On the Move? Make Sure You're Covered

By Kelly K. Spors
May 22, 2005

If you're moving this summer, get enough insurance in case the truck hits a pothole along the way.

There's a pretty good chance it might. One in five consumers moving across state borders files a loss or damage claim with the mover, according to the American Moving and Storage Association.

Under federal law, movers must automatically give 60 cents per pound of replacement coverage to any customer moving between states. But this means your $100 stereo that weighs 10 pounds would collect only $6 in coverage. Translation: It's usually not enough.

Movers may offer less coverage for in-state moves, although many give the full 60 cents.

Before buying extra coverage, check your homeowners insurance to see if it includes any moving coverage. Many policies cover some damage to possessions during a move, but only for traditional home risks such as theft or fire damage, says Jeanne Salvatore, a representative for the Insurance Information Institute. Most homeowners policies won't cover moving damage or "breakage," though some do.

Once you know your free coverage, take careful inventory of everything you're moving and its worth. You might check your homeowners policy for a ballpark estimate.

Buy enough extra insurance so it covers the gap between your free coverage and the total coverage value you need. Movers generally sell what's called full-value coverage, based on a minimum $4 per pound of goods transported. That costs an average $298 for a typical 8,000-pound move, says MaryScott Tuck, director of transportation statistics for AMSA. The mover can fix, replace or pay you cash for the damaged possessions.

Some insurance companies like Baker International also sell moving insurance, usually for a comparable price. For instance, you can insure $20,000 worth of goods for $360 with a $250 deductible, according to, an online insurance provider. These policies cover the actual replacement value of your belongings.

One last thing: Compare deductibles before picking a policy.

Most accidents occur when you least expect them or when you're not covered for them.

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