Insuring your property for a move can be a tricky decision. If and when you get estimates from professional movers, ask them what their “valuation liability” is.
Valuation is not insurance. Valuation is the limit of their liability for your goods. For instance, their contract may place their liability at no more than $25,000. It will be written into the contract. Also, valuation only covers the value of your possessions, not necessarily their replacement cost. In other words, you could receive the cost of an old chair minus depreciation – not the price to replace it.
Make Sure Your Move is Covered
Movers in most states are prohibited by law from selling insurance. To get insurance, you have to go to an insurance company and, as always, be sure to have any policy explained before signing anything. Feel free to ask your Sales Professional for a recommendation on an insurance company.
For instance, insurers may cover your possessions for only 30 to 60 cents per pound, per item. And don’t forget, there will be a deductible that you will pay before the insurance coverage kicks in. Like other insurance, the higher the deductible, the lower cost – and the lower the deductible, the higher the policy cost.
Also, be sure to check your homeowner insurance policy to see what it covers. Often, it will specifically cover any damage to your goods while they are in your home (including while the movers are packing your things) but may not cover your possessions once they are in transit. Check the policy or call your insurance agent.
Do you think your possessions will spend any time in storage? If so, advise your insurance agent of that. Liabilities and how much you’ll be compensated shift depending on where your possessions are. What’s covered while it’s on a truck may not be covered while it’s in storage. Ask questions!
Before You Buy
Before you sign off on any coverage plan, read the fine print, and remember:
- Total loss insurance pays off only if all your goods are 100 percent damaged or lost, not if individual items are damaged.
- Perils insurance only pays off if specific things happen to your goods, like theft or fire.
- Look for references to “Household Goods Value Inventory” in the fine print. Depending on the coverage, you may need to list every individual thing going on the truck and give it a value.
Finally, save your receipts and the full names of the people you talk to. Your receipts will be needed for your taxes. Names will be needed if there are problems. If you need to complain, you want to be able to say, “John Doe at your company specifically told me this is what your company would do.”
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