Moving comes with a lot of expenses – you don't just have to put the money down to buy or rent your new home, you have to pay for everything from packing materials and movers to service fees for moving your utilities or turning them on with a new company. At first glance, moving insurance just seems like an extra expense that you could probably just skip to help you stay within your budget. But the fact is, there are a lot of things that can go wrong in-between packing at your old home and unpacking in your new home, and it's better to be prepared. Take a look at a few things you need to know about moving insurance.
Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Your Move?
If you're a homeowner, you probably already have insurance on your home, and on the contents within as well. And your homeowner's insurance actually does provide some limited protection for your possessions while you're moving. If your homeowner's insurance policy covers you for fire and theft, they'll probably pay if the moving truck catches on fire or is stolen with your household goods inside of it. The same goes for renter's insurance, if you have that.
The problem is, fire and theft aren't likely to be the causes of any losses or damages you sustain during a move. If you drop and damage your expensive sofa, that's probably not going to be covered. What you need is insurance that will cover damages incurred during handling.
Where Can You Get Moving Insurance?
One option is to purchase additional insurance from the same insurer you use for homeowner's and renter's insurance. You can ask for a special perils rider that will protect most of your items while they're in transit and while they're being handled by movers. If you have very fragile items, like antique pottery or sculptures, you might also need a fine arts rider that protects these items specifically. If they're very valuable, it's worth the extra money to protect them.
If you don't have homeowner's or renter's insurance, or you're not happy with what your insurer is offering, you can explore the options from the moving company that you're using. Moving companies usually offer two levels of insurance. The first is offered for free by law. It's called Released Value Protection. It will ensure that you receive some compensation for any losses, but the amount of protection is minimal. The carrier is only liable for $0.60 per pound per article. That means that if they damage a 40 pound item, you'll only receive about $24 regardless of the value of that item.
The other option is Full Value Protection, which covers the full cost of replacing or repairing any damaged items. This is the better choice if you have a number of valuable items you need to protect, but keep in mind that if the movers will be handling anything that is considered an item of extraordinary value – usually items valued at more than $100 per pound – you have to notify the moving company about the item in writing, or it won't be covered. Each moving company sets their own prices for this insurance, but you can generally expect to pay about $7.50 per $1,000 of value. However, your moving company may also require that you use their packing service if you choose the Full Value Protection insurance, which could mean an additional fee for that service.
What About DIY Moves?
If you're not hiring movers, but you're planning to rent a truck and drive it yourself, you can still insure your items for the trip. Rental truck coverage, offered by the rental truck company, offers protection against collision damage, fire, windstorms, or the truck overturning. It covers both the truck and your items within it.
If you need to make a claim on your rental truck insurance, you'll most likely have to pay a deductible first. You'll receive the actual cash value for your items, which means that your payment will be based on the depreciated value of your goods.
Don't dismiss moving insurance as an unnecessary expense without considering the ramifications of not having insurance. Even the best moving company can't prevent every possible mishap. Insurance can give you peace of mind and protect you in the event of unforeseen accidents.
Contact local moving companies to see what sort of insurance solutions they can offer or if they have alternate recommendations.