Ensuring a Good Move

However trustworthy a moving company may be, there's no accounting for accidents. To protect their valuables from damage, owners often invest in moving insurance.

Types of Moving Insurance

By law, moving companies must offer at least two kinds of coverage for moves across state lines. Released value coverage is the most basic form of protection. It offers 60 cents of compensation for every pound of material damaged, regardless of what those materials are. Movers include this coverage in their moving charges, so there's no extra cost for it.

Because most materials are worth more than 60 cents a pound, many choose to supplement this coverage with full value coverage. For this, the owner estimates the full monetary value of all the items he or she wants moved, and then pays a flat fee to insure them, usually worth one percent of the items' value. If any of these items are damaged, the moving company must either restore them to their previous condition or replace them with new items of the same market value. Full value coverage doesn't apply to any items worth more than $100 per pound unless the owner explicitly lists those items on the shipping roster.

A third kind of insurance, which movers are not required to offer, is separate liability coverage. This policy covers the value of the items insured minus the 60 cents per pound that the mover must pay. There is also expanded valuation coverage, which allows owners to declare what their belongings are worth per pound, and lump sum coverage, in which movers compensate the owner for the value of each item rather than the weight.

Insurance Tips

When buying moving insurance, owners should first contact the companies that offer them homeowners or renters coverage. These companies often include moving insurance along with the homeowners or renters policy or offer moving insurance coverage at a discount.

Movers don't have to cover items that they didn't pack, so owners should avoid interfering with the packing process or transporting any items on their own.

If something is damaged in transit, the owner must prove that the movers transported it. For this reason, owners should record every item that the movers handled, regardless of value.

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