How Insure Your Move - accidents happen

For many people, moving day means handling everyday goods and possessions and also putting precious objects at risk for damages or even total loss. This is one of the main reasons for making sure that there is insurance in place during a moving process.


Insurance is available both for those performing a “self-service” move as well as those using the comprehensive services of a professional moving company. It does require a bit of attention to such items as contracts and “bills of lading”, but it is well worth the time and energy in order to protect valuable items.


When working with a professional moving company it is best to have several companies make estimates on the total job before selecting the one to be hired. During the interview process it is a good idea to inquire about conflict resolution and the claims process. Not all companies have the greatest policies around such issues, and it is probably a good idea to work only with those that recognize the simple fact that “accidents happen”, and who are willing to take on the liability.


All moving companies are obliged to provide a standard coverage, usually called “valuation”. This means that a limit of total liability is placed on the contents of the home, and the moving company is contracting with their client for that amount only. This figure will appear on the contract and the “bill of lading” which is a detailed account of the entire job. Valuation is provided by the moving company at no cost to their client, but if further coverage is desired most make it available for purchase.


Such coverage is usually available in three forms, “full replacement value coverage”, “assessed value coverage”, and “declared value coverage”. For those looking for the most comprehensive protection, the full replacement value coverage is the way to go. This will be a bit costly but provides for full financial compensation for damages or loss of any of the goods in transit, and provides the sum capable of replacing the damaged property.


Assessed value coverage provides a fixed sum for the value of the entire shipment and is usually purchased per one thousand dollars in value. Finally, declared value coverage is based on the weight of the household goods and requires a per pound payment, for example a ten thousand pound cargo is insured for three dollars a pound, meaning that the moving company is liable for thirty thousand dollars in coverage against any damages or loss.


Both the full and self-service movers are able to purchase a final bit of insurance, either through their own insurance company or through the moving company, and this is “transit” insurance, which provides coverage on the cargo should it suffer damages due to accident or on the part of the moving company while the load is being transported to its new destination. This usually does not cover any damages due to weather or natural disaster.


Anyone utilizing a storage facility during their moving process should also consider a policy on the contents while in the storage unit. Most storage companies do not provide coverage to damages or loss and the policies are usually quite reasonable.


Finally, it is a wise idea to perform a personal inventory of all household goods prior to packing and moving, and any especially valuable items should be documented and discussed with an insurance company prior to moving in case of damage or loss.