Do I need moving insurance?

The answer, under nearly all circumstances is yes. Moving your belongings is one of the top three greatest stressors of life, along with death and divorce.  We get more requests to help consumers after they’ve experienced a bad move than nearly any other purchasing experience, and it’s easy to state why: So many things can go wrong.  Here’s an explanation of why you need moving insurance.

Professional  moving companies are generally responsible for your belongings while in their custody, and there are two types of coverage. The one I almost always recommend is Full Value Protection.  If some or all your possessions are damaged or destroyed, your mover can choose to either repair, replace or offer a cash settlement for the cost of repair or replacement.  The cost of this insurance can vary from mover to mover and depends on the deductible you select.  A rule of thumb is that the cost will equal about 1 % of the value of your property.  If you’re trusting precious and/or expensive items to a mover, I highly recommend getting enough coverage to make you whole, or help you get over the emotional trauma of losing an item that can’t be replaced. 

The second most common form of insurance is also provided by the mover, and it’s known as Released Value Protection.  This coverage is included in your contract but only pays 60 cents per pound for an item or items. In other words, you’d only get a few bucks for your laptop if it weighs five pounds, not good!  The only time I would recommend this coverage is when you’re moving items that must be moved, but hold very little value, like second-hand furniture destined for a dorm room before it’s final stop at a landfill or recycling center.

You can also consider purchasing insurance from a third-party. Your mover is still responsible for released value protection, but this additional coverage pays the difference between the weight maximums and remainder of the loss up to policy limits.  

Now here’s some advice on making certain you’re covered.  Don’t try to trick the mover by packing something they’re not aware of and make certain everything you consider valuable is listed with the mover in writing. In this case, an ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of cure.

Finally, read your agreement and make certain you understand what’s not covered.  For example, your agreement may exclude damage caused by natural disasters, mechanical and electrical accidents. It may also exclude high value items such as jewelry or collectables. If you still don’t understand something, ask an expert in the field who doesn’t have a financial interest in your move to explain it to you. If you’re moving your life across the state or across the country, it’s worth hiring an attorney and paying for an hour of work their expertise to make certain you’re covered up to the comfort level you require.

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