Any time you move house, it's a big deal. Movers can make the job easier by handling the packing, heavy lifting, and transportation of your belongings, and the truth is, professional movers are probably less likely to break or damage anything during your move than you are. After all, they handle bulky, fragile, and expensive items daily. But accidents can happen even under the best of circumstances, and you want to be sure that all of your bases are covered when it comes to protecting yourself. Take a look at the answers to some important questions you might have about moving and insurance.
Who's Liable If One Of Your Possessions Gets Broken?
The good news is that the moving company is required to provide what's called Released Value insurance. The bad news is that it doesn't pay out much. Released Value insurance pays 60 cents per pound per item damaged. That means that if your 30 pound plasma television gets dropped and shattered, you'll get about $18 for it. Released Value at least ensures that you'll get something for your troubles, but unless you don't own anything valuable, it's probably not enough.
Luckily, there is another option. Full Value insurance works more like your home or car insurance. You choose a deductible amount, and if something is damaged, you'll receive the full value of the item or items, minus the deductible. Many professional moving services work with third-party insurance companies to offer this option, but you can also seek out your own insurer if you choose. Some insurers may require you to let the movers do the packing if you want coverage – having your items professionally packed reduces the risk of damage. However, it's an extra charge, so make sure to figure it in to the cost of your move.
Who Is Liable If A Mover Is Injured On Your Property?
As you might imagine, moving can occasionally be a hazardous profession. Movers are lifting heavy items and sometimes carrying them up or down stairs, across slippery sidewalks or driveways, or through other potential obstacles. The last thing you want is for anyone to get hurt on your property, but it is a possibility.
When you book a moving company, you should check to make sure that they're licensed, bonded, and have workers' compensation insurance (this is a good idea for any contractor you hire to do work in your home, in fact.) Technically, an injury that occurs on your property is a workplace injury for the mover, so they're entitled to workers compensation coverage for their injury. This is a good reason to hire professional movers instead of asking your friends to help you load the moving truck – if your next-door neighbor gets hurt moving your couch, your home insurance carrier will end up footing the bill, and you can expect your premiums to go up.
Do You Need Insurance To Ship Your Vehicle?
If you're making a long-distance move, you may not want to drive the whole way, and if you're moving overseas, or just off the mainland, you won't have the option to drive. Moving companies that handle long-distance moves are used to dealing with this kind of thing and can arrange to have your car shipped to your destination for you. However, making sure that your car is insured during transportation can be tricky.
If your moving company is also an auto shipping company, then they are required to have insurance on the vehicles they ship. However, if your moving company is acting as a broker and using a third party auto shipping company, then the moving company does not have to carry insurance – but the actual auto shipping company does. Make sure you clarify who is actually going to be shipping the vehicle – the moving company or an auto shipper that they work with – and ask for a copy of the insurance policy from the shipper.
Examine the policy to make sure that it covers your vehicle while it's being loaded, while it's being unloaded, and while it's in transit. There may be things that you have to do before shipping, like making sure that the car is empty (you can't use it to ship household goods for free) and making sure that the gas tank is mostly empty. Make sure you ask questions about anything that seems unclear.
Also, it's a good idea to take a copy of the policy to your auto insurer to see if they'll cover circumstances that the shipper's insurance might not, like damages caused by bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances. These are sometimes called "acts of God" in your insurance policy. If you have full-coverage auto insurance, then you're probably covered (but check anyway, just to be sure.) If you do not have full coverage, you may want to purchase additional insurance, at least temporarily.
Making sure that all of your insurance bases are covered is the best way to give yourself peace of mind in the middle of all the moving stress.