Insuring Your Long-Distance Move

By Samantha Alexander

Moving to another city or state can be both exciting and overwhelming. While you may be looking forward to exploring your new stomping grounds and settling into your new nest, something has to come first: the big move.

Let’s face it, moving anywhere — even just across town — is stressful. But packing up your whole life and getting it from point A to a far-flung point B in one piece is particularly daunting. While you’re busy tying up a million loose ends, don’t forget one of the most important elements of a long-distance move: insurance.

Whether you are hiring movers or doing it yourself, you should be aware of what coverage you have and what coverage you may need to protect yourself and your stuff while in transit. Here are a few insurance tips to help you along the way.

Before the move

  • Do your research. If you plan on hiring movers, do your research ahead of time to find a reputable company. Some companies even specialize in long-distance moves. Personal referrals are a good place to start. If you have any family members or friends who recently made a big move, ask if they recommend their moving company. If not, check out online reviews and do some company comparisons. In the end, you want to find a company you can trust to get the job done and move your things safely, even if you have to pay a bit more.
  • Create a home inventory. If you don’t already have one, now is a good time to create a home inventory. A home inventory is a detailed list of all the items in your home and what they are worth. When you are packing items into boxes, add them to your inventory. This way, when you unpack, you can check the items off and make sure they made it safely. If you are tech-savvy, a variety of smartphone apps can help speed the process. Prefer paper and pen? Print out this form to record your details.

Protection during the move

  • Home insurance coverage. Many homeowners think their home insurance policy will protect their belongings during a move, but that’s not always the case. Most homeowners’ and renters’ policies do offer limited coverage for your personal property while it’s in transit or in storage facilities. However, some standard home insurance policies may not provide coverage for your items if they are broken or damaged by the moving company. To be safe, call your insurance agent before the move to find out the coverage limits specific to your policy.
  • Auto insurance coverage. If you’re having your car towed by the moving company, you should also check the details of your auto insurance policy. If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, your personal auto insurance policy may cover your car while it’s in transit, but it’s always best to double check. If you are planning on renting a truck, you should ask your auto insurance agent if you’re covered, or if you should purchase additional coverage through the truck rental company. Many auto insurance policies exclude vehicles that exceed a given weight.
  • Moving company coverage. Every moving company is different, but many provide at least basic insurance coverage for your possessions. However, this coverage is based on the total weight of your items. Often, the movers assume liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per item. If you don’t want to chance it, full-value protection is usually offered at an additional cost. This coverage typically pays for full-value replacement or repair of lost, damaged or destroyed property. Whether you purchase additional coverage is up to you, but it’s usually better to be safe than sorry. Call your moving company and see what coverages it offers before you decide.

After the move

  • Check your inventory. Now that you’ve made it to your destination, it’s time to unpack. Luckily, your home inventory will make the process go much smoother. As you take items out of boxes, check them off your list. Report any lost or damaged items by filing a claim promptly to the moving company or your insurance company.
  • Reevaluate your insurance. Whether you are in a new city or a new state, revisit your home and auto insurance policies. A different house would call for a new home insurance policy, and location is one of the factors that determine premiums.

If you have any questions about insurance for your move, call your home insurance agent and go over your policy limits. Moving is always an exhausting process, but if you do it right, you can make a smooth transition into your new home.

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Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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