While health and automobile insurance are usually mandatory, moving insurance is optional when relocating to a new home or apartment. That said, damage is common on local and long-distance moves, and items may be lost, stolen, or destroyed by accidents, fires, and natural disasters.
Most movers offer free released-value coverage, but customers can also purchase more comprehensive full-value replacement coverage.
When moving company valuation isn’t enough, consumers can buy moving insurance coverage from a third-party insurer.
This post will examine a few of the most prominent players in the third-party moving insurance industry and what to watch out for when considering policies.
Before reading on, check out these helpful resources:
- Moving Cost Calculator – Just enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move.
- Best Interstate Movers – We’ve handpicked the best long-distance moving companies to choose from.
- Best Moving Container Companies – For a more budget-friendly option, consider using a moving container.
Valuation vs. moving insurance – what’s the difference?
Though it’s often referred to as “moving insurance,” the valuation offered by moving companies isn’t technically insurance at all. Valuation limits the mover’s liability if items get lost, damaged, or destroyed while in the company’s possession.
On the other hand, moving insurance purchased from third-party companies is actually insurance.
- Most moving companies offer free released-value protection of .60 cents per pound per item (it’s mandatory on interstate moves)
- Optional full-value replacement coverage valuation can only be purchased from moving companies
- Moving insurance is only available through third-party insurers
The big players in third-party moving insurance
These days more consumers are using the internet to find, vet, and hire movers and brokers.
Instead of pushing valuation coverage, many movers now refer their customers to third-party insurance companies.
As a result, the third-party moving insurance business has grown by leaps and bounds.
That said, a blanket disclaimer is in order.
We’re not recommending or endorsing any of the following companies.
Here’s why –
While researching for this post, we found that:
- The third-party moving insurance world is murky and difficult to navigate
- The terms of individual moving insurance policies are very restrictive and difficult to understand
- Most companies have poor overall ratings on various review sites
Now without further ado – the biggest names in third-party moving insurance.
Headquartered in: Arlington, Virginia
Founded in: 1972
BBB rating and accreditation: A+ rating but unaccredited
UNIRISC at a glance:
- Long track record of insuring the possessions of private individuals and corporate transferees moving domestically and internationally
- Various products, including expatriate renters insurance, vacant home insurance, and supplemental movers and van line insurance
- Policy add-ons to cover damage and loss caused by vermin infestation, mold and mildew, and acts of God
- Works with more than 1/3 of Fortune 100 companies
2. Baker International
Headquartered in: Lewisville, Texas
Founded in: 1981
BBB rating and accreditation: Accredited with an A+ rating
Baker International at a glance:
- Provides comprehensive household goods insurance products for private individuals and corporate transferees moving domestically and internationally
- Insures automobiles shipped with household goods
- Policies for high-value items, electronics, and office and industrial equipment
- Free online quotes
3. Relocation Insurance Group, LLC/MovingInsurance.com
Headquartered in: Montclair, New Jersey
Founded in: 2003
BBB rating and accreditation: A+ rating but unaccredited
Relocation Insurance Group at a glance:
- An innovator in the online moving insurance niche
- Free online quotes
- Works with 3,000+ movers and self-storage providers across the country
- Policies sold in all 50 states and multiple foreign countries
- Insures household goods and office/industrial equipment moving domestically and internationally
How much does third-party moving insurance cost?
Third-party moving insurance policies generally cost between 1 and 4% of the total declared value.
- A $100,000 interstate moving insurance policy with no deductible may cost $4,000
- The same policy with a $3,000 deductible may cost just $1,000
Value is usually determined by multiplying the estimated weight of the household goods shipment by $6 per pound.
Customers can declare a higher value and pay the associated rate when this isn’t adequate.
Costs vary from company to company and depend on location, deductible, and specific policy terms.
Take online insurance quotes with a grain of salt. Since no two moves are alike, it’s best to contact each company for a custom quote.
What we found when researching third-party moving insurance companies
Most third-party moving insurance companies have poor ratings on public review sites like Yelp and TrustPilot.
Disgruntled customers consistently mention:
- Poor communication
- Endless paperwork
- Having legitimate claims denied
- Getting far less reimbursement than expected
We found it challenging to determine which reviews were for which company on some sites, mainly because names didn’t match up and business addresses were different.
In addition, some companies had glowing reviews that seemed suspicious.
Some “customers” raved about their insurer’s top-notch customer service, only to state at the end of their review that they never filed a claim.
Most unhappy customers said the company denied their claims after weeks (or months) of jumping through hoops, filling out paperwork, and responding to emails.
Did you know?
Some third-party moving insurance companies only provide policies to customers who use movers from their approved vendor lists.
When does third-party moving insurance make sense?
Some consumers use third-party moving insurance to supplement the released-value coverage offered by most moving companies.
Just remember that:
- Loss and damage are only covered when caused by events included explicitly in the policy
- Some policies cover individual items, while others only cover total loss due to vehicular accidents, fire, and natural disasters
- You’ll only know what your insurance covers by reading the “fine print”
Unsurprisingly, moving insurance policies are wordy, chock-full of legal terms, and generally difficult to understand.
Sadly, many customers find out that their type of coverage isn’t nearly as comprehensive as they thought it was.
What to look for in your moving insurance policy
Most moving insurance policies only cover named perils.
In other words, coverage is limited to what’s included explicitly in your policy.
When considering third-party moving insurance companies and policies, keep an eye out for the following:
- Natural disasters (acts of God) like hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes
- Riots, wars, revolutions, revolts, and coups
- Coverage for sets and pairs (you may be compensated to replace an entire set if one item is damaged or destroyed)
- Unseen mechanical or electrical damage
- Mold and mildew coverage
- Moth, bug, and invasive vermin coverage
- Storage in transit (for temporary storage between your old and new residences)
Tips for substantiating loss and damage and speeding up the claims process
1. Read your moving insurance policy thoroughly (and make sure to get all your questions answered adequately)
2. Take photos of your most valuable possessions before you move
3. Point out high-value items to your movers (you should list valuable items on a separate high-value inventory)
4. Let the movers pack items of extraordinary value (or take them with you)
5. Pack everything else carefully (valuation and moving insurance may not cover items you pack yourself)
6. Report claims as soon as possible (all policies have time limits)
7. Be patient and persistent
The verdict – is moving insurance worth it?
Moving insurance isn’t for everyone.
Sometimes, it provides little more than a false sense of security.
When legitimate claims are denied (which they often are), it’s a colossal waste of money.
Moving insurance may be worth considering for large shipments that include high-value personal belongings.
Either way, we suggest taking precious and irreplaceable items with you.
Frequently asked questions (faqs)
Will my renters or homeowners insurance policy cover moving?
Some policies cover moving and storage, but most don’t. Since each insurance policy is different, it’s best to check with your agent.
Do moving insurance policies cover storage?
Many do, but only when storage is addressed explicitly in the policy. If it’s not, you won’t be covered.
Can I buy moving insurance if I’m using a moving container?
Some third-party moving insurance policies cover container moves. However, you’re only covered if your policy specifically includes moving containers.
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