When it comes to residential moves, most homeowners trust a reputable moving company to move their personal belongings. However, what happens if something goes wrong and your belongings are damaged in transit? Will the moving company’s liability be enough to repair or replace your belongings, or should you look into additional insurance? Is it even worth it if you’re just moving across town?
Understanding Company Liability and Residential Moves
Whether or not a residential move requires insurance beyond the company’s liability depends on your own personal preferences. All moving companies are liable for the belongings they are transporting, as per the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This means the company cannot damage your belongings and deny responsibility, but it also provides little protection or recourse for you should damages occur.
Moving companies provide two levels of liability: “full” value and “released” value. Full value liability comes at a cost, but it means the mover is liable for the entire value of your shipment, and they must repair, replace, or offer a cash settlement for any damaged items. Released value doesn’t cost you extra, but the company is only responsible for 60 cents per pound per item for damages. This means the company may only pay you pennies to replace damaged items worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Insurance Options Available for a Residential Move
So you’re ready to make the big move, and you’ve decided to add on additional insurance to the moving company’s liability, just in case something happens. Here are your primary insurance options:
- Some moving companies sell insurance offered by their affiliates. This is not possible in all states (check your state to see if it’s legal), and there is a chance of buying a bogus policy you won’t be able to recoup. Remember that, even if your policy is legitimate, the insurance company will be an advocate for the moving company, not for you. This means claims may be processed slowly, or be at higher risk of rejection.
- Most homeowner's insurance companies will either provide coverage for moves already or add them to your policy for a small fee. Call your insurance agent to see what options are available to you under your homeowner's policy.
- If your homeowner's insurance doesn't offer moving insurance, there are third-party companies that can provide it. Costs vary depending on the declared value of your belongings, and you have to keep the deductible in mind in the event nothing goes wrong during the move. Also, remember that as with insurance offered by moving companies, there are shady insurance companies that will take your money for a “policy” but never pay up in the case of a claim. Don't get burned!
Insurance for a Residential Move…a Smart Idea!
It might seem a bit silly to pay for moving insurance when you’re only relocating a few miles away. However, damage can be done regardless of the distance traveled, so moving insurance may be a good investment for you if you have a lot of possessions with high dollar values. However, as with any industry, there are shady companies and scam artists waiting to take your money, so make sure you properly vet any company before signing a contract.
We here at Nilson Van & Storage look forward to assisting you with your move. Contact our team of residential moves experts to explore the best options for your situation.