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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. Moving insurance comes in three forms: released-value protection, full-value protection and third-party liability protection.
Although you aren't legally obligated to buy moving insurance, it could be a great idea to invest in a policy — especially since coverage isn't very expensive. If you plan to move expensive items, such as paintings or jewelry collections, some companies specialize in moving (and insuring) these uncommon items.
Do I need moving insurance?
Moving insurance isn't required by law or by movers, but typically 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 sufficient protection. If you're moving more property, you might be more comfortable moving your more expensive items with a full-value protection policy attached.
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.
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.
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 it 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%–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–$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 4 ounces and costs thousands of dollars. It would be excluded from coverage because it's too valuable. If it cost $30, then it's worth $120 per pound and exceeds coverage limits.
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 $1,500.
Each moving company calculates the cost of this coverage differently, but you can help yourself knowing 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.