Is Moving Insurance Necessary?
Fair question. Many people believe one of two things are true. Either —
A. The professional movers is insured if they break something or gets in a wreck, or
B. Their renter's or home or business insurance will cover any damages.
Both thoughts are based on some truth. However, not everything you own may be covered by either the moving company or your insurance. Here's why.
When it comes to the fine print of your insurance policy, please check with your agent. Your items may not be covered if they are damaged "in transit". Some policies stipulate a reimbursement of only 10% of the estimated value if the items are not in your home or office location at the time of damage.
Does moving insurance policy cover your commercial moving or long distance moving? Find it out before you make a final decision.
If your policy does cover "in transit" damage, find out if you have full replacement coverage (what it would cost to buy a brand new item to replace the one that is damaged) or if it will just reimburse what the depreciation value is deemed to be, due to the item's age and wear. If you have the latter, which many people do, it would be wise to take out a supplemental mover's policy with an agent or the moving company. You may also have a deductible to meet and the additional policy can offset that cost.
Before you purchase extra coverage for your piano moving, please understand there is a difference between the coverage you have through your home owner's or renter's policy and what the moving company can offer. What the movers offer is called valuation.
For out of state moves, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does require the moving company provide a choice of at least two types of valuation to the customer. Here are the most common types:
Full Value Protection - this will most likely cost extra. The minimum by FMCSA standards is either $5,000 or $4.00 per pound. Fees are based on the Consumer Price Index to calculate replacement costs and companies can exclude or charge extra for items that cost more than $100 a pound.
Released Valuation - provides an intrastate (within a state's borders) or local moving coverage for only 60 cents a pound. That's not good if you have a 100 pound big screen TV. They do apply depreciation based on age, but there is no deductible. Most companies provide this as part of the regular package at no extra cost.
Declared Value - is the amount per pound you select to cover what you believe your items are worth. Of course, that will cost you extra. Still, if you are moving out of state and it will take more than a day for the truck to arrive at the new destination, this is a good idea.
Lump Sum or Assessed Value - is where you tell the company how much your stuff is worth and they set a price. No weight estimation is needed. You can base this on the amount of your renter's or home owner's insurance policy.
Of course, you need to read the fine print. Some moving companies will not cover items they do not pack themselves unless the carton itself is actually damaged due to their neglect (torn, crushed, soaked, etc). They won't cover damage due to Acts of God, or items placed in self storage during the move while they are in a storage unit. If the company stores it for the owner, that should be covered. They will not cover antiques, jewelry, large ticket items, etc. without charging extra.
You should also verify who will pay for any damage to your property (torn limbs, holes in walls, stained carpets, slashes in linoleum, etc.) if that occurs.
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