What’s the Deal with Moving Insurance?

One of the most confusing part of moving, to any customer, is insurance. It seems logical that a moving company would automatically cover all belongings during a move. Unfortunately, that’s only sort of the case.

Does my mover provide insurance?

A moving company is not an insurance company, so by law, they can’t sell you insurance. There are some other issues too, which we’ll get into in a minute. Federal law and most state laws don’t leave you completely out in the cold. California’s (and the federal government’s) released value protection or valuation coverage, for example, covers your items at 60 cents per pound per item, which if you think about it, isn’t much at all. Let’s say you have a brand new $500 TV that weighs 50 pounds, and it’s damaged during the move. With 60 cents per pound per item valuation coverage, you are paid just $30.00.

Can I purchase additional insurance?

At just 60 cents per pound per item, it’s obvious the movers’ basic coverage is insufficient for most moves. That’s why we suggest that all our customers purchase additional third-party moving insurance through Baker International. They, unlike a moving company, are an insurance company. They are experts at the claims process and they are fully underwritten, meaning they have money to pay out on any claims.

Their premiums start at about a penny on the dollar. For example, a $100,000 policy starts at about $1,000, with a $1,000 deductible. As with most insurance, you should always notify Baker of any high-value items or items of extraordinary value. It’s always a good idea to take pictures beforehand.

Does my homeowner’s or renter’s insurance cover a move?

While some homeowners’ or renter’s insurance does cover moves, the typical answer is no. They might cover your items if they are put in storage, but likely not the move itself. That said, it’s never a bad idea to ask your homeowners or renters insurance company. You may be able to purchase a rider on the policy that will cover your move.

Are there limitations on full value protection?

There may be limits on fuel value protection. Be sure to read your policy carefully. For example, you might not be covered for boxes you pack, simply because there’s no way to verify the original condition of what’s inside the boxes. Most policies also have a deductible.

What is the best way to protect items during a move?

If you don’t want to purchase full value protection, we completely get it. There are some things you can do to help protect your household goods without buying third party insurance. The most important thing to do is pack well. The best way to do that is to have the moving company pack for you, but we understand that that’s not an option for some people.

When you pack, make sure your boxes are all new or in new condition. Put heavy items in small boxes. When packing breakables, use double corrugated dish packs with enough packing paper that it’s impossible for your breakables to rub together. Before sealing the box, pick it up and gently shake it. If you hear any movement at all, use more paper.

The most important thing to consider when it comes to moving insurance

Let us let you in on a little secret about the moving industry. There is no reason at all for one mover to be more expensive than another. Our costs in any given market are nearly identical. All legitimate moving company quotes should be within about 10 percent of each other. In fact, oftentimes, the cheapest mover will end up being more expensive than the ones who are more upfront, simply because you’ll find a lot of hidden charges during the move.

Now that you know the truth about pricing, your priority should always be to hire the best moving company you can find. Good moving companies aren’t going to skimp on supplies to protect your home and furniture. Their movers will have the experience to pack boxes and load the truck safely, with as little damage as possible. Be sure to check a company’s Yelp reviews. Ask for referrals. Perhaps even more importantly, see how long they’ve been in business.

At Ace Moving, we’ve been serving the Bay Area since 1984. We don’t have a huge marketing budget, so the vast majority of our business comes from referrals and repeat customers (we have some customers we’ve moved more than 5 times!). Longevity in the moving industry doesn’t mean you don’t ever have claims; it means that we have fewer claims and they are handled to customers’ satisfaction.