (in writing) that these items are contained in your shipment.

There are also alternatives when insuring your belongings for a move. You can purchase lump sum insurance (also called assessed value) which is similar to declared value protection. Instead of setting a per pound amount, you set it by value. This would be a good choice for people moving lots of high-value but light items.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on November 29, 2018

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