You've signed the papers for your new home. You've even got a moving company to help take care of the whole move. Now you just have to wait for the big day and move in, right? Wrong. There is one major detail you may not have even considered, or have even known about -- deciding what type of moving insurance to purchase.
You may believe that your moving company or homeowner's policy will take care of any problems if something should happen to your belongings in transit. But sadly, chances are you will not be covered for the full value of your items. That is where moving insurance comes in.
What are the types of moving insurance?
There are three types of moving insurance:
- Basic carrier liability
- Declared value protection
- Full replacement liability
Moving insurance is just what it sounds like -- insurance that will cover your items should something happen to them in transit. The coverage offered by your moving company will typically cover only $0.30 to $0.60 per pound, depending upon whether the move is intrastate or out of state. This will leave you with a pretty significant gap in coverage. However, not all moving insurance will cover the actual replacement cost of your items.
For example, your huge antique dining room table that weighs 100 pounds would not be covered for its full value if you purchase insurance from your movers. If it is damaged in the move, the coverage you will receive through the moving company will reimburse you for $30, even though the table is worth $1,200.
TIP: To select the type of moving insurance that is best for your household, consider the value of the items that you're moving.
The lowest coverage is basic carrier liability
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.
You will not receive full coverage for damaged goods with basic carrier liability. Basic carrier liability is known as the "released value" and is limited to $0.30 (intrastate) or $0.60 (interstate) per pound per article. Check with your mover on what the minimum liability is for your state. With this coverage, a 20-pound item that would cost you $1,000 to replace (like a TV) would only recoup you $6 for an interstate move and $12 for out-of-state.
Declared value protection is a mid-level coverage
Declared value protection differs from basic carrier liability, because the amount due to you if something is lost or damaged is based on the depreciated value of that item. Your entire shipment is given a dollar amount (declared by the customer). Declaring the value of your goods allows the insurance company to have a record of how much your belongings cost. Then, there is an additional charge of $1.25 times the weight of your shipment. For example, if your entire shipment weighs 8,000 pounds, your mover is liable for up to $10,000.
With this plan, the mover is able to charge you $7 for each $1,000 of liability, and the charge of $70 will be added to your bill under additional liability. When using this type of coverage, that same 20-pound television we mentioned earlier could collect full value if it was damaged. While you may have to pay a bit more money for this type of coverage, your belongings would be protected.
Full replacement liability is comprehensive insurance
Full replacement liability is the most inclusive type of liability, and you'll receive full cash value for any belongings that are lost or damaged. If you have a truck full of high-end items that would exceed the $1.25 per pound liability, you may want to think about purchasing full replacement liability. 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. For Full Replacement Liability, you will be looking at a minimum charge of between $3.50-$4.50 times the weight of your shipment. Since this type of coverage comes with a deductible, you will be responsible for that deductible amount in the case of repairs or loss. This deductible amount is just like any other insurance; it can be $100, $250 or $500.
Extraordinary value items are covered differently
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.
- Extraordinary value is anything valued at more than $100 per pound per article
- Your mover will provide you with the explanation of this liability before you move
- If you do choose to include such items, a High Value Inventory sheet has to be completed and signed before your move.
- If you need to make a claim, the settlement is limited to whatever amount you declared for the entire shipment
If you do not list all items of extraordinary value or fail to sign the inventory sheet, liability is limited to no more than $100 per pound per article. Therefor, it is recommended that you transport such items when at all possible in your own vehicle rather than in a moving truck.
Items that may be considered extraordinary value items:
- Antiques, crystal, precious stones or Gems
- Art collections, currency, silver and silverware
- Cameras, video cameras
- Computer equipment, software
- Furs, oriental rugs
The type of moving insurance you may need will vary with each person. Completing an inventory of your belongings before you move is important, not only to decide which type of insurance is best for you, but also to have record of what you own -- should any items be lost.
TIP: Most insurance policies have a 30-day claim period, so be sure to check your items thoroughly when you unpack.
Movers.com offers many tips for everything you need to make a successful move, from start to finish. Be sure to check out our other moving guides to help you as you make this transition to your new life!