Accidents happen even to the most careful of individuals and moving companies. Insuring your belongings during a move is a great step towards added peace of mind.
We’ve all thought about it:
“If my items get damaged, will the moving company pay for them?”
It depends on the level of insurance or “valuation” coverage offered and the value of your items.
Nelson Markesbery in Cincinnati, Ohio, explains everything you need to know about moving valuation.
Types of Moving Valuation
Valuation is insurance coverage on household goods, from large items like furniture, to small personal items like jewelry.
There are three basic types of moving valuation:
- Basic Carrier (basic legally-required coverage)
- Declared Value (based on the depreciation value of the item)
- Full Replacement Liability (comprehensive)
Ask About Valuation Coverage Before You Hire Movers
Always check to see if a moving company is insured and what type of coverage they have available. By law, all moving companies should have a basic, fundamental level of coverage.
Basic Carrier Insurance
Also known as “released value coverage,” all licensed movers are required to carry it. This covers every item, from a lost paperclip or thumbtack to damaged glassware or furniture.
It’s limited to $0.30 per pound of items within the state and $0.60 if you’re traveling outside of the state.
It covers a maximum of $.60 per pound. If you have a 250lb refrigerator that you paid $400 for, you’ll get reimbursed for $150 (maximum) or $75 (minimum).
That only covers only 37% (best case scenario) of what you paid for!
This is why it’s important to ask about valuation coverage options and to pay for more coverage (especially during long, complicated moves)!
Declared Value Protection
This is a mid-level valuation coverage. By declaring the value of your goods, it allows the insurance company to have a record to reference just in case they need to reimburse you.
This expanded mover coverage requires you to pay more money but ensures that your items are protected.
If a mover loses or damages an item during a move, they can:
- Repair the item
- Replace it with something of equal value
- Make a cash settlement for the item or the cost of repair.
Actual Cash Value coverage is when the moving company and customer agree on a settlement amount.
Full Value Protection
Long-distance moving companies often offer full value protection valuation since it’s based on 1% of what your items were valued as.
This means if your household items are all worth around $25,000, you’ll pay $250 for full-value protection.
High-Value Items are Covered Differently
You’re probably wondering, “what qualifies as a ‘high-value’ item?”
Items valued at over $100 per pound.
Movers are allowed to limit their liability to high-ticket items.
Let’s say something gets damaged. If a claim needs to be made for damages, the amount of reimbursement you can get is limited to what you declared for the entire shipment (the cost valuation for all of your items).
A high-value inventory sheet must be completed and signed before moving begins. It’s not just critical for tracking reimbursement, but it helps you keep track of what you have in case any item is lost.
Third-Party Insurance Options to Consider
If your moving company doesn’t offer adequate coverage, there are insurance companies that offer “relocation insurance.”
This covers 1% to 2% of the value of all items.
With this option, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase “total loss coverage,” which includes a full replacement of your belongings, should catastrophe strike.
Relocation insurance does not cover individual items, only total loss of belongings.
Other Valuation Coverage Options if You’re Moving Alone
Do your due diligence. Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance may not cover damages incurred to items while on a move. You’ll likely need better coverage elsewhere.
You can buy rental truck insurance if you’re renting a moving truck. Rental companies offer life or medical protection for passengers and accident damage.
The coverage options won’t include damage from improper packing or theft of the vehicle.
How Much Does Moving Insurance Cost?
The basic plan is obviously free and comes with the contract. The more items you need to be insured, the more money it will cost.
What Will Moving Insurance Cover?
Damage to items during transit (sometimes during storage).
How Do I File a Movers Damage Claim?
File a written claim as soon as you notice any loss or damage to an item. Don’t wait!
The loss or damage should be noted on the bill of lading (an itemized list of each item moved and the condition of said item when it arrived).
Take photos of the damages for more evidence. Send these in alongside your claim.
Once submitted, the movers will begin the claim process.
How to Protect Your Move With or Without Insurance
1. Choose the right moving company
Find a reputable company. Seek them out via word of mouth and online reviews. They should have a track record of prior success.
2. Pack carefully
Take a look at packing tips online, especially for sensitive items like glass or electronics. Make sure you have the right packaging materials for a safe move.
3. Identify and report high-value items
Communicate with your moving team about items that are high value (in writing). Put them on an inventory list and keep track of them.
4. Report any damage or loss immediately
The deadline to write a claim is nine months from the date of delivery.
5. Take photos of your possessions before the move
If you have to file a claim with insurance, you can show them a before and after photo of your item.
Hire a Local Cincinnati Moving Company
Nelson Markesbery Moving & Storage offers full-service moving help in the greater Cincinnati area. We offer customizable moving service packages and highly personalized service. Call now for a free estimate: (859) 371-8111.