It’s estimated that Americans move more than 11 times during their lives. During those moves, it’s important to be sure you choose the best moving insurance to cover costs if there are a few bumps along the way.
What Moving Insurance Covers
Ideally, moving insurance would cover the cost to replace all of your belongings without regard to how the items became damaged. However, there are different types of coverage, each of which provides a different level of protection for your things.
Interstate movers are required to offer two different types of valuation coverage:
- Full value protection, which provides for the repair or replacement of damaged items — typically between $4 to $6 per pound
- Released value protection, which is mandatory for interstate movers and provides coverage for $0.60 per pound (per item) for damaged items. In-state moves halve the coverage to $0.30 per pound, per item.
These types of protection are weight-based, which creates some obvious coverage limitations. Damage due to natural disasters usually isn’t covered.
Third-party moving insurance offers additional coverage options that can supplement the released value coverage that’s included with interstate movers. The best coverage is found with an all-risk policy, which covers all risks — except those specifically excluded by the policy. In most cases, all-risk coverage, as well as value protection options, are limited to items packed by the mover.
Other policy types exist, but in most cases, an all-risk policy is chosen if the consumer uses a third-party insurer. For example, a total loss policy provides coverage if everything is lost but does not cover individual items. A named-perils policy only covers the risks specifically named on the policy.
How Much Does Moving Insurance Cost?
Released value protection is included with the cost of your move at $0.30 to $0.60 per pound (per item). You may be disappointed if you need to make a claim. On the bright side, there’s no deductible for released value protection.
Full value protection, also offered by movers, typically costs about 1% of the valuation for the items being moved. If the total value of the items going on the truck is $50,000, you can expect to pay about $500 for full value protection.
Third-party insurance can range in price from 1% to 5% of the declared value of your belongings, depending on the insurer, the type of policy and the coverage options you choose.
What to Consider Before You Get a Policy
Like most types of insurance, moving insurance or value protection options have to be matched to your risk tolerance. Any losses not covered by the coverage type you choose is an out-of-pocket expense for you. The coverage agreement is a contract and exceptions to the contract are unlikely, so it’s important to choose wisely.
Here are several coverages provided by some of the best moving insurance policies:
Acts of God/Natural Disasters. Typically, you’ll find this coverage with named peril or all-risk policies.
Coverage for Pairs and Sets. This provision compensates you for the pair or entire set if one item from the pair or set is lost or damaged.
Mechanical or Electrical Derangement. Shipping your items can lead to loose wires or other difficult-to-spot damage.
Mold/Mildew Coverage. This may be a concern for moves across long distances or exposure to moisture.
Storage in Transit: This coverage protects your items if delays or timing require temporary warehousing.
Moth/Insect/Vermin Coverage. If your moving truck has furry stowaways or insects, this coverage can help protect your belongings.
Coverage for Collections. Similar to pairs and sets coverage, if one item from a collection is damaged, the whole collection may be less valuable. This coverage can help to cover the loss as it applies to the entire collection.
Large Affiliate Group. Many coverages only apply if your belongings are handled door-to-door by an approved affiliate.
The basic coverage provided by released value protection doesn’t cover most of the situations listed above. Even an all-risk policy may exclude some coverages.
These coverage concerns may be another reason to choose your coverage with care:
Total Loss Coverage. This type of coverage sounds better than it is for most consumers. Coverage is only available in the event of a catastrophe that destroys everything. Individual losses have no coverage with the exception of the minimal released value protection required by law. With some insurers, this is the only type of coverage you’ll be able to purchase if you move without a moving company. On the plus side, it’s inexpensive.
Coverage Only for Approved Affiliates. The fine print on some policies states that coverage only applies if the insured items remain in control of an approved company. This means you’ll have to pay the approved moving company to pack, load, and unload. For the coverage to be binding, you have to pay for some extra services.
Fully Insured or Bonded Verbiage. These terms may appear prominently in advertising copy. Working with a company that’s insured or bonded is desirable. However, your belongings aren’t insured unless you purchase specific coverage.
Co-insurance Requirements. Many insurers require that you insure your belongings to their full value. For example, if your belongings are worth $100,000 but you only purchase coverage for $50,000, expect your claim payout to be halved, less the deductible.
The Best Moving Insurance Companies
Ask your moving company about insurance options before you sign a contract to move your belongings. In many cases, moving coverage can be provided through a third-party affiliated with the movers and coverage options may be an important deciding factor between moving companies. Also, be aware that moving companies aren’t insurance agents or brokers, and options may be limited.
1. Relocation Insurance Group
2. Baker International
Baker is a respected moving insurance provider with a focus on all-risk policies. As their name suggests, Baker International can cover your belongings whether in the US or worldwide. Baker can even cover cars that are shipped with the same mover as your belongings. We priced out a policy with coverage for $50,000 using the quote tool on Baker’s website. With a $1,000 deductible, the quote came in at $501. Dropping the deductible to $250 brought the quote to $770. The company encourages consumers to contact an agent for an exact quote. As many families have some valuables, pricing is likely to vary slightly when you insure items over $5,000 or collections valued at over $500.
3. Lakeland Insurance
Pricing is reasonable with Lakeland with $50,000 in coverage available for $660. The deductible is fixed at $1,000. Lakeland provides online policy service with your insurance certificate delivered by email within one business day, which is great if you need fast coverage. Claims can also be handled by email and the company has a goal of resolving claims within 30 days. As with some other insurers, full coverage for your valuables can be tricky. Lakeland specifically excludes coverage for jewelry, furs, currency, and some other types of valuables. You may wish to transport jewelry or other small valuables yourself or make other arrangements.
A popular choice for Fortune 100 companies, many of UNIRISC’s coverage options are designed to accommodate relocation for corporate employees. To service a global economy and workforce, coverage doesn’t stop at the border and options are available for both domestic and international moves, and there’s even a coverage package designed for expatriates. Four claims offices help ensure prompt claims clearance, with an average claims clearance of 30 days. UNIRISC extends its policy coverage to mechanical/electrical items as well as high-value items and collections, all of which can be tricky to insure.
Your Homeowners Insurance Company
Check with your
Theft is a commonly covered peril for named-peril policies, but if the movers drop your new flatscreen down the steps, the damage wouldn’t fall under any of the policy’s named perils.
Homeowners insurance coverage limits may also be lower when your belongings are being transported or are in storage.
Reach out to your agent or insurer to find out if you have coverage during a move or if coverage can be added with a rider. You’ll need to contact your insurer anyway to arrange for a new policy or cancellation of the old policy. Don’t cancel too early; be sure you have a policy in place during the move.
Choosing the Best moving Insurance for Your Needs
If you’re using a moving company for your move, you’ll probably want full-value coverage at a minimum. Released value coverage is too close to not having coverage at all. Your home insurance policy may be another coverage option, but you’ll need to review your coverage with your agent. It’s likely that only certain risks are covered with a homeowners or renters insurance policy.
All-risk coverage can be costly, even when you compete with how much you might pay to insure your entire home (and belongings) for a whole year. Evaluate your choices carefully and choose the coverage that matches your ability to absorb any out-of-pocket loss.
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