What Insurance Coverage Do I Need While Moving?

by Bea Johnson
MORGANTOWN, WV - 12 AUGUST 2018: UPack Relocube moving containers on driveway of townhouse

Whether you're moving across town or across the country, the process can feel overwhelming — from packing up all of your belongings to moving your utilities and even finding new schools or jobs.

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Moving insurance can take a bit of the stress off your plate. Here’s how it can afford you extra peace of mind during this period of change.

Does Renters or Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage While Moving?

Renters or homeowners insurance doesn't typically cover damage you incur while moving your possessions, although there are some situations where it might. Since theft and fire are covered in your policy already, if your belongings are stolen in transit, or an accident occurs, your policy may cover the loss. However, there may be lower coverage limits.

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What's Moving Insurance and Why Do You Need It?

Moving insurance — also called movers insurance — isn't a conventional insurance policy. A moving insurance policy is more of a valuation, which means the company guarantees compensation in the form of repair, replacement or cash for a set value if they damage or lose your belongings.

Moving companies are liable for your belongings per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. However, due to the different levels of liability movers have, as well as lax regulations, moving insurance may be the best way to ensure your valuables are protected.

How Much Insurance Do Insurance Companies Typically Offer?

Several types of movers insurance are available, depending on your needs and the value of your belongings. The types of moving insurance include:

  • Full Value Protection: Also called full replacement value protection, this moving insurance pays you replacement or repair costs at full market value. However, the policy may have liability limits, which means it may not cover exceptionally high-value items or a total loss.
  • Released Value Protection: Also known as basic carrier liability, released value protection insurance is free and required by federal law. It typically pays around 60 cents (CAD 0.80) a pound for each of your belongings, so it won't cover the replacement costs of high-value items with low weights, such as electronics.
  • Separate Liability Insurance: Many moving companies provide an optional insurance policy. These state law-governed policies usually pay replacement or repair costs, minus what's covered by released value protection. However, these policies may have limitations.

Should You Buy More Insurance From the Moving Company?

If you've already purchased full value protection moving insurance, that policy, along with the free released value protection, may be suitable for your needs. However, you may need to purchase separate liability insurance if you're moving high-value items.

Keep in mind that some moving insurance may only cover approved affiliates. This means your policy becomes void if your possessions are out of the moving company's control at any time. In this situation, you'll have to pay the moving company to pack and store your belongings because they're only responsible for items they're directly involved with.

Where Else Can You Buy Insurance to Protect Items While Moving?

Since conventional movers insurance policies may not cover high-value belongings, such as art and antiques, you may need to consult a third-party provider when transporting these items. Some options available from third-party providers include:

  • Natural disasters: Also known as coverage for acts of God, natural disaster policies cover damage incurred to your belongings due to extreme circumstances, such as fires, floods and earthquakes.
  • Pair/Set/Collection coverage: This type of coverage compensates you for the entire set or collection if single items become lost or damaged in transit. This is because collections and sets typically lose value when one piece is missing.
  • Mechanical or electrical damage: The vibration of a moving truck can damage electronics by loosening wires or internal components. Mechanical or electrical damage coverage can help you replace those items if they're damaged in transit.
  • Mold and Mildew coverage: Long moves may expose your belongings to moisture that your moving company may not notice right away. This provision can cover cleaning or replacement costs.
  • Vermin coverage: Vermin coverage covers your loss if vermin infestations, such as moths, insects or rodents, damage your possessions during your move.
  • Storage in transit: This type of movers insurance covers your costs when a delay occurs that requires warehousing your belongings.

What's a Certificate of Insurance From a Moving Company?

A Certificate of Insurance (COI) verifies that you've paid for moving company insurance and provides a policy summary. Some property managers may require a COI to ensure those moving in are working with insured moving companies.

How Much Does Moving Insurance Cost?

While released value protection moving insurance is free, it only pays about 60 cents (CAD 0.80) per pound per item. The cost for full value protection is typically about 1% of the cash value of the belongings being moved, according to Experian. For example, if you value your belongings at $100,000 (CAD 135,400), insurance for full replacement costs would run between $1,000 and $2,000 (CAD 740 to 1,480).

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.

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