Buying Insurance: How to Cover Your Next Move
Gretchen Peters was living in Queens when she and her boyfriend decided to move in together. "I was only moving a short distance," she says. "I didn't even think about getting moving insurance. But my boyfriend got the insurance as part of the moving company's agreement when he helped me make arrangements."
While some may think the added expense of moving insurance is unnecessary, Peters will tell you otherwise -- especially as she witnessed her movers become part of a traffic accident.
Covering your move is fairly simple to do, especially if you plan to hire movers. And most moving companies will offer you some type of coverage -- just make sure you understand what they are offering so that you can decide what's best for you.
• Limited Liability Insurance
Also known as "Released Value Insurance," it's the minimum coverage required by law and should be free with any moving service. Unfortunately, it is also the least helpful in the event of damage. Your belongings are valued at 30-60 cents to the pound (if you cross state lines their value goes up). Therefore, a damaged 10-pound stereo will yield about $6 in returns.
• Declared Value Protection
With this type of moving insurance you will be able to replace damaged items at their depreciated value. (In other words, if your computer cost $1,000 three years ago, its relative value today will decrease by about 30 percent.) Further, this type of coverage is based on the value of your belongings measured by weight. Generally, you will pay $7 per $1,000 of liability assumed.
• Third Party Protection
Check with your moving company to make sure that it is allowed, but in some cases you can tack on additional insurance to whatever they are offering, in order to keep your costs down. If you choose Limited Liability coverage, for example, you will be able to recoup additional losses through a third party.
Damage to any of your belongings will be replaced or paid for at the discretion of the movers. If you opt for this plan, make sure you carefully document the state of your belongings with photographs, serial numbers and detailed descriptions, before the move. The higher the premium, the better the all-around protection, but it may be worth it for the extra peace of mind.
• Extraordinary Value Items
Antiques, collectibles, camera equipment, etc. all require additional insurance. Make sure you offer your moving company a list of such items in writing and find out their terms and conditions for coverage. You might want to look into third-party protection for items of particularly high value.
If you move yourself, remember to look into how much your homeowners insurance will cover. Also, find out about third-party insurers to see how much coverage you can get. Make sure you are clear on all the requirements, including how and when you move your items.
Your moving insurance protection will be based on not only who moves your items but who packs them. So make sure that you are clear on how your coverage will change, if you pack yourself. Find out what you have to do in order to make sure that your items are covered, in case something unforeseeable happens -- like a traffic accident.
When her moving truck was hit by a delivery van, Peters was thrilled to find out she could file a claim and replace her damaged kitchen appliances, as well as three boxes of glassware and dishes. "The damage was limited to the boxes at the back that fell out when the doors swung open in the accident," she explains. "But it would have been expensive -- after an already expensive move -- to have to replace all of that."
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