Do You Need Moving Insurance?

Jon Fesmire | May 2, 2018 @ 8:00 AM

How often do you get asked if you want to pay for insurance? There’s life insurance, medical insurance and insurance on items we buy at various stores. In electronics shops, for instance, you may get asked if you want to insure your new tablet or computer, extending its initial warranty.

You may wonder if you actually need insurance. “What are the odds this is going to break?” you might think. Yet, when you need medical attention or an item replaced, you’re glad when you have the insurance to cover it, and frustrated with yourself when you don’t.

The same goes for moving insurance, which you can get whether you have a moving company transporting your goods or if you’re moving on your own.

In Short, Do Get Insurance

Chances are, when you get insurance, you’ll end up paying more for it than you need to get out of it. That’s the nature of the business. People pay into moving insurance to make sure that the value of their belongings is protected. The insurance company can then use this money to cover losses, while still making enough to pay employees and keep the company running.

Still, things can go wrong more often than you think. Valuable items may break in transit or as someone lifts and moves them. Trucks can get into accidents. Storms can cause accidents, water damage, and so on. Moving insurance exists to help protect the value of your belongings against anything from minor damage to full-on disaster.

Mostly Out of Luck

If you hire a moving company, your items will be protected at a basic level. Federal law mandates that your belongings be insured at $0.60 a pound. That’s not much! Even a book that weighs one pound is probably worth $10 to $15. Your external hard drive weighing a half a pound may be worth $150. Looking around your room, you’ll see you have tons of things worth more than $0.60 per pound. This is called “valuation,” and it doesn’t cover much.

If your items get damaged or destroyed, you’ll want enough money to be able to replace them.

The Right Price

In other words, you’ll want more than the basic level of coverage. As you pack, keep an inventory of what you’re putting in each box. Add a column with the value of each item. You can then have the spreadsheet calculate the total value of your belongings, and you’ll have the amount you need the policy to cover. We also suggest you take pictures of the contents of each box, so that if an item takes damage, you can show what it looked like before and after.

Talk to the movers, or your own insurance company, about getting “goods in transit insurance.” Yes, the more your items are worth, the higher the coverage will cost, but if you pay $1,000, and need to replace your $1,500 computer and all the software for it, you’ll be happy you were covered.

If you plan to use self storage as a place to temporarily keep items covered by moving insurance while you prepare to move, you can possibly pay less for your self storage insurance. Carefully check the contract you sign for your moving insurance to see if it also covers items in storage.


What happens if you get to your new home and find missing or damaged items? Fortunately, you don’t have to rush to make a claim, but there is still a time limit.

From the day your belongings are delivered to your place, you have nine months to file a claim for any damages. The mover then has 30 days to acknowledge the claim, and the insurance has 120 days to deny the claim or make an offer. Keep careful track of all this. If the insurance company denies a legitimate claim, appeal it. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of making sure they have all the information they need.

One reason we suggest keeping an inventory of your belongings is that you should be able to show what was in a particular box, and each box or item will have a replacement value.

Moving is always a lot of work, and we realize that this will add to that work. However, when you’re able to get damaged items replaced, you’ll be glad you did it.

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