Series: Owners

Does Renters Insurance Cover Moving

Posted on May 28, 2020
Does Renters Insurance Cover Moving?
For most, moving is a nightmare—and hopefully an infrequent one. The packing, the unpacking, the purging, the cleaning, and, ultimately, the actual moving itself is as exhausting as it is annoying.

With all the chaos of shifting your personal belongings from one place to another, it is easy for things to get damaged or go missing during transit. Some have the luxury of hiring professional movers to do all the heavy lifting, but even this service does not always guarantee all your personal possessions will arrive in their new home unscathed. Though a professional moving company may come with a higher price point, employing experts can help reduce any potential damage caused to your items that would otherwise come with an even higher cost to replace.

For those with especially valuable items—like laptops, camera equipment, guitars, or art—you might already have renters insurance for personal property coverage.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
The question is, however, does renters insurance cover moving and any personal property damaged while under the care of movers? Furthermore, would belongings moved by a renters insurance policyholder’s own two hands even be covered? Would the policyholder be able to avoid paying out-of-pocket expenses in this scenario?
The answer is: likely not.

While Zeus Living—which offers beautifully furnished homes for stays of a month or longer—is an excellent option for a temporary home while your new home is being prepared, that does not change the fact that you still have to move.

Read on to find out more about renters insurance and how to make sure all of your precious belongings are protected from the rigors of moving!

What Is Renters Insurance?
For those who are unfamiliar with the purpose of a renter’s policy, here is a quick overview.

Also referred to as “tenants’ insurance,” renters insurance moving coverage is an insurance policy that is similar to homeowners insurance, but does not cover the dwelling or home itself. Instead, it provides liability insurance where the tenant’s personal property is covered against damage from fires, theft, and vandalism.

  • Off-Premises Coverage - While most renters insurance policies will not cover any personal property damaged while moving, certain policies may help cover your belongings in instances of theft.
    • If some or all of your belongings are stolen out of your car as you move, for example, most renters policy plans may provide full or partial coverage within the limits stated in the plan. However, it is important to keep in mind that renters insurance may have lower coverage limits for belongings while they are away from your home.

While renters insurance will not likely cover damage to your belongings incurred via moving, there are many other options that do.

#1 Protection Offered By Moving Companies
Hiring a moving company not only protects your back from bodily injury when lifting heavy furniture but also protects your belongings from being damaged during transit.

Aside from being professional movers who know their way around a box truck, most moving companies are liable for all of your personal possessions from the moment they begin moving or handling your items until they have arrived in your new home. Moving companies typically offer two types of liability options:

  • Full Value Protection - For an additional cost, a full value protection agreement makes the moving company liable for the replacement costs of any lost, damaged, or stolen property.

The most comprehensive of the two insurance coverage plans, this policy not only covers the cost to repair broken items, but also the cost to replace them with similar items as well as offer a cash settlement for the item at its market value.

The only proviso of full value protection is that some items are explicitly excluded—such as jewelry, fine silverware, furs, antiques, et al. As with any kind of contract, it is important to always read the fine print.

  • Released Value Protection - This type of protection is usually offered free of charge by the moving companies as it is far less comprehensive than the full value protection.

Released value protection generally covers only 60 cents per pound, per item the moving company is liable for.

If a moving company broke your brand new 15-lb coffee table that had a market value of $5,000, for example, they would only offer you $9 to repair or replace it.

Both of these protection agreements are ways to ensure you against financial losses caused by the mover-for-hire, however, they are not technically insurance policies. They are actually considered tariffs of liability that are authorized by the U.S. Department of Transportation which means they are not regulated or governed by state insurance laws.

Depending on the value of your belongings, either of these liability protection plans could be helpful during the moving process. However, between the two plans, renters are strongly urged to purchase the full value protection over the released value to ensure homeowners pay as few out-of-pocket expenses as possible in the case that an item is damaged during the moving process.

#2 Valuable Belongings Coverage

If you have extremely valuable belongings and are hiring a standard moving company, then there is no question that full value protection is the safest bet.

Similar to renters insurance, though, the coverage has caveats—as mentioned above. It is important to fully understand the coverage options and what is included and excluded, as each moving company will likely have different liability insurance agreements. Be sure to shop around and compare agreements to find the one that best suits your needs.

If no standard moving companies have the type of coverage you desire—say, for extremely high-end or especially fragile items such as an art collection, grand piano, or valuable antiques—then there are other options for personal property coverage.

  • Specialty Moving Companies - While most of your personal belongings may be safe to move with a traditional moving company, some items, such as the aforementioned art collection, could be separately moved with a specialty moving company.
    • These types of companies might offer a different type of full value protection agreement which could include a higher claim limit per item, specialty contracts and agreements, or even utilize a third-party moving insurance policy for liability protection.
  • If You Want Something Done Right, Do it Yourself - In addition to hiring a moving company to transport your boxes and larger items, another option for your especially valuable or sentimental personal possessions such as jewelry, gemstones, and furs, is transporting them yourself.
    • This may seem obvious but it can be easy for little things like this to get swept up in the chaos of moving. Pack these things first, label them, stow them in a special area and drive them directly from your old home to your new home. Leaving them in the car unattended poses a high risk of theft or vandalism.
#3. Third-Party Moving Insurance

In some cases with standard moving companies, they might offer the additional purchase of a third-party moving insurance policy. These policies differ from the value protection agreements in that third-party policies are legitimate insurance plans that are subject to regulations by individual states in the U.S.

  • Type of Coverage - Unlike renters insurance, if any of your belongings are broken, damaged or missing, the moving company will pay the released value of the property while the third-party insurance provider will cover any remaining expenses.
  • Homeowners Insurance Policy - Depending on the policy, some homeowners insurance plans might include coverage for moving, essentially acting as a third-party insurance provider against moving damages incurred on your property.
  • Endorsements - Also called riders or options, endorsements give policyholders the opportunity to raise the insurance claim limit of a specific category, such as jewelry or musical instruments. It is like purchasing additional coverage for personal property that you or the insurance company deem as especially or unusually valuable.
    • Riders are typically cheaper than purchasing scheduled floaters (see below) as they only increase the limit of a particular category.
  • Scheduled Floater - An item that is scheduled, which is also known as a “floater” policy, offers coverage on a specific single item or collection versus an entire category. As opposed to an endorsement, floaters provide a much more comprehensive coverage plan and can cover claims outside of moving such as accidental loss (something not generally covered by a renters insurance policy).

Before the big move, do your research. Itemize your most valuable items so you can make an informed decision about what type of coverage you want from a moving company or third-party insurance provider. When moving day comes, you will be glad you did.

Moving Insurance Costs

Whether you are renting an apartment, condo, townhouse or single-family home, moving insurance costs will vary due to a number of factors including but not limited to:

  • The amount of coverage needed
  • The policy’s deductible
  • The types of items being moved
  • The distance the items are traveling
  • The value of the items being moved

Obviously, the farther the move, the higher the cost. A person making a transcontinental move, for example, who is insuring $25,000 worth of personal property may pay anywhere from $200 to $1,000.

It is important to note, that though renters insurance is relatively affordable—generally ranging from around $10 to $30 per month—it does not make sense to protect your valuable personal items in your home only to allow them to be uninsured and susceptible to perils while moving.

Should I Get Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance offers peace of mind for those with especially valuable items even when they’re not moving, and its low cost makes it a relatively easy decision to make. If, for example, you frequently travel with your $5,000 laptop, renters insurance can ensure that your precious property is protected.

It can also come in handy if you often rent out your home or sublet a room, protecting your property from those unfortunate moments of theft. If you’re interested in renting out your home, the Zeus Living team is there to assist you every step of the process.

Sources:

Value Penguin. Does Renters Insurance Cover moving?

https://www.valuepenguin.com/does-renters-insurance-cover-moving

Policy Genius. Does Renters Insurance Cover Moving?

https://www.policygenius.com/renters-insurance/does-renters-insurance-cover-moving/

All State. I move around a lot. What Should I Know About Renters Insurance?

https://www.allstate.com/tr/renters-insurance/ask-agent-renters-moving.aspx

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