Keeping Your Belongings Safe: The Dos and Don’ts of Moving Insurance
By: Jamie Kreps
When you’re navigating the process of moving, you’ll find yourself faced with a lot of options. Whether it’s deciding what to pack and what to sell, hiring movers, or choosing the best neighborhood for your new home, moving is riddled with choices. But of all the things you will decide during the move, few are as important as those that will keep your belongings safe. We’re speaking, of course, of moving insurance.
“Moving insurance works basically the same way as auto insurance. Just like you can get into a fender bender no matter how good a driver you are, moving accidents can happen to even the most careful people.” – Move.org.
Also, just like car insurance, insuring your belongings during a move comes in many forms. Understanding the various levels of coverage can be a confusing task, making it difficult to decide what your best option is. To simplify the process, here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right moving insurance for you:
1 – Know the Moving Insurance Terms
First, as with all things, it’s important to understand the terminology used to in moving insurance options. Since professional movers cannot legally offer insurance directly, you need to know what they can offer. (And what they can’t.)
Under federal law, moving companies are required to offer some form of what’s known as valuation. This is not the same thing as moving insurance. In short, it’s a pre-determined rate of coverage for specific items if damaged during a move. There are different levels of this and it’s the most basic coverage you can have. The only way to understand what’s covered is to research the policies of the company you have hired.
2 – Know the Limitations
Once you understand the difference between valuation levels, be sure to ask questions regarding what’s not covered. In most cases, valuation will reimburse you a set amount if an item’s damage is caused specifically by the movers. However, there can be exceptions to this coverage – like if you packed your own boxes before they were moved. It’s important to fully understand the specifics of valuation before choosing this option.
3 – Speak to Your Insurance Agent
If valuation coverage leaves you feeling too unprotected, there are third-party options that can cover more. A good place to start is speaking with your current insurance agent to see what they may offer. Third-party insurance agencies can offer more thorough replacement options that cover most potential scenarios during a move.
“A key advantage in using moving insurance is that, unlike valuation, it doesn’t have liability limits on damaged items, and it covers things like natural disasters.” – move.org.
Your current auto or homeowner’s insurance agents will usually have highly inclusive coverage options. The down-side? Cost. You will most likely need to purchase additional moving insurance in order to cover your items during a move. Most homeowner’s policies only insure the items while they remain in the home – not during a move.
Overall, the best option for you will depend upon several criterion: budget, value, and risk factors to name a few. In order to determine how much insurance you need for your items, you’ll need to take stock of your belongings and weigh the options available. Speak to your movers to learn what they offer first. Then speak with third-party options to shop pricing and coverage. Knowing all your options is the best way to make the right moving insurance choice for you.