Moving Insurance--a Necessary Luxury

Because most moves only last for a few days, most people think they can avoid purchasing moving insurance without facing any negative consequences. Likewise, many people who are moving assume that the moving company will be responsible for expenses resulting from accidental damage, an assumption which is both dangerous and largely incorrect. And while the reality is that most moves are completed without serious problems, the potential for damage is immense, making the need for moving insurance imperative rather than optional.

Moving insurance is a necessity

Studies show that damage occurs to property in about 1 in every 3.5 moves. Simply put, this means that the chance of damage to your property is not particularly low. While catastrophic events are generally rare, there is a reasonable chance that your property will get lost or damaged at some point along the way. Do you really want to take the chance that you'll need to incur the expense of replacing or fixing your property?

While you may be correct in believing that moving companies take some responsibility for the items in their guardianship, you may be surprised to learn that their liability is limited in several ways:

  • Most moving companies refuse to take responsibility for any items that were not packed by a member of the company's staff. In other words, if you plan on saving money by packing yourself, you may need to spend a bit of money on moving insurance to make sure that your property is covered.
  • Most moving companies will not take responsibility for damages that occurred during transit. This means that if a box gets jostled and its contents get damaged, the moving company will not reimburse you for damages.

In addition, most moving companies offer valuation coverage rather than full-fledged moving insurance, which is often based on the weight of your belongings or some other arbitrary value rather than its actual value of your property. You can get a full explanation of valuation charges here.

Another common misconception is that homeowner's insurance is interchangeable with moving insurance because homeowner's insurance is designed to cover loss and damage to your personal property. It's recommended to clarify this coverage either by reading the policy or by contacting your insurance agent. You may discover that you need to purchase a supplemental policy to insure the full value of your property.

Finally, it is worth noting that purchasing moving insurance is equally important (if not more important) when embarking upon a do-it-yourself move. While chances of theft may be lower in a do-it-yourself move, the risk of damage is significantly greater, as you may not have the skills or experience that a professional mover has. Before signing a moving insurance policy of this nature, check with your credit card company. Depending on what type of credit card you use (and possibly what your credit limit is), your credit card company may actually cover damage during a do-it-yourself move. If you must purchase moving insurance, make sure that the moving insurance that you purchase for your do-it-yourself move covers not only damage to the moving truck but also damage to your property. In some cases this coverage is included, but oftentimes you'll need to pay more for this service, and you may even need to ask for it specifically.

Although it's natural to want to scale back your expenses as much as possible, it's important to realize that spending a little bit extra on moving insurance can save you significantly in the long run. It's better to save money on your moving expenses in other ways than to opt out of moving insurance and risk serious future expenses. And, of course, the peace of mind you'll have when you know your property is properly insured is priceless.

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