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Insurance checklist for moving

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

Moving has a reputation for being one of the most stressful life events. Whether you’re relocating across town or coast-to-coast, it takes time, preparation and money to happen smoothly. 

According to the American Moving & Storage Association, about 10% of Americans move every year, and most (85%) relocate within the same state. The most cited reasons are wanting a new or better home or apartment, taking a new job and family concerns. 

No matter why or where you move, the goal is for your household members and your belongings to arrive safely at your new place. It’s crucial to take stock of insurance that you already have and find out what additional coverage you may need to stay protected during a move.

Moving insurance coverage

If you have homeowners or renters insurance, it may help cover your possessions during a move. For instance, stolen items would be covered up to your policy limits, after you pay your deductible. 

However, homeowners and renters policies don’t cover accidental damages to your belongings, such as a television that’s dropped or shattered glassware. Also, these policies have lower coverage limits for “off-premises” claims when your possessions are away from home, such as on a moving truck or in a storage facility. Your coverage might only be 10% to 20% of the amount you have for personal property in your home.

Other policy limits to check are your maximum limits by category. For example, most home and renters policies put caps on valuables such as jewelry, computers, collectibles and firearms. If you’re not sure what your coverage limits are, contact your insurer ahead of a move so you know if you may need more.

Should I buy coverage from a moving company?

John Egan is a personal finance expert who says, “Buying coverage from a moving company might be a good investment. That’s because home and renter’s policies provide limited coverage during a move. Keep in mind that your auto insurance policy typically covers your car while it’s moved.”

If you hire a moving company to pack up your belongings, don’t assume their quote automatically includes full insurance coverage. A reputable company should provide you with mover insurance quotes for different types of coverage offered.

If you rent and drive a moving truck, such as from U-Haul, they typically offer additional coverage to protect your belongings. However, the total coverage may be capped up to $10,000.

Moving insurance cost

How much you’ll pay for moving insurance depends on a variety of factors, including whether you or a moving company pack your items, whether you’re going out of state, the value of your possessions and how much protection you choose.

Egan says there are two types of insurance you can get through a moving company. He explains, “A mover offers released-value protection at no extra cost to you. However, this coverage is very basic and based on the weight of your items, not their value. In other words, the value of a $1,500 laptop computer wouldn’t be covered. Instead, you’d receive as much as 60 cents per pound based on the laptop’s weight.”

“According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, moving companies usually offer basic coverage that costs about 30 cents per pound for an in-state move and about 60 cents a pound for an out-of-state move.” 

The other type of moving insurance is known as full-value coverage. It protects you if an item is lost, damaged or destroyed. However, Egan says that some high-dollar belongings, such as antiques, might have limited coverage. That means you wouldn’t get reimbursed for their full value.

The takeaway is that moving insurance costs and policies vary. Pay special attention to your valuables, such as jewelry and collectibles. You may need to add an endorsement or rider to an existing home or renters policy, or purchase a separate stand-alone insurance policy, to have enough coverage. Boosting your coverage may be especially important if you plan to store valuable items off-site before or after a move.

Insurance tips to keep in mind when moving

There’s a lot to consider and many things to do when moving. Follow these essential insurance tips to make your move as hassle-free as possible.

  • Use a checklist. This moving checklist below will help you stay organized and complete critical tasks at the right time. 
  • Notify your insurer. Keep your insurance agent or company in the loop about your pending move. They can explain what is and isn’t covered and help you fill any coverage gaps. Request an address update and a referral to a new agent if you’re moving out of state. 
  • Find out if you need additional coverage. Moving is an excellent time to reevaluate your insurance. Depending on the value of what you own, you may need to boost your personal property coverage.
  • Consider an umbrella liability policy. This coverage adds an extra layer of protection to the liability limits you have on other policies–such as home, renters and auto–if you get involved in a lawsuit.
  • Research movers. Egan says, “Before hiring a mover, check out the company’s online reviews and it’s ratings with the Better Business Bureau. During a move, you’re entrusting most or all of your household belongings to a moving company, so you want to pick a highly reputable business.”

Egan also advises being careful if you hire a moving broker, which isn’t the same as a moving company. A broker hires a third-party mover but doesn’t handle your belongings. They may not bear any responsibility if something goes wrong. Get quotes from at least three movers, so you get the best service and deal possible.

Laura Adams

Laura is a frequent media source and has been featured on most major news outlets including ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, FOX, NBC, NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, U.S. News, Consumer Reports, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fortune, Kiplinger’s, Marketplace, Money, MSN, and many other broadcast, print, and online outlets. Laura’s mission is to empower consumers to live richer lives through her writing, podcasting, spokesperson, and advocacy work. Millions of readers and listeners benefit from her practical financial advice. Laura earned an MBA from the University of Florida. She and her husband reside in Vero Beach, Florida. Connect with her and learn more at LauraDAdams.com.

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