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Moving insurance pays for repairs or replaces your property if it's damaged while being moved or transported by a moving company. Although you aren't legally obligated to buy moving insurance, it could be a great idea to invest in a policy if your are moving high-value items — especially since coverage isn't very expensive.
What does moving insurance cost?
The cost of moving insurance depends on whether you have released-value or full-value protection, or whether you decide to buy coverage from a third-party. Only third-party liability protection is actually a form of insurance. Released-value protection and full-value protection are provided by moving companies instead of insurers.
Both forms of protection are called valuations, not policies. Movers aren't licensed to sell insurance, so their valuations are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Since your regular homeowners or renters insurance doesn't protect your items from damage that occurs while movers are transporting your property, you'll have to calculate any moving insurance you purchase separately. Below are estimates for the rates of each type of moving insurance.
|Released value||Provided for free by moving company|
|Full value||1% to 2% of your property's value|
|Third party||$1.25 per pound|
*Rates may vary by company and location.
Should I get full-value or third-party coverage?
If you are trying to decide between getting full-value or third-party coverage, your best option depends on the weight and value of your items. Below are estimates for covering items that weigh 2,000 pounds and have a value of $50,000.
*Estimated rates for covering 2,000 pounds valued at $50,000.
Different types of moving insurance
As mentioned above, moving insurance comes in three forms: released-value protection, full-value protection and third-party liability protection.
Basic moving insurance: released-value protection
You don't need to pay an extra fee for released-value protection. Your moving company offers it for free, and you only have to request this coverage and sign a contract to activate it.
However, the coverage that released-value protection offers is not very extensive. This type of coverage only compensates you 60 cents for each pound of your damaged items. Imagine your 35-pound flat-screen television is worth $1,000 and is ruined by movers. Under released-value protection, the moving company will compensate you $21 for the damaged TV.
If you're worried about your property being damaged while it's in transit, it's a good idea to consider choosing another form of protection — especially if you're moving expensive items. But since released-value protection is free, you should consider activating it even if you don't think your items would cost very much to replace.
Upgraded moving insurance: full-value protection
If released-value moving insurance isn't enough to secure your belongings, moving companies typically offer full-value protection for a fee.
Typically, full-value protection costs 1% to 2% of your property's value — but this figure varies with different moving companies.
When you decide to purchase full-value protection, you'll have to calculate the worth of your belongings and itemize the property you want to insure.
Your movers will use this number to calculate the valuation's compensation limit. This limit works the same as a regular insurance policy. If your moving company is transporting $25,000 worth of your property, you'll have to pay $250 to $500, and coverage won't exceed $25,000 worth of damage.
If you suffer a loss, the moving company will pay to repair the damage, replace the item with a similar item or make a payout equal to the item's current market value.
Your full-value protection won't cover very expensive items, such as jewelry or antiques, and it also usually won't cover property that's worth more than $100 per pound. For example, say your bracelet weighs four ounces and costs thousands of dollars. It would be excluded from coverage because it's too valuable.
Third-party moving insurance
If you already have released-value protection, you can supplement your moving insurance by purchasing a third-party insurance policy. This type of coverage is a form of liability insurance. With this coverage, your moving company will still compensate you for up to 60 cents per pound of damaged property.
Working with an insurer, the moving company will use this policy to make up the difference up to the limit of your policy.
Typically, the cost of third-party moving insurance depends on the amount of property you're transporting and how far you plan to move. Often, companies weigh your property and charge a fee of $1.25 multiplied by its weight. For example, insuring 1,000 pounds of property will cost you $1,250.
Each moving company calculates the cost of this coverage differently, but you can help yourself know how much your items are worth by keeping an inventory as you pack. Assess your property's worth and use that figure as a starting point when discussing the coverage and cost of a third-party moving insurance policy with your mover.
Again, it's important to remember that expensive items such as jewelry won't be covered. Your coverage can also be determined by how your items were packed — as well as who packed them. For instance, your policy may only apply to boxes that you haven't packed yourself.
Moving insurance companies
When searching for moving insurance, it is important to choose a company with a good reputation that has ideally been around for a long time. You also want to make sure they offer policies that cover the full value of the items you are moving.
While it's important to choose a company with competitive prices, it's equally important to find a company with good customer service. Here are the top moving insurance companies that are consistently responsive to consumer feedback, an important characteristic, which is indicated by each having an A+ BBB rating.
- Baker International
- Lakeland Insurance
- Vanliner Insurance Company
Do I need moving insurance?
Moving insurance isn't required by law or by movers, but you should have enough insurance to protect yourself if your property is damaged. For inexpensive or replaceable items, the coverage that comes free with any Department of Transportation-certified mover could be the best option.
Should I buy moving insurance?
Since released-value protection only provides limited protection, you should consider buying moving insurance if you're moving a considerable amount of property that includes expensive or rare items. You will be able to find the most extensive coverage plan through a third-party moving insurance company.
If you're moving your items yourself, your existing homeowners or renters insurance policy might give you some coverage. If this is the case, you could get floaters and endorsements for valuable items. You could also increase your coverage to secure against any perils, as long as your policy does not specifically exclude in-transit coverage.