Off you go! What you need to know about insurance before moving.
So you’ve decided to abandon the old homestead for greener pastures. Or possibly a job is transferring you around the state or across the country. Or the kids have outgrown the apartment so it is on to a house.
Whatever the reason, hundreds of thousands of Americans will move from one residence to another this year. That’s a lot of personal belongings being packed up, shoved in, and moved out. If you suffer damage to your property during this process, are you covered by your homeowners insurance? Your car insurance? The mover’s insurance?
Let’s address them one at a time.
A traditional homeowners policy will typically cover your property while in transit just as if it was still located in your living room, and for up to 30 days at your new home. That will give you plenty of time to make the necessary changes in your homeowners insurance to protect your new home. There are a few limitations that apply to certain property during your move, but none of them are related to the fact you are moving. These limitations apply to the following types of property anytime it is away from your home for any reason.
Except for certain limitations, the full amount of personal property coverage you have at your home will also apply while your goods are being relocated. Talk to your Trusted Choice® insurance professional for more details about limitations.
The typical homeowners policy only covers your property, no matter the location, for certain causes of loss known as perils. What if something happens to your property that is not due to one of these causes? There is no policy coverage for that damage.
One example while moving would be breakage due to items being bumped or dropped. Check with your insurance agent to be sure exactly what types of perils your policy provides, and where the gaps might be for damage while moving. If you are concerned about those gaps your agent can help you determine the appropriate coverage.
Your moving company will typically carry coverage for damages that occurs due to their negligence. So, if an item gets dropped and broken by one of the movers, you can look to the moving company’s insurance to pay for it.
Be aware, however, that the basic coverage moving companies must provide by law is only $.60 per pound of the shipment. So if a $500 stereo that weighs thirty pounds is damaged, a mover might pay just $18 (30 lbs. x $.60). Many professional moving companies offer up to three higher levels of coverage, all at an additional fee. Be certain to ask the movers what options they offer, and the price, to purchase broader supplemental coverage.
For information on choosing a professional moving company, check out the American Moving and Storage Association Web site at www.moving.org.
The liability portion of your auto policy has an exclusion for damage to your own property. Otherwise, every time you needed a new TV, you could just set it in the driveway behind your car, rev up the engine, shift into reverse, and voila! New television! Any further doubts as to why that exclusion is in there?
The physical damage coverages in your auto policy are also no help, since they cover the auto and its equipment, not any of your clothing or household goods have in the back seat or trunk.
These exclusions within your auto insurance are usually not a problem, since the idea is for you to get coverage for any damage to your goods while in the car from your homeowners policy.
One more thing. Be sure to give your Trusted Choice® insurance professional a call before you start packing those boxes. They will be happy to make sure your coverage is updated for the new house, change the address on your policies, and probably offer you brochures on planning for a safe move—plus suggestions for making your new home secure and accident free.
Enjoy the move!