What is Moving Insurance? How Much Does it Cost?

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Moving insurance pays you if your stuff is damaged, lost or stolen while you move.

You don't have to buy moving insurance, but it can be a good idea if you hire movers, are moving long-distance or have expensive items to move.

Moving insurance if you hire a moving company

Moving insurance isn't required when you hire movers, but it can give you peace of mind if your possessions are damaged. After all, someone else will be handling your personal belongings, so it can be a good idea to make sure your stuff is covered.

What does movers insurance cover?

If you get insurance from a moving company, you'll have three options.

  • Released-value: This coverage is free, but it will only pay up to 60 cents per pound for each item. So if you have a 100-pound custom coffee table that gets broken by a moving company, you will only get up to $60 for damages, even if the table is worth $1,300.
  • Full-value: This option pays the full value to replace your damaged items. It comes with a fee, and it's usually the standard moving insurance option.
  • Third-party liability: This is extra coverage you can buy on top of released-value protection. If something happens to your items, the moving company and an insurance company will both pay you for the damage.

Released-value and full-value coverage aren't technically insurance policies, because movers aren't licensed to sell insurance. Instead, they are called "valuations," but they still basically work like an insurance policy. If you're moving to a new state, federal law requires that movers offer you both released-value and full-value. Most movers also give you both options if you're moving within your state.

You should also talk to your insurance agent to see what kind of coverage your homeowners, condo or renters insurance gives you. Even if you aren't moving yourself, your property insurance could give you some coverage.

Basic moving insurance: Released-value protection

Released-value protection is a good option if you can't afford any other type of coverage. It's free, but it won't pay much if your stuff is damaged.

Released-value coverage only pays you up to 60 cents for each pound of your damaged items. Imagine your 35-pound flat-screen television is worth $1,000 and is ruined by the movers. If you only have released-value protection, the moving company will compensate you $21 for the damaged TV.


If you're worried about your property being damaged during your move, you probably shouldn't rely on the free released-value protection since it doesn't give you much coverage. But because it is free, consider activating it. Even if you have expensive items — or if the opposite is true and you don't think your items would cost much to replace — released-value protection gives you some coverage at no cost.

Upgraded moving insurance: Full-value protection

Full-value protection covers your items for their full replacement value. This means if something is damaged or destroyed, you'll get the cost to replace the item with a new one.

If you decide to buy full-value protection, you have to calculate the value of your items. You'll list out each item and assign a value to it. Your protection will then have a total value, like $25,000 or $50,000, depending on the total value of your items.

The protection works the same as a regular insurance policy. If your moving company is transporting $25,000 worth of your property, that's the highest amount you'll be paid if there is damage to your items. You could also have per-item limits on more expensive belongings. The moving company could choose to repair your damaged item, replace it or pay you for the value.

Your full-value protection likely 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 you have a bracelet that weighs four ounces and costs $3,000. It could be excluded from coverage because it's too valuable.

Third-party moving insurance

This is a type of coverage you can only buy if you go with released-value protection. You buy this from an insurance company, and then the company works with the movers to pay for your damage. The moving company will pay for its share under the released-value contract, and the insurance company pays the rest.


The cost of third-party moving insurance usually depends on the amount of property you're transporting and how far you plan to move. Each moving company calculates the cost of this coverage differently, but it's probably a good idea to keep a list of your items and their values as you pack.

As with other types of coverage, expensive items such as jewelry might not be covered. Your coverage can also be determined by how your items were packed and who packed them. For example, your policy may only apply to boxes that you haven't packed yourself.

How much is moving insurance?

Released-value protection is free and full-value protection can cost around 1% to 2% of your property's value.

The cost for moving insurance can change depending on several factors.

  • The moving company you choose
  • What kinds of items you have
  • How much your property weighs
  • How much your property is worth
  • How your items are packed

Third-party liability rates vary as well, and can depend on how an insurance company rates its plans.

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To get a quote for moving insurance, you likely have to set up an account with a mover and get a quote for your entire move. Moving companies only offer coverage when you move with them, which means the insurance comes along with the cost of your move. Rates vary between companies and could depend on when, how much and how far you are moving.

Moving insurance companies

Some of the biggest moving companies in the country include American Van Lines, Mayflower and United Van Lines. 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.

Choosing a company with cheap prices is a priority for many, but it's equally important to find a company with good customer service. That way, if something does happen with your items, it's more likely that the moving company will handle the situation well. These large moving companies are good options for customer servicing. Each one has an A+ or higher rating on Better Business Bureau (BBB), which means they make an effort to communicate with customers and resolve issues.

  • Allied Van Lines
  • JK Moving
  • North American Van Lines
  • Safeway Moving

Many moving companies are local businesses, so your options will vary based on where you are. You can get a sense of how good a mover's customer service is by looking at BBB ratings and talking with people who have used the mover before.

Trip transit coverage

Another coverage you could consider, whether you are moving yourself or hiring movers, is trip transit coverage. This policy is specifically for covering items while they are being moved. You can cover the full value of your belongings or get a policy for just the extra that a mover won't cover. These policies aren't very common, but they can be useful if you don't have enough coverage with the other options. You'll need to talk to an insurance agent to buy this type of policy.

Moving insurance if you move yourself

If you are moving by yourself without the help of a moving company, you won't have the same coverage options. But that doesn't mean you can't get coverage. There are still ways to protect your belongings before, during and after your move. But you'll need to have a home, condo or renters insurance policy in place or buy one.

What does moving insurance cover?

When you move yourself, the coverage for your belongings comes from your home, condo or renters insurance policy. Even if you move your items in your car, your car insurance doesn't cover them. There are three types of coverage you should consider.

Special perils contents coverage

This coverage means your home, condo or renters policy covers your personal belongings for everything except specific types of damage mentioned in your policy. This means you have coverage for more types of damage.

The biggest perk of special perils contents coverage is that it covers when your stuff breaks. When you're moving, your items could be more easily broken. Breakage isn't covered for fragile items, though. For those, consider a personal articles floater or policy.

Personal articles coverage

Personal articles coverage is designed to cover unique or high-value items. The most common type of coverage is for jewelry, but fine art, sculptures, vases, guns and collectible items can all be insured this way.

With personal articles coverage, you'll list each high-value belonging specifically on your insurance policy and assign it a value. If it's damaged, lost or stolen, you'll be paid out up to the insured value. Insuring your expensive items this way gives you better coverage. This type of coverage is usually an add-on to your home, condo or renters insurance policy, but it is sometimes a separate policy.

Moving truck coverage

If you rent a moving truck, you should ask the rental company about the insurance they offer. Depending on the size of the truck you rent and your car insurance coverage, your policy might transfer coverage to a rental vehicle. But it's not a guarantee. And the coverage that a truck rental company offers might help you pay less if you cause an accident, because it could have higher limits and lower deductibles than your policy.

How much does insurance cost if you move yourself?

The cost for coverage if you move yourself varies. The best way to find out how much you'll pay is to talk to an insurance agent and discuss your current policy and the details of your move.

You might already have all the coverage you need on your home, condo or renters insurance policy, and you just need to pay for coverage on the moving truck. Or you might need to make substantial changes to your policy to cover your items, which will cost more.

Frequently asked questions

How does moving insurance work?

Moving insurance pays for the cost of your personal items if they are damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen while you are moving. If you hire a moving company, you can probably buy coverage from them, although it isn't technically insurance. If you move yourself, you can make a few changes to your property insurance policy to make sure your items are covered in transit.

How much does moving insurance cost?

Released-value coverage doesn't cost anything. Full-value coverage can cost around 1% to 2% of the total value of your items, but the cost varies depending on the moving company. The cost of moving insurance depends on the type of coverage you buy and how much your items are worth. If you move yourself, the cost depends on how many changes you need to make to your property insurance policy to give yourself good coverage.

Should I get insurance on a long-distance move?

It's a good idea to consider moving insurance. Full-value protection gives you the best coverage if you hire a mover, and you could also consider buying additional liability just in case. If you move yourself long-distance, talk to your insurance company or agent to make sure you have the right coverage on your policy.


ValuePenguin contacted several moving companies, including Allied Van Lines, American Van Lines and International Van Lines to discuss the insurance they offer.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.