You packed everything carefully for the move to your new place. But sadly, your mug collection didn’t make it. Who’s at fault and how can you make sure that your belongings are fully covered?
Here’s what you need to know about homeowner’s insurance, what’s covered and what’s not during a move.
First, let’s start at home.
Your homeowner’s or renter’s policy covers your belongings (owned or used by you, the insured) when they are anywhere in the world. You are covered under personal property coverage. If your possessions are stolen, or damaged by fire/smoke or any of 16 named “perils,” your policy will pay for them subject to your deductible. Not everything is a named peril; for example, breakage and missing items do not qualify. Also, there are dollar limits for theft of certain items, such as jewelry and firearms.
You may choose the replacement cost or the actual cash value (ACV) for reimbursement in personal property coverage. ACV is the amount the item is worth, minus depreciation for its age. It will cost a little more for a policy that provides replacement cost since that is higher than ACV.
When does your policy cover a move?
The good news is that both homeowner’s and renter’s policies may provide coverage when you are moving your belongings if you move yourself instead of hiring movers. (Your insurance won’t cover damages when your property is in the possession of a third party, like a moving company.) Importantly, the loss still has to be related to a covered peril. So, if your belongings catch fire, that would fall under covered perils. You could file a claim for reimbursement. Depending on the state and the policy, items in a storage unit damaged by named perils could be covered, but limited to 10% of your coverage C limit.
You will need to get a separate liability policy, such as relocation, trip transit insurance or special perils content coverage. You also can get a floater policy for valuables. For example, you can insure for breakage of art glass windows, glassware, statuary, marble, bric-a-brac, porcelains and similar fragile articles. Your insurer will cover loss by breakage if caused by: (1) fire or lightning; (2) explosion, aircraft or collision; (3) windstorm, earthquake or flood; (4) malicious damage or theft; or (5) derailment or overturn of a conveyance.
Your rental truck contract may provide coverage that includes cargo protection. Your basic auto policy does not extend to renting “trucks” so you will need to purchase additional insurance.
When doesn’t your policy cover a move?
Your homeowner’s or renter’s policy will not cover damage caused by your movers. Nor will it cover items lost by your movers. You’ll have to contract with your moving company for that type of coverage. The coverage that moving companies provide is not technically insurance and not governed by state insurance laws.
The federal government requires movers to offer two types of protection if you’re moving out of state. These include full value protection and released value protection. Full value offers replacement value for your lost or damaged possessions. Released value offers only limited protection. Some movers offer a separate liability coverage through third-party insurance company.
What to do before a move
- Review your moving contract. Understand what’s covered and what is not.
- Determine the type of coverage you need for your possessions, if any.
- Some circumstances will limit your mover’s liability. For example, if you packed your items, and they are broken enroute, it’s possible you will not get paid even if you purchased their moving coverage. Perishable and hazardous materials also aren’t usually covered.
- Check with your state moving association to know the rules and regulations in your state, or in the state where you are moving.
- Talk to your insurer to know what your homeowner’s or renter’s policy covers, and to make sure that you will have full coverage in your new home.
- Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety website for resources and tools to help make it a smooth move.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.