Do You Need Moving Insurance?

Fun (or not so fun) fact: The moment your possessions are loaded onto a moving truck, any damage that happens to them in transit is entirely your responsibility. They are no longer protected by your renters insurance and are only minimally covered by your movers.

That in mind, though the decision is obviously up to you, we think purchasing moving insurance is something you should strongly consider. Here’s why:

What will the moving company cover?

All moving companies are required by federal law to offer two types of moving coverage on out-of-state moves.

The first is is called released value protection. This is the most basic coverage. In layman’s terms, what it means is for ANYTHING you own that may get damaged or lost, you will be reimbursed at 60 cents per pound. It doesn’t matter if that’s a $1 million painting or a box of old sneakers. Everything is valued the same. This type of coverage is included in the quote they give you and is of no additional cost to you.

Needless to say, this isn’t great coverage.

The second is full-value protection. For this coverage, the company is responsible for reimbursing the total value of your goods. This type of protection is going to come at an additional cost, and has some caveats:

  • Firstly, the moving company decides how amends will be made for lost or damaged property. They can either replace your item, repair it or offer a cash settlement.

  • Second, this coverage DOES NOT APPLY to items valued at over $100 per pound.

This is a fairly comprehensive plan, but it definitely isn’t the best option if you have a lot of jewelry or other small but valuable items. In addition, while some moving companies may offer options like this for in-state moves, they are only required by law to offer it on out-of-state-moves.

So, moving insurance?

If you’ve made it this far into the post, you’re likely at least considering moving insurance. Woohoo! There are a few scenarios that can help you gain a better feeling of whether you need insurance or not:

1. If you’re moving Ikea-like furniture… or other fairly inexpensive things that you wouldn’t be absolutely devastated losing, you honestly don’t really NEED it. Moving insurance can often come with a high deductible which you may not reach if your Ikea coffee table breaks. In this case your insurance wouldn’t even help you. If you want to play it extra safe, then of course buying insurance still won’t hurt.

2. If you’re moving expensive antique tables, precious artwork, or lots of valuable jewelry… then you should DEFINITELY buy insurance. Look, we aren’t trying to say that movers are careless or don’t care about your things. 99% of the time, they do care, and they strive to do the best job they possibly can, but accidents happen. If your precious fine diamonds get lost in transit or your Restoration Hardware dining table cracks in half, you want to be covered.

3. Chances are, your move falls somewhere in between scenarios 1 and 2. In this case, it’s really a judgment call.

Some people are risk averse. Some are more open to taking chances. It really depends on you individually. In an ideal world, everything will be fine, but a lot of times it’s better to be safe than sorry.

ADDITIONAL TIP: If you only have a couple valuable things that you are worried about, and they’re not too large, maybe consider having those valuables on your person, where you know they’ll be safe.

Where do you purchase moving insurance?

There are numerous third-party companies who specialize in covering your move and have a variety of plans for you to choose from.

Sign up for Moved and your personal assistant will gather quotes for you to find the best option.

Best of luck with your move! We hope you love your new home :).

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What is a Certificate of Insurance?

Moving seems to stir up a hurricane of vital documents — leases, income verification letters, DMV forms, medical records, insurance policies…the list goes on!

If you’re using a moving company, there’s one document in particular you need to know your way around: the Certificate of Insurance.

As far as titles go, Certificate of Insurance seems fairly self-explanatory at first glance. Most people understand both what a certificate is and what insurance is, right? What’s important to understand about the Certificate of Insurance is more what it isn’t than what it is.

Let’s start with what it is

A Certificate of Insurance is an informational document stating the existence of an insurance agreement between two parties. In a moving context, it’s what moving companies provide to customers to prove that they do indeed have insurance. It also serves as a summary of the insurance contract, with easily digestible information about said contract.

This document will typically include the names and contact details of the moving company, the insured party (i.e. the person who’s moving) and the insurance company, as well as basic information regarding what is covered.

It’s important to realize however, that the Certificate of Insurance is not the actual insurance policy contract!

A Certificate of Insurance is an easy document for moving companies to whip up for people, to provide peace-of-mind and assure them their goods are protected and they’ll be compensated in case of damages. But it will never include all the details or actual terms of the contract.

Because of this, it’s essential to look at the policy as well, so you can be clear on exactly what is covered, what is not covered, how long things are covered, in what cases they are covered, what the exceptions are, etc.

If/when you get a Certificate of Insurance, you’ll want to make sure all the names are correctly represented, the policy dates are accurate (e.g. they don’t expire before the move date), and that the insurance company named is a legitimate company.

Why Get a Certificate of Insurance?

First of all, landlords and property owners/managers will often request a Certificate of Insurance from tenants moving out, since the very process of moving can sometimes lead to property damage.

If that situation applies to you, make sure to ask if you need to provide a Certificate of Insurance before you move. And again, if applicable, don’t forget to ask the landlord or property manager of the building that you’re moving to as well. The risk of property damage is just as high for moving in as moving out!

Secondly, requesting a Certificate of Insurance is an easy way to vet a moving company’s legitimacy. A refusal to provide you with a Certificate of Insurance for any reason is a clear red flag.

Of course, if you did your homework, and found a legitimate, trustworthy moving company (click here for tips on how to do that), you won’t have to worry too much about being scammed!

For more information on moving insurance, and what options are available to you, read our guide on the subject here.

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The Skinny On Moving Insurance: Do You Need It?

To effectively decide whether or not to buy moving insurance, you need to first understand what moving insurance options are available to you.

Moving Companies

Moving companies are required by Federal law to provide you with two liability coverage options, referred to as “valuation” options. Note there is a difference here between valuation, which is regulated by the FMSCA and insurance, which is separate liability coverage offered by third-party companies and regulated by the state.

The two valuation options are:

  • Released Value Protection (also referred to as minimal or declared value protection) — The moving company is liable for the total weight of your goods multiplied by 60 cents. So if your $300, 20-pound TV is damaged, the moving company is responsible for only $12. I’m sure you can see the limitations here! Understandably, this option is free and included in the moving contract.

  • Full Value Protection — The moving company is liable for the full value of your goods. If something is damaged, destroyed or lost, they will either repair the item, replace it with a same-value item, or reimburse you the cost of repairing/replacing the item. Note the “same-value” stipulation here: e.g. if your 2-year-old dryer is destroyed, you will get another 2-year-old dryer, not a new one. And Full Value protection does not cover anything worth more than $100/lb (jewelry, antiques, etc.) unless you specifically mention these items to the moving company. Prices for this option vary by moving company, and you’re usually required to purchase a minimum amount of coverage.

Homeowners/Renters Insurance

Homeowners and renters insurance will not help you much. During a move, personal items are typically only protected in case of theft. So if you drop and break a couch on your way out the door, it’s most likely not going to be covered. Some insurance policies will also partially cover damages that occur during transit, but usually only a paltry 10% of their value.

And don’t forget about the deductible, which still applies during moves. If something is stolen, but you haven’t met your deductible, you’re not going to get full coverage.

Other Options

You can talk to your homeowners/renters insurance agent about extending coverage with one of the following options, or purchase them through moving companies or third-party insurance companies.

  • Valued Inventory: You purchase coverage based on the value of your goods. Usually purchased in large chunks, e.g. multiples of $1000.

  • Transit Insurance: For damages that occur in the truck. This is a popular option, as most moving companies’ basic options donot cover this.

  • Total-Loss Coverage: For “acts-of-God”, e.g. fires, floods, freak asteroid strikes, etc. This option is all or nothing, and does not cover individual items.

  • Pairs and Sets Coverage: For items that can only be purchased together, e.g. a vanity mirror/cabinet set.

  • Mechanical and Electrical Derangement: Would cover, for example, a TV that looks fine on the outside but hasn’t worked since the move.


If you don’t have a lot of expensive things, you probably don’t need insurance. Just be careful with your stuff! And if you’re using a moving company, remember you get their basic coverage option free-of-charge.

If you have many special or expensive things, however, like jewelry, china-ware, antiques, electronics, etc., you’re likely better off purchasing extra insurance coverage, as neither moving companies nor your homeowners/renters insurance will offer much protection.

And if you feel you’re between the two options just mentioned — go with your gut!

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