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Moving Insurance: How Much Do You Really Need?

moving insurance graphic

It’s nearly time. The closing is scheduled, you’ve started to pack and before you know it, it will be time to make the big move to your new Waterloo Region home. You are so organised that you’ve begun calling movers for quotes, although you are still considering the DIY route as an alternative.

The one thing that keeps cropping up when you are calling movers though is extra insurance; they keep trying to sell it to you, even the self-drive truck rental companies. And all you can think is ‘this will cost us enough already, is this extra insurance really worth paying for or am I just being upsold on services I don’t need?’

The Perils of Moving

Even if your move, in terms of distance, will be a relatively short one, even with the best-laid plans – and/or the best movers – things can, and sometimes do, go wrong. And the simple fact is that whether you plan on hiring a professional mover or do it yourself with a U-Haul truck, insurance is an essential thing to consider.

Moving companies, in general, offer very basic insurance coverage for your goods for a standard move. By law, they are required to offer $.60 per pound per item. Sounds good right? Maybe not, once you do the maths.

The average big screen Smart TV weighs between 75 and 100 pounds. That means that the most you could expect to recoup if it’s damaged is $60. Which is obviously a lot less than you paid for it. And that’s just one of the things you’ll be moving. What about your expensive computers, furniture, antiques, and other valuables? Sadly, they all fall into the same category and would be covered, under a basic insurance policy, at the same level.

Things get even bleaker if you opt to go the DIY route. If you are moving with a moving truck rental, the risks are higher for accidental damage, bodily injury, and third-party damages increase. You won’t even get that 0.60 per pound for your TV for starters, because if you – or your friend – drop it well, it’s on you, unless you opt for additional insurance to cover such eventualities.

8 Simple Steps to Choosing Your Level of Cover

You’ve decided that OK, yes extra insurance is probably a good idea. But it’s not over yet. You’ll then find that you are offered different levels of coverage. Which one of those should you opt for? You do want to be covered but you don’t want to overpay. With this in mind here is an eight-point checklist you can make use of to help you determine the level of coverage that’s right for you.

  1. Make a list of all of the ‘significant items’ you will be moving. This should include appliances and electronics, glassware, furniture. Also, jot down the number of pieces and their estimated weight.
  2. Beside each item, write down what you think the replacement value is, meaning what it would cost you to replace each item if it did meet a sticky end.
  3. For art and antiques, if you don’t already you should get a professional evaluation, rather than going on a basic guestimate or on a piece of advice you read online (especially if you read it on eBay, as their valuations tend to be way off.)
  4. Take pictures of all the items to help you keep track of the inventory and in case you need to make a claim after the move.
  5. Add up the number of ‘significant items’ you will be moving and their total weight and value.
  6. Interview moving companies and determine the level of cover provided. While the majority of movers only provide basic cover, there are moving companies that also provide higher insurance with their moving rates. This could be a big plus financially, so keep it in mind when you’re comparing estimates (you should get at least three by the way)
  7. Check the proposed moving contract to determine if the moving company’s estimated value of your possessions matches with your own list. If it doesn’t then that is something you may have to be willing to ‘hash out’ with them.
  8. Ask movers questions – as many as you feel you need to – about their claims process. Yes, it’s terrible to have to think about moving disasters when you are so excited to be moving to a new home, but better to be safe than sorry.

You can also speak to your own current insurance company to check if your goods are covered by your homeowner’s insurance during relocation. They may very well be if you intend to stick with the same company after your move. And in any case, as the insurance business is a very competitive one it never hurts to ask, you never know what kind of deal you might be able to score!

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