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Do I Really Need Moving Insurance?

Moving is exhausting. When a moving company sends you the contract, they'll probably inform you that their service includes insurance that will cover you in the event of damage during the trip. If you read the fine print, that coverage may not protect all of your belongings and you may need additional moving insurance to safeguard your stuff.

What Is Moving Insurance?

If you've never heard the term before, you can buy moving insurance to give you coverage beyond what is included in your moving company's liability limits. Most consumers don't realize that the moving company likely has to pay a minimal amount if there is a catastrophe during the moving process. If your possessions suffer harm during the move, the company you employ must pay "valuation." It's an industry term that means a predetermined liability limit. Virtually all moving companies include valuation coverage with their base pricing model when they provide quotes for their services. If you're too rushed to read the fine print of the contract, ask your mover for an explanation.  

Why Do You Need Moving Insurance? 

Moving insurance is the coverage you get to protect yourself if the damage incurred exceeds the valuation limit. Since moving is already so expensive, many people don't purchase moving insurance. That's an upside down perspective. If you're already investing in a move, you should view protecting your belongings with moving insurance as the cost of doing business. A lot of people don't buy moving insurance because they believe that they're already covered. Here are a few reasons this isn't true. In the case of the moving experience itself, most contracts negate the liability of the movers during transit. This tactic prevents movers from having to pay for broken lamps and the like. It has far-reaching implications, though. If the movers don't pack something carefully and it breaks, you're out of luck. Similarly, if you pack yourself, there are coverage loopholes that fully eliminate the responsibility of the moving company. 

Other Coverage Myths 

Many consumers believe that homeowners insurance will cover them on moving day. That's only partially true. Your policy may provide coverage, but it won't address your full damage, even if you employ a professional moving company. Instead, it's for a small amount, probably 15 percent or less. Note that few policies will cover anything if you perform the move with your own vehicle. Also, some homeowners policies specifically rule out moving protection. You'll need to check the details of your contract to know the specifics. Whatever they are, homeowners insurance won't provide enough coverage for your needs. Finally, if your company is paying for your move, don't consider yourself covered. Since your employer handles all the details, you may think they're taking care of the protection of your personal belongings. That's not guaranteed and probably not even true. You'll want to research the situation and, in all likelihood, purchase your own coverage. 

What Types of Coverage Are There? 

Complete value protection is the best type of valuation coverage. Even it has limits, though. The insurer will protect minimum coverage amounts, and there's usually a deductible. Plus, it's up to the discretion of the moving company how they replace or reimburse you for your items. They'll choose whatever is cheapest for them, which will never prove beneficial to you.   Also note that many moving companies don't offer complete value protection due to the expense. If you want this type of coverage, you may need to find it on your own. Instead, they're likely to offer declared value coverage based on weight, although you can request assessed value coverage, too. Declared value protection is exactly what it sounds like. The mover notes the total weight of your goods, and then they multiply it by a set amount such as $0.60 per pound. No matter what happens next, the most you can receive if your cargo is damaged in transit is the calculated amount. The insurer simply pays by the pound. Assessed value coverage is a better choice if you have a lot of small items of great value such as jewelry and electronics. You can determine a set amount for the worth of your goods and buy a premium based on this estimate. Note that you'll have to declare the amount in writing with a bill of lading. Purchasing moving insurance is almost always a good idea, as long as you can afford it. Your personal belongings are not only your favorite keepsakes but also a great deal of your total wealth. You can't risk losing everything by skimping on coverage. If your items suffer damage during the move, you need to know that you'll be reimbursed for your losses.


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