HomeHome InsuranceDo You Need Moving Insurance? U.S. News

Do You Need Moving Insurance? U.S. News

Key Takeaways:

  • Your homeowners policy may not cover your belongings while they are being packed or transported by professional movers.
  • The coverage offered by moving companies isn’t insurance and is not regulated by state insurance laws.
  • Federal law requires that professional movers offer you released-value and full-value coverage for your belongings. Released-value pays $0.60 per pound while full-value can pay up to $100 per pound. 
  • If you own collectibles or other high-value items, you may want to purchase third-party moving insurance that provides an increased level of protection for these possessions.

Moving insurance covers your belongings while they’re on the road, whether you are moving down the street or across the country, and whether you’re handling the move yourself or using a moving company. It is offered by insurance companies to provide coverage beyond what moving companies will provide.

Your homeowners or renters insurance may cover your belongings while they are in your home, in transit, or in storage. But it may not cover damage that happens while your belongings are being packed or handled by movers.

Moving companies will offer two types of protection; released-value protection (RVP) and full-value protection (FVP). Professional movers are required by federal law to offer them to consumers, but they are not technically insurance.

Movers may also offer moving insurance backed by third-party insurance companies. These moving insurance policies provide higher levels of coverage than what is offered by the moving company’s full-value protection. With this type of coverage, the moving company would be responsible for damages to your belongings up to 60 cents per pound with the insurance company covering the rest of the damage up to the policy’s coverage limits.

  • Released-value protection (RVP): also called basic carrier liability, this is required by federal law and costs you nothing. The mover offers this coverage and pays out on claims. It’s based on weight, and pays up to 60 cents per pound. That’s pretty minimal and provides very little coverage for items that may be light in weight but carry value (think your laptop, or grandma’s pearl necklace).
  • Full-value protection (FVP): this type of coverage is also required by federal law, and is offered by the mover, not an insurance company. Your estimate from the mover should automatically include the cost of this coverage, although you can waive it if you wish for a cheaper move. This insurance requires the mover to either repair or replace any item that is lost, destroyed or damaged while in the mover’s custody, up to $100 per pound. 
  • Separate third-party insurance: this is optional coverage offered by insurers, not your moving company, and governed by state law. If you waive the full value protection but still need coverage for pricey possessions, you can choose a third-party moving insurance policy. It may provide more protection for your belongings from natural disasters and other events outside the control of the movers.

If you’re using professional movers it may be worth considering. While the full-value and released-value coverage offer you some protection they may not provide all the coverage you want.

Released-value coverage offers protection limited to 60 cents per pound. Let’s say your mover drops and breaks a stereo system worth $2,000, which weighs 20 pounds. Your payout would be 0.6 multiplied by 20, or $12.

Full-value protection provides more robust coverage but increases the cost of your move. It will cover your property at a rate of up to $100 a pound, which would fully cover the 20-pound $2,000 stereo. As long as you don’t own any items of great value, such as artwork, fine jewelry, or other expensive-but-light objects, full-value protection may be a good choice to cover you for the move.

Third-party insurance can provide even more comprehensive coverage in the event that you do own expensive items or want coverage for a more extensive list of potential causes. This type of insurance can be purchased from regular insurance companies, not the mover, and provides full coverage of your property, no matter what the value, up to policy limits. This type of coverage is not the same as valuation coverage and is regulated by state and federal laws.

Before considering valuation and moving insurance speak with your insurance agent or company to see what your homeowners or renters insurance policy covers.

The cost of moving insurance will be determined by several factors including the amount of coverage you want and the insurance company.

The most basic moving protection, released value coverage, is free — it’s paid by the moving company and comes courtesy of federal law that stipulates it must be included in any moving contract.

The amount you pay for coverage other than that will be determined largely by the weight and value of your belongings. Full value protection is based on a valuation that you provide to the company, so it’s vital to do a thorough inventory of your possessions before you sign the contract so that you have adequate coverage.

Although the cost of this type of insurance will vary, it is likely to be roughly one percent of the estimated total cost of your move. There is usually a deductible, which is often between $500 and $1,000. This protection will pay out up to $100 per pound for your lost or damaged property.

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If any of your belongings are damaged during the move, the first step is to request a claim form from the moving company or your insurer, depending on the type of protection you have. You will complete this form, and submit it as directed. You have nine months from the move to submit your claim, so it pays to inventory your belongings after the move as quickly as possible so you can determine if there is any loss or damage.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that claims must be in writing, but they do not have to be submitted on the moving company’s claim form. If you are not happy with the settlement, your mover should have a dispute settlement program; alternatively, you could initiate legal action against them.

If you’re using professional movers your homeowners insurance policy may provide some limited coverage, depending on your policy’s restrictions. Some examples where you may be covered are if the moving truck is in an accident, catches fire, or your belongings are stolen while on the truck. Your homeowners policy may cover you in those situations. If you are moving yourself you may also be covered. Since every policy is different, however, it can be a good idea to contact your home insurer well before your move to determine in what circumstances your policy will cover you.

The type of coverage you purchase and the company you are working with will determine the coverage. Generally, full value protection insurance means that your mover will be held liable for the replacement value of the belongings you entrust them with during the period when your property is under their care, up to $100 a pound. Covered perils are likely to include theft, loss, fire, and other named perils (flooding, however, is a common exclusion). If your property is going to be in storage for any length of time, you may need additional storage insurance. Your moving policy or homeowners insurance may or may not cover off-premises storage.

Many truck rental agencies do provide some protection options. U-Haul, for example, offers several levels of coverage. The company’s Safemove coverage pays for damage and theft of the truck, damage to your belongings from collision, overturn, or fire, and medical/life protection for you and your family. Safemove Plus adds a higher level of liability coverage, up to one million dollars, with no deductible. These coverage options don’t cover pickup or van rentals, just moving trucks. You may also want to check with your car insurance company to see if your vehicle is covered while being towed by a moving truck. In many cases, it is not.

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At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Hospitals, Best Colleges, and Best Cars to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. Our 360 Reviews team draws on this same unbiased approach to rate the products that you use every day. To build our ratings, we researched homeowners insurance companies and insurance agencies and analyzed reviews from both professionals and consumers. Our 360 Reviews team does not take samples, gifts, or loans of products or services we review. All sample products provided for review are donated after review. In addition, we maintain a separate business team that has no influence over our methodology or recommendations.

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