Moving into a new house can be a very exciting time. You’re getting ready to establish your family at a new place, meet new people and form new memories. As you move from your old place to your new one, you hope that all of your possessions make it in one piece. But what if they don’t? Do you have insurance in place to protect you if your belongings are damaged while in transit?
Many moving companies provide coverage if they damage your goods while in the moving process but the coverage they provide can vary greatly. When you move from state to state, the movers must provide you with two options:
- Released value: Under this option, often offered at no additional charge, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per article. For example, if the mover damaged a 50-pound kitchen table valued at $1,000, you would receive only $30 in compensation (60 cents x 50 pounds).
- Full value protection: The mover is liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods. This plan is much more comprehensive than Released Value, but still has limitations. The mover can choose limits for damages to items of extraordinary value; this can be done on items whose value exceeds $100 per pound (such as antiques or china). You can specifically list these items on the shipping documents to avoid this limitation. The amount charged for this coverage varies by moving company and can be subject to deductibles.
You can also purchase moving insurance through:
- a third party. The amount you pay may vary depending upon the amount of insurance you are choosing and the history of the company that is moving you.
- a consumer affairs agency. If moving within your state, you should check with the state, county or local consumer affairs agency to see your state’s rules and regulations regarding moving companies and their obligations.
- your homeowner insurance. Another option that might be available to you is coverage through your homeowner insurance. Many home policies do provide coverage for items while in transit, but there may be limitations due to breakage of fragile items. Contact your local agent to find out if you have this coverage or to discuss other options that might be available to you.
When your items arrive at your new home, be sure to carefully check all of your belongings for damages and that everything has arrived. If you are concerned about any items, do not sign the inventory sheet verifying all of your items were transported properly.
If you think any items are missing and/or damaged, you will need to file a claim with the moving company. You have up to nine months after the move to file the claim to be eligible for compensation. If you purchased the third-party insurance, you will need to file a claim with them as well. You can also file a claim with your homeowner insurance company to see if they will cover the damaged/missing items.
Coverages described here are in the most general terms and are subject to actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact your independent agent.