So, you’ve arranged a moving-in date for your new home; cleared out your junk; organized transfer of your cable, mail, and utilities; and ordered your moving containers. What next?
Presuming you’re going to be using a moving company, you’ll want to get that service booked soon, but before you do, there’s one thing you absolutely need to think about: insurance.
Insurance isn’t the most exciting part of a home move but imagine the fallout if your moving truck ends up in a river or a rogue driver goes AWOL with a truckload of your possessions. It’s very rare that this kind of thing happens, but you’ll want to be prepared if it does. Of course, relatively minor mishaps, such as a dropped flat screen TV happen more frequently. After all, cardboard boxes can split and people can drop things.
Before you sign a contract with the moving company you should do some homework and a little bit of math. You may have a limited amount of coverage built into your homeowners or renters insurance policy. But usually, homeowners policies don’t cover personal property while in transit or storage. It’s important to sit down and discuss this with your agent.
To see what coverage you have, you’ll need to run through the following checklist of items:
Are you covered for moving?
Is there a time limit?
Are you covered if you’re moving your items into storage?
Are you covered if you use a professional moving company?
Do your contents have to be properly packed? Does this mean the movers have to pack them for you?
What deductible will you have to pay if you have a claim?
Are any items excluded?
Is there a price-per-item limit?
What’s the claims process?
The answers to some of these questions may result in extra costs for you. For example, if you need the moving company to pack on your behalf they’ll likely charge for that.
When you call your insurance agent, you should ask about:
Any riders or floaters that can increase your protection;
Whether a claim would push up future premiums;
If they offer any ‘basic perils’ coverage if you intend to continue using your current insurance company in your new property; and
The effect of increasing or reducing deductibles.
You should get prices for all the above and use these to decide on the level of risk you’re comfortable with. There’s never zero risk!
If you’re a first-time buyer, note that your new insurance policy will probably not cover your possessions until they’re in the new house although if you have an existing renters policy that would provide coverage. If you don’t have an existing policy but were previously protected under another person’s policy (e.g. a parent’s), it’s worth asking them to check with their insurer to see if they’ll extend some coverage in return for you taking your first insurance policy out with them – this can work!
If you haven’t purchased homeowners insurance yet, West Bend offers a policy with numerous coverage options. A West Bend homeowners policy provides coverage for 30 days subject to the perils of the policy and home deductible, up to the limits of the policy for a newly acquired principal residence.
When you know what’s covered by your existing policy, you can look at what your moving company could offer you.
Can your moving company provide insurance coverage?
Federal regulations require all moving companies to offer two types of insurance coverage if you’re moving out of state. However, this isn’t technically regarded as insurance in the same way as your home, renters, or condo insurance.
Released Value Protection is liability coverage that’s based on weight. This coverage pays up to 60 cents per pound for personal property. However, with all the electronic devices in a person’s home, this coverage is very minimal and wouldn’t pay full replacement cost.
Full Value Protection may cover you for the repair or replacement of your personal property. If you purchase this coverage, make sure you check with your moving company to see how you’ll be covered. Usually, their insurance policy determines if the damaged items will be replaced with new ones or at their depreciated value (i.e. reduced value based on age and condition).
Once you’ve talked to your insurance agent and the moving company, you’ll have a better a better idea of how the different coverage options work.