Moving insurance is simply insurance that provides coverage for damage or loss that occurs during a move. This coverage is provided by the moving company.
Depending on the type of coverage you have, what happens after a move goes wrong can vary greatly. With some types of moving insurance, you may get the full value of your possessions. With others, you may get as little as $0.60 per pound. Further, this is only if the moving company is directly involved in causing the damage.
What Types of Moving Insurance Are There?
The types of moving insurance available to you will depend on where you’re moving and how much your things are worth. For example, moving companies are only required by federal law to offer coverage for out-of-state moves. Moves within states may need to be covered according to state law, but more often than not no insurance or coverage needs to be provided for in-state moves.
Types of Out-of-State Moving Coverage
All types of coverage should include a bill of lading signed by the moving company and the customer or homeowner. This document should outline what the shipment weighs, in total, as well as any notable or high-value items. With full value protection, this may need to be a much more detailed list.
- Released Value Protection – All of your possessions are valued and covered at a rate of $0.60 per pound.
- Full Value Protection – Your possessions are valued at full value or a set rate per pound except for any itemized possessions. Items worth more than $100 per pound must be separately cataloged. This includes a valuation and a detailed description. Photos are also recommended for added security.
- Expanded Valuation Coverage – If the average of your possessions is much higher than $0.60 per pound, expanded valuation could make this per-pound valuation higher, depending on what the moving company is willing to offer.
- Additional Liability Insurance – Other types of coverage have a large range of what they will and will not do. Generally, the best additional moving insurance is offered with a homeowner’s insurance policy.
Types of In-State Moving Coverage
Any coverage that a moving company has to offer is decided by the State Mover’s Association within that state. Few states have these special regulations, but it’s worth asking to make sure you don’t accidentally pay more than you need to or double-up on coverage.
For all states without protections, and those with inadequate protections given the value of your belongings, you’ll need to purchase 3rd party moving insurance. This insurance will need to be purchased by you, not the moving company you hire, though they may be able to refer you to a local, reliable moving insurance company.
Occasionally, a homeowner’s insurance policy may offer some moving coverage. However, this coverage is often an add-on. If you have a current homeowner’s insurance policy and are looking to buy additional coverage for an in-state or out-of-state move, contact this insurance company first.
This add-on coverage is often less expensive and may even have no out-of-pocket charge. However, it will include a deductible.
What Are the Limits of Moving Insurance?
The federally-mandated types of moving coverage, not separate liability insurance, has a few major exceptions.
- “Acts of God” or Natural Disasters – If your possessions are damaged by one of these sets of circumstances, it’s unlikely you will receive compensation.
- 3rd Party Storage – If your things are stored at a storage facility that is unrelated to the moving company and your things are damaged there before, after, or during a move then you may not be covered for this damage.
- Boxes and Packages Packed by the Homeowner – If a box or package was packed by anyone not employed by the moving company, and the exterior of the package shows no obvious damage, then the moving company is not liable for damage inside of that box.
- Potential Theft, Loss, and Traffic Accidents – These may be exceptions to this type of coverage, but certain types of traffic accidents, theft of items or missing items not logged in writing are all things that may not be covered.
How Much Should Moving Insurance Cost?
As a general rule-of-thumb, coverage offered by a moving company or third-party insurance should only cost about 1% of the total value of your shipment, no matter how far your possessions need to travel. However, some policies add a deductible to this.
If you are looking to add a moving policy on to your homeowner’s insurance, you may not need to pay anything upfront, or your upfront cost will be less than 1% of the total value. However, your deductible may be higher. Further, the more insurance you want, and the higher the valuation you need, the more you can expect to pay.
For example, basic coverage of possessions valued at $20,000 could cost as little as $200 for released value protection (at .60 per pound). However, expanded valuation for $6 per pound may cost over $1,000. Full value protection, on the other hand, should cost about as much as released value protection, but you’ll need to inventory everything with a valuation of more than $100 per pound for full coverage.