Moving is stressful enough without having to worry about your personal property’s journey from your old space to the new place. On most home, renters, and condo policies, your belongings are covered outside of your home, and that includes your move—whether down the street or across the country.
Damage caused by movers
While most homeowners and renters policies may cover your stuff during a move, you usually won’t be covered for any damage caused by movers—including packaging and transporting your belongings. However, your moving company offers the following options:
- Basic carrier liability: Mandated by federal law at no cost, basic liability protection means your moving company is on the hook for 60 cents per pound for each item. Unfortunately, this doesn’t afford you much coverage. For instance, if your 20-pound- dining room chair is damaged, you’d receive $12 (.60 x 20) in compensation.
- Full replacement value protection: If your item is damaged, destroyed or lost, your moving company is responsible for repairing or replacing it at the current market value. Full replacement protection is the default coverage at all moving companies and costs about 1% of what your belongings are worth. So if your belongings are valued at $100,000, you would pay $1,000 for full value protection.
- Separate liability insurance: For an extra cost, some movers will offer insurance that covers the difference between the required 60 cents per pound protection and the item’s full replacement value. Understand that some states don’t permit moving companies to sell insurance to their customers, so you’ll want to make sure your mover provides documentation of this policy if the coverage is offered through a third party.
Moving your own belongings
You’ll certainly save on moving expenses by taking on the heavy lifting by yourself or with friends, but you may not be covered against damaged items. You won’t have the basic liability protection that is guaranteed from a moving company, so find out how your home, renters, or condo insurer covers your stuff while in transit. Additionally, if you’re renting a moving truck or van, consider purchasing the optional collision damage waiver coverage from the truck rental company. You don’t want to be financially responsible for damages you cause to the moving truck, and your auto policy’s comprehensive and collision coverages usually won’t transfer to an oversized vehicle.
You usually won’t be covered for any damage caused by movers
Storage unit insurance
Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies will generally cover a percentage of your possessions while in storage units—anywhere in the world. The amount will vary by insurer and is usually around 10% of your personal property liability limit. For instance, if the personal property amount on your home or renters policy is $75,000, you would be covered up to $7,500 for your belongings in storage (keep in mind, a vehicle in storage will not be covered; you’d need to contact your auto insurer). If the amount provided by your home insurer isn’t nearly enough to protect what you have in your unit, you may want to purchase extra coverage from the storage company. It’s usually affordable at approximately $20 a month for $10,000 worth of coverage.