Moving is stressful enough without having to worry about insurance coverage for the move. There are several options, but which one is right for you?
Before considering this, ask yourself a few questions:
- What is the overall value of your items?
- Do you have individual items of great value?
- Are you moving within state or out of state? This is important because your options for recouping damages may be covered either by state or federal law.
- What level of risk are you comfortable with?
- How much can you afford to pay for moving insurance?
- Does your existing insurance cover the move? Some homeowner's or renter's policies contain moving coverage.
The moving company you hire is liable for any damages incurred during the move, but there are different levels of liability—and remember that liability is not insurance.
First, see if your moving company is registered with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). This agency and their regulations protect consumers during interstate moves and define the rights and responsibilities of all parties. Their SAFER (Safety And Fitness Electronic Records) system provides quick verification. Moves within a state are covered by state regulations and agencies, but if your carrier is registered on a federal level they have probably taken care of state responsibilities as well.
The following rules cover interstate moves, but individual states don't stray far from these regulations. It's still wise to contact your state agency and insurance company to verify options for in-state moves.
Liability for movers may be either Full Value Protection or Waiver of Full Value Protection. Waiver of full protection is the economical method, assuming liability for up a maximum of $0.60/pound of shipping weight. Full Value Protection is as it sounds—damaged or lost articles are either repaired to the original state or replaced with a similar article—although the mover has the option for which path to take. The minimum level for determining full value is $6 per pound times the weight of shipment. Your costs for the Full Value Protection will be incorporated in your moving quote, so have that cost broken out in the quote for a proper comparison with outside insurance options.
For high value items like jewelry or antiques, you can declare them as Items of Extraordinary Value for extra coverage. They must be listed individually and have a worth of $100 per pound or greater. The extra cost will be reflected in your quote.
Some states allow third party cargo insurance to be purchased through the mover, but most ban the practice. In states where this is allowed, the mover is required to give you a copy of the policy at the time of purchase.
If you decide to go with insurance to supplement basic movers liability, there are several options available. The average quoted cost is usually less than 1.5% of the goods. Typically, full replacement value policies are either valued inventory or lump sum.
Valued inventory covers both interstate and intrastate moves and is based on a comprehensive list of items, valued at replacement cost at the destination. Lump sum covers the total declared value. While it isn't necessary to list all items, it is necessary to list high value items individually and insure the total for at least $8 times the total shipment weight.
As a final check, verify who has jurisdiction over disputes. In general, interstate moves by moving companies are covered through arbitration, and interstate moves and insurance company disputes are covered by state laws. Please verify what applies to your individual situation.