Moving can be a headache, but one thing that makes a move easier? Knowing how your homeowners insurance can protect you along the way.
So does homeowners insurance cover moving? The simple answer is that it does cover your belongings for some losses, but the moving company should have insurance that covers other circumstances. Understanding what is covered and what isn’t helps you better prepare for those potential accidents when getting your stuff from one home to the next.
Can Homeowners Insurance Cover My Belongings During a Move?
Yes, for certain losses. Your homeowners insurance policy can cover your belongings in your home and outside the home. In fact, our policies can cover your belongings anywhere in the world. That includes in a storage facility.
Homeowners insurance may also cover some sources of loss to your belongings while in transit if you hire professional movers. It really depends on your policy.
It’s worth noting that damage from incidents like car accidents or dropping belongings usually isn’t a covered event, though. Standard HO3 policies cover personal property on a named perils basis. That means it can cover damage from:
- Riots or civil commotion
- Damage from aircrafts
- Damage from vehicles
- Malicious mischief or vandalism
- Volcanic eruptions
- Falling objects
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
- Accidental discharge of water or steam
- Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of certain household systems
- Freezing of household systems
- Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current
Most of these events probably won’t occur during a move and impact your personal belongings. But theft or fire could be a real risk, and in that case, your home insurance would likely cover the event.
If you have scheduled personal property, like jewelry and collectibles, they’re covered for all sources of damage except those listed as exclusions, like wear and tear, insects or vermin, war, and nuclear hazard.
What Does Movers’ Business Insurance Cover?
Under federal law, interstate movers are required to offer one of three different liability coverages to customers. It’s not traditional insurance – it covers consumers for damage or breakage of personal items while in the care of the movers.
Those three liability options are:
- Released value protection: Gives minimal protection against loss or damage based on the weight of the item. This coverage doesn’t exceed 60 cents per pound per article. It’s usually offered at no additional charge to customers but doesn’t account for the real value of your items.
- Full value protection: Pays for the replacement cost (or the current market value) of your belongings if they are lost, destroyed, or otherwise damaged while in the mover’s care. This coverage is more expensive than released value protection.
- Separate liability coverage: Compliments released value protection by providing coverage for the loss above the released value. This means that the mover is still responsible for the 60 cents per pound, but homeowners are adding policy coverage for the remaining difference in value. Movers will provide homeowners with a written record of the policy at the time it’s purchased.
Read the Mover’s Agreement
Because movers offer different levels of coverage, it’s essential to talk to the moving company about how your property is covered while in their care.
Confirm what coverage is available and read the contract to make sure you get what you ask for. Check the contract for any limitations or caps that might be applicable to certain types of items and the timelines for making a claim. You don’t want to miss out on your coverage simply because you missed a filing deadline.
Protecting Property When Moving Yourself
When you box up and move yourself, you won’t have the mover’s protection to pay for any losses or damage. You only have your own coverage to count on.
Call your insurance representative to review your coverage options. Find out what is automatically included in your existing homeowners policy and determine whether you can add more coverage to address your move.
On top of checking your personal property coverage, make sure that the rental truck is insured. You can call your auto insurance company to see if your coverage extends to a truck you rent for moving. If it doesn’t, you may want to take out the optional coverage offered by the rental company to protect you from accidents that may happen while driving the truck.
After the Move
Remember that there might be a time limit to filing a claim after you move, so unpack as soon as possible to check items for damage. Take notes of the damage and pictures of what you can. This will help with the claim.
Call the moving company and ask to file a claim for damages. Don’t throw the damaged items out – set them aside in case the moving company needs more proof. If the moving company doesn’t cover the loss, call your insurance company to see if the coverage you have in place will cover the items. Provide as many details as you can to help expedite the claim.
While you have your insurance carrier on the phone, double-check for any discounts you may be eligible for in the new house.
If you’re planning a move to a new house, give us a call. We’ll happily go over coverage that protects you during the move and help you find a new policy for your new home.