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Insurance Coverage When Moving

Anyone who’s moved knows there are a lot of details to coordinate—final inspections, deposits to collect and pay or a home to sell, boxes to pack, utility companies to call, change-of-address forms to fill out. One of the last things you want to deal with once you reach your destination is damaged, broken, or missing property.

You might be tempted to pay for the “insurance” offered by a moving company. However, what they offer is often technically not “insurance” under your state’s insurance laws, instead it’s full value coverage or released value coverage, which pays in part for repair or replacement of damaged goods. And you should know that the coverage limit is often very, very low and would hardly replace the damaged item.

Your homeowner, renter, or condo insurance may provide you with some insurance protection during and immediately after your move, as well as during short-term storage. Ask your insurance provider if they offer:

  • Damage insurance: This will be a clause in your policy (usually homeowner) that covers your items while in transit or in temporary storage. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of this clause to ensure it covers your exact circumstances and the value of the property you’ll be moving. If you hire a professional moving company, you may be able to purchase additional endorsements from your insurance provider to cover specific risks.

  • Trip transit insurance: This type of policy insures your property for damage during a specific trip. It usually covers you in the same way that your home insurance would cover your personal items—against perils like fire, disappearance, or theft—but would not necessarily cover other damage caused during the move—wear and tear, breakage.

Keep in mind that a new homeowner policy will only cover your personal items once they are in your new home but not before arrival.

  • Coverage for damage caused by nonpaid or nonprofessional movers: If you decide to save some cash by having friends and family help you move, you may still have an option to recoup the loss of any damage to personal property through their personal liability insurance or through the voluntary property damage clause of their home or tenant policy.

Questions to ask your home or renter insurance provider before your move:

  • What kind of coverage does my policy provide while I move? Is breakage covered?
  • How long does the coverage last?
  • Is my coverage limited while my items are in transit?
  • Are my jewelry, wines, collectables, or fine art covered?
  • Is mysterious disappearance or theft covered?
  • Are items in storage covered and for how long?
  • If there is a claim, will the items be paid on an actual cash value (i.e. depreciated value) or a replacement cost basis? Are there any options to improve coverage so I can get replacement cost?
  • Will my insurance price go up if I make a claim?
  • What deductible will I have to pay if I make a claim? Can I choose a higher deductible to save money?