Your Moving Company Insurance Options

Chris Noblit
All about moving company insurance

To start, it must be noted that moving companies do not offer traditional "insurance." Rather, movers offer "tariff based loss/damage liability" which moving companies call "valuation." Although mover's "valuation" functions much the same as "insurance" when loss or damage occurs, it has distinct differences and it is incorrect to refer to movers valuation as "insurance" (we do so in the title and content of this article so that customers are able to discern the scope of this article). Here is an article which explains the difference between mover's valuation and insurance which may help you understand the difference between moving company "valuation" and traditional "insurance" products.

And now onto the information you need...

Moving companies are licensed by the New York State Department of Transportation (for intrastate moves...moves which take place within New York State) and/or by the Federal Department of Transportation (for interstate moves...moves from one state to a different state). Each of these government entities mandate that all movers must (at no additional cost to the customer) include the basic loss/damage liability of up to 60 cents ($0.60) per pound per article in their moving rates. This level of protection is provided at no additional cost to the customer; however, it provides only minimal protection for loss or damage to your belongings. Under this option, the mover assumes liability for loss or damage of no more than 60 cents ($0.60) per pound per article. This means that loss and/or damage claims are settled based on the weight of the individual lost or damaged article multiplied by 60 cents. For example, if a 50-pound television which was valued at $500 were to be lost or destroyed, the mover would be liable for no more than $30.00 (50 pounds multiplied by 60 cents = $30.00).
As an alternative, most moving companies offer the optional full replacement value loss/damage protection which is offered with (up to) three (3) different levels of deductible...

  1. If you are moving from one state to another state, the cost for such optional full replacement value loss/damage protection is outlined on page #2 of the Atlas Van Lines cost estimate we have provided (look for the table outlining the cost of the different deductible levels below the words "Full Value Protection (FVP)."
  2. If you are moving within New York State, the cost for such optional full replacement value loss/damage protection is outlined on page #1 of the Probable Cost of Services estimate we have provided in the area below the text "Notes & Important Information Regarding Your Move."

Regardless of the type of loss/damage liability you select it is important for you to understand that – regardless of which loss/damage liability option you choose -- movers are not liable for damage to contents of owner packed boxes or containers. However, if the mover packs the box then the mover is liable for damage to the contents of the mover-packed box (but only according to the type of loss/damage liability which you choose).

A third option which you should be aware of is that if you have homeowner's or renter's insurance in effect during the time that the mover is in possession of your household goods and personal effects your homeowners or renters policy may -- at no additional cost -- provide you with insurance coverage which you may deem adequate. You must contact your insurance broker to determine if you have such coverage already included in your policy and to determine the extent of such coverage, if any. 
Please note that, unless we hear back from you, we will set up your job with the free 60 cents ($0.60) per pound per article loss/damage liability by default. In addition, if you want to select the optional full replacement value protection for your move you must notify us in writing via email advising us of your loss/damage choice.

As always, if you have any questions or need any additional information please don't hesitate to contact us.

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