Anytime you're transporting your belongings, there's the potential for damage, no matter how careful you or your movers are. Moving insurance helps alleviate the fear of damaged or missing belongings by covering you against accidents or loss. While every moving company is required by law to offer a type of coverage called valuation coverage, it's important to understand exactly what it is and what it covers before your move.
What Does Valuation Coverage Include?
Valuation coverage offered by moving companies isn't technically moving insurance. It's simply how much your moving company is willing to be liable for if your possessions are damaged, and it typically doesn't cover the actual value or replacement cost of the item. There are some cases where your moving company may not accept liability and pay out at all. One of the most common ways you may not be protected under valuation coverage is if you pack your own boxes instead of hiring your moving company to do it. If something you pack is damaged, it's difficult to prove the moving company is liable for the damage.
Your moving company may also refuse to pay out if your items were damaged due to perishable or hazardous materials that you packed without letting your movers know about in writing ahead of time. Any damage due to acts of nature, like fires, tornadoes and hurricanes, aren't usually covered under valuation coverage either.
Released Value Protection
Released value protection is the type of coverage that movers are required to include in the cost of an interstate move and the cost of an hourly or flat rate for a local move. For interstate moves, released value protection covers your belongings at 60 cents per pound, regardless of what those items are. If you're moving locally, your state may have higher minimum coverage than the federal mandate of 60 cents per pound.
Full Value Protection
Full value protection is the second type of valuation coverage that moving services offer. It won't be included in your initial moving quote, but you can purchase it separately. The cost varies among companies, so be sure to get a quote. This type of protection means your movers will reimburse you for the current market value of any item that's damaged or lost during your move.
Most full value protection plans won't cover items of extraordinary value unless you notify your movers about the items in writing prior to your move. Extraordinary value means that the item has a value of more than $100 per pound. So make sure to take an inventory of any expensive items you have, such as jewelry, antiques, high-end electronics or collectibles and make a list with pictures that you can give to your moving company before moving day.
If you're still not sure how much moving insurance you need, work with different moving services and get a quote for different types of insurance along with the cost of the actual move so you can decide which company is the most cost effective for the protection you need. You can also purchase additional moving insurance from a third-party company to supplement the coverage from your moving service.