Planning a move requires considering a host of different details. You need to set a date for the move, begin organizing your belongings, and arrange for the change of utilities and your mailing address, among dozens of other tasks. Besides these details, you want to ensure that your belongings are safe and protected during the move.
Even when your possessions are transported by an experienced moving company, there is always a risk that items can become damaged. Before you plan your next move, you should understand the importance of choosing the right type of moving insurance.
Overview of Basic Liability Coverage
In the United States, moving companies are liable for damages to any items that they are transporting. However, the amount of liability depends on the type of coverage you choose. Many homeowners are unaware of this fact and may not realize that their possessions are not fully covered in case of damage.
Every company that provides moving services offers two types of basic liability coverage. This includes full coverage and released value. Released value is included without extra charges, while full coverage requires an additional fee. Federal law requires moving companies to provide these two options.
Released Value Coverage
With released value, your belongings are partially covered in case of damage. This is generally included in your moving contract at no additional fee, as it decreases the amount that the moving company needs to pay if an item is destroyed or damaged.
Released value is based on the weight of the item. Released value coverage offers compensation up to 60 cents per pound. For example, the moving company damages a 20-pound coffee table during the move. In this situation, the moving company would be liable for $12 in damages ($0.60 x 20 = $12).
While you only receive a portion of the value, the payment may help you repair the damaged item. This type of coverage is appealing when you want to lower the cost of moving. However, you should also consider the benefits of full value coverage for your belongings.
Full Value Coverage
With full coverage, also called full value protection, your valuables are completely protected in case they are damaged. The moving company is responsible for compensating the full value of the damaged item.
Depending on the item that was damaged, the moving company may have several options for compensating the customer. They can pay to repair or replace the item. They also have the option to provide the full cash value of the item instead of repairing or replacing. Review the details of the contract to determine which option the moving company will choose if an item is damaged.
Recommendations Before Signing a Contract
Before you sign a contract and agree to the moving company’s terms, you need to fully understand the details of the agreement. This includes understanding your rights and responsibilities if an accident occurs during the move. These recommendations will help ensure that your belongings are protected in a way that you feel comfortable with.
Read the Entire Contract Before You Sign
The first recommendation is to thoroughly read the contract. You should never sign anything that you have not read from beginning to end. You also need to make sure that you agree with the terms of the contract and that there are no errors or miscommunications in the agreement.
Consider Getting Third-Party Insurance
The coverage options available through the moving company are not your only options. You may choose to get insurance through a third-party. You can look for insurance options through your homeowner’s insurance provider or through independent insurance companies. When considering these other options, you may find a solution that meets your needs and gives you peace of mind in knowing that your belongings are protected.
Some homeowner’s policies include coverage for damage to your property during the move. Depending on the policy, this may or may not include damage to your items. Always check with your provider to inquire about the policy and whether it includes moving cover.
When moving to a new home or location, you may choose to transport some of your items yourself. While this may reduce the cost of hiring a moving company, you also need to be aware that most homeowner’s policies do not cover items that you personally transport, even your policy covers items transported by a moving company.
Do Not Delay Your Moving Insurance Claims
If an item is damaged during the move and it was either fully or partially covered by insurance, you have a limited time to file your insurance claim. In most situations, you have nine months to file the claim before the time limit expires. When the time runs out, you no longer have the option of filing a claim to recover the costs of your damaged item.
Maintain a Moving Inventory List
Along with filing your claim before the deadline, you also need to prove that the moving company handled the damaged item. A moving inventory list that includes the damaged item should help support your insurance claim. Before the movers begin transporting any of your belongings, make sure that the inventory list is accurate and complete.
Hire a Dependable Moving Company
You can take steps to protect your belongings while moving, including choosing an insurance option. However, accidents can occur, even when the movers use extreme care. Besides choosing the right level of protection for your possessions, you should ensure that your items are in good hands. Always work with a dependable moving company that has a solid reputation.
Last Thoughts on Moving Insurance
Moving is often a stressful process. Hiring a moving company helps to eliminate some of the stress. However, you still have the stress related to the transport of your personal possessions. While choosing reliable movers may help reduce these worries, moving insurance is your best form of protection.
Before you sign a contract, make sure that you understand the liability of the moving company if an item is damaged or destroyed. You can choose between released value and full value coverage, depending on your needs and budget.