Do I Need Moving Insurance?

Do I Need Moving Insurance?

Moving to a new home is often an exciting prospect, so it’s no surprise that people don’t want to think about the damages that may happen to their belongings when they hire moving companies. However, you should definitely consider moving insurance before your move because many homeowners and renters insurance policies don’t cover the cost of damage to your items during a move. 

Accidents can happen, even with the best preparation and packing, so a moving insurance policy can give you peace of mind that your belongings are covered. 

In this piece on moving insurance, we’ll cover the following: 

  • What is moving insurance?
  • What is valuation?
  • What is third-party insurance?
  • How much is moving insurance?
  • FAQs about moving insurance

What is Moving Insurance?

Moving insurance is an insurance policy that covers and protects your belongings should they get damaged during the moving process. Moving accidents can happen to anyone, even with extra care or professionals moving your items. Long-distance moves are especially dangerous to your personal belongings.  

Moving insurance will cover and pay for repairs for items damaged during your move and lost possessions during a move. This type of coverage can also protect you against theft should there be any problems with missing items if you have a moving company helping you move.  

There are three primary types of moving insurance coverage options: 

  • Value protection: Value protection insurance is the most basic form of moving insurance and offers the minimum coverage available. It will not cover the full market value of your items. It also doesn’t include repairs or replacements. This coverage is usually up to $0.60 per item. The primary benefit of this type of moving insurance is that there is usually no additional cost on top of what you’re paying the moving company. 
  • Full-value protection: Full-value protection is much more comprehensive than value protection because it provides complete coverage of all your items. You can also make claims for total replacement values and repairs or ask for cash equal to the item’s market value. However, full-value protection will not provide you with sufficient protection if your things are worth more than $100 per pound. So, if you have expensive jewelry or other high-value items, this may not be enough coverage for you. Another downside is that this is an additional cost on top of the moving company’s fee, and you usually have to value your items yourself. 
  • Third-party insurance: Third-party insurance is the most full-coverage moving insurance option. With it, you have full coverage for all your items, including repairs, replacements, and cash settlements equal to an item’s market value. This type of insurance also protects you against natural disaster damage and will cover high-cost items worth more than $100 per pound. However, third-party insurance will be the most costly moving insurance option and will be an additional insurance cost on top of your moving fees. 

What is Valuation?

Valuation is a term that can be confused with insurance. However, there is a distinct difference between the two. 

Insurance will always be provided by a third party, so your moving company cannot offer insurance. However, they can provide valuation, which is the degree of liability they will take on if your personal belongings are damaged while in transit. Valuation coverage is much more limited than insurance and won’t be enough to cover the costs of replacing high-value items. Typically, a company will provide you with reimbursement for your damaged item if it’s covered under valuation terms. 

Valuation can also refer to the process where you value your items. This may happen if a moving company asks you to estimate the value of the things they’re moving for you, which may be used later on to reimburse you if any items are damaged or lost in the moving process. 

Do Moving Companies Offer Valuation?

All moving companies are required by federal law to offer some type of valuation option. However, the type of valuation offered varies, and you may need additional coverage depending on your situation and the value of your belongings. 

If they do offer valuation, you’ll want to ask for more details about what kind of valuation they offer.

Released value protection is a basic coverage option provided by a moving company that offers the bare minimum in protection. It’s usually included in interstate and intrastate moves. The reimbursement rate will differ depending on the type of move. Intrastate movers typically only cover $0.30 per pound per item, while interstate movers usually cover up to $0.60 per pound per item. 

While this may sound pretty good, it may not be enough for your high-value items, such as a TV. The average TV set weighs around 28 pounds. If your TV were broken during an interstate move, you would only be reimbursed $16.80. If the same TV were damaged during an intrastate move, you’d only receive $8.40. 

With basic coverage, your high-value items are unlikely to receive enough coverage to give you peace of mind. This leaves you with the options of full-value protection valuation or third-party insurance. 

Full-value Protection

Some moving companies offer full-value protection for an additional charge. It’s still not as comprehensive as third-party moving insurance, but it does provide extra coverage. 

Full-value protection makes moving companies liable for the current market value of your items. You can also choose from multiple solutions if your item is broken during the move.

You can ask for your item to be repaired, replaced with a similar item, or to be given a cash settlement for the current market value the item has. Keep in mind that the cash settlement option may not be ideal for older models, such as an older TV, which may have depreciated since you bought it. 

You’ll also want to consider that many moving companies won’t replace or fully cover the costs of items that are “of extraordinary value,” which is usually defined as items worth $100 per pound or more. So, you may only receive a partial cash settlement for what your item is worth if a high-value item is damaged. If you have many high-value items, consider third-party value coverage insurance. 

Valuation Exclusions

Valuation is also limited by things that are beyond the control of the movers, such as natural disasters. They may also restrict their liability for other reasons. Here are a couple of examples: 

  • If you didn’t give the moving company written confirmation that certain items had an extraordinary monetary value.
  • If you packed your own belongings and items, rather than having the movers do it for you. This may put you at risk of liability if something is deemed to be “poorly packed.”
  • If you don’t report damaged or lost belongings shortly after the move is complete. Each moving company will have its own window for this, with the industry standard being about nine months to report lost or damaged items. 
  • If you packed hazardous materials without letting the moving company know, such as explosives, batteries, or chemicals. 

Third-party insurance has fewer liability coverage limits on damaged items and will cover things like natural disasters. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of third-party moving insurance. 

What Is Third-party Insurance?

Moving companies cannot sell moving insurance themselves, only valuation policies. So, if you want truly comprehensive moving insurance, you’ll need to seek out a third-party insurance provider to purchase the additional insurance policy. 

Start by checking with your current homeowners or renters insurance policy to see if you have any recent coverage for moves. These policies don’t commonly offer moving protection, but you don’t want to end up overpaying for the same coverage on the slight chance that your policy does. 

If you aren’t covered by your renters or homeowners insurance policy, research third-party insurance companies for moving insurance options. Most moving insurance options will build off the existing valuation coverage provided by the moving company. For example, suppose your moving company covers you for $0.30 per pound. In that case, the third-party insurance policy may cover you for an additional $0.70 per pound to make you reach a dollar in total coverage per pound. 

You can also select certain insurance policies for your high-value items, such as jewelry, artwork, electronics, and more, so you can have peace of mind knowing that these will be adequately covered should they be damaged or lost in the move. 

Another critical benefit of third-party insurance is that it usually covers the following: 

  • Mold and mildew
  • Natural disasters
  • Moths and insects
  • Temporary storage damages
  • Mechanical and electrical accidents
  • Damage to only one part of a set or collection of items

Valuation policies typically won’t cover these damages, making third-party insurance worth it for many homeowners moving their valuables

How Much is Moving Insurance?

Third-party moving insurance can be costly, but it’s ideal for high-value items. 

Consumer Affairs estimates that the cost of insurance for a group of items worth $5,000 at a 3% valuation rate would cost you $150. Most policies range between 1% to 5% valuation. Other estimates include paying around $1.25 per pound for your items, but this will vary depending on the company and policy. 

While this may seem like a lot of money, consider the alternative of needing to replace large, expensive furniture, electronics, or valuable items that may cost thousands of dollars. 

Do I Really Need Moving Insurance?

After all this, you may be wondering if you really need moving insurance. Is it worth the extra money, especially when you’re already putting so much time and money into your move?

Generally speaking, yes. Moving insurance is worth it. Third-party insurance will give you so much more protection if any of your items are damaged and more options for having the items repaired, replaced, or settled with cash. It also covers more situations, like mold, mildew, insects, and natural disasters that can damage your belongings during the move. 

While it can be tempting to try and save money, replacing your valuable items will cost you far more money than the insurance itself. Give yourself one less thing to worry about by investing in insurance and protecting your belongings. 

If third-party insurance is out of your budget, consider full-value protection through the moving company. It’s less expensive than third-party insurance but will give you more coverage for your belongings. 

Final Thoughts

Moving insurance is a personal decision, but it’s widely recommended. Even if you decide to move your most valuable possessions yourself, remember that your car’s collision coverage will typically not cover valuable possessions in the case of a collision. 

Protect yourself and your belongings by investing in full-value protection or third-party insurance to give yourself peace of mind that your items will be replaced, repaired, or paid for if they are damaged during the move. 

FAQs About Moving Insurance

How Do I Insure My Belongings When I Move?

If you choose to move your belongings yourself, you may have some coverage through your homeowners or renters insurance policy if you’re moving them in a moving truck, rental truck, or your own vehicle. However, this coverage is typically limited and definitely not sufficient to cover high-value items, such as your electronics, precious jewelry, artwork, or expensive furniture. Look into third-party moving insurance policies which will give you the most comprehensive coverage. Otherwise, you may be able to choose a full-value protection valuation policy through your moving company. 

Are Moving Companies Always Responsible for Damages to My Belongings?

No, moving companies are not always responsible for damages to your belongings. Depending on the valuation policy you choose with them, you may only be covered up to $0.30 per pound for your belongings, which doesn’t equate to much, especially considering how lightweight many expensive items, such as electronics or jewelry, are. If possible, choose a full-value protection plan with your moving company or, ideally, a third-party moving insurance policy for maximum protection. 

Is Transit Valuation the Same as Moving Insurance?

No, transit valuation is not the same as moving insurance because it won’t cover the total cost or market value of your belongings during the move. Moving insurance is far more extensive and will cover the full market value of your items, as well as other situations that may damage your items. These situations may include mold, insect damage, mildew, natural disasters, and collisions. 

What Protection Do Moving Companies Offer?

All moving companies offer a minimum released value protection, which is typically free or included with your moving fee. However, this type of valuation is much less comprehensive than third-party moving insurance or full-value protection. You may be able to choose a full-value protection plan with your insurance company for additional security. 

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