You’ve done your homework. You bought a new home in a new city. You got in-home estimates from three reputable moving companies. Your moving company showed up on time and well equipped to pack and load all your belongings. Then you allowed a group of people to drive it off into the sunset. Even with your excellent preparation and organization, you’re still tense.
It makes sense. Moving can be one of the most stressful events in your life. However, there is another way to ease the stress of a group of people transporting your most prized possessions.
Valuation coverage is a way to give you added protection and peace of mind during your move, in case of a moving incident or disastrous accident.
But, as if you weren’t already stressed out enough, valuation coverage can be a confusing subject. That’s where we’re here to help.
Isn’t valuation coverage just insurance?
No, valuation coverage is not insurance. This is a common misunderstanding.
Insurance is sold by licensed insurance companies or agents. Insurance provides coverage for loss or damage due to acts of God, fire, and unforeseen events. If a hailstorm rolls through during your move and destroys all of your stuff, your insurance company would cover it.
Valuation coverage is provided by moving companies. It provides coverage for loss or damage due to events within the mover’s control. For example, if a mover trips walking up the stairs and drops a vase, with valuation, you’re covered. However, if that hailstorm rolls through during your move and destroys all of your stuff, the moving company wouldn’t be responsible.
How much does valuation coverage cost?
By law, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires moving companies to offer two types of valuation coverage: released value protection and full value protection.
Released value protection is built into your move quote, so there is no additional cost. The cost of full value protection depends on the level of coverage you choose based on the weight of your shipment.
What is released value protection?
Released value protection covers your shipment at $0.60 per pound, up to $50 per item. The protection of your goods is based on their weight and not their actual value.
This means that if your $800, 100-pound, 60” flat screen television breaks, the moving company would compensate you $50. Obviously, you should think carefully before agreeing to such an arrangement.
If you choose this basic valuation coverage option, you must sign your bill of lading to indicate that decision.
What is full value protection?
Full value protection covers your shipment based on the value you assign it. If the mover breaks or damages something, the moving company has three options: repair the item, replace the item, or offer a cash settlement for the item.
This means that if your three-year old washing machine is damaged, the mover will choose to either repair the current washing machine, replace it with a comparable three-year old washing machine, or pay you a cash settlement for the current market value of a three-year old washing machine.
How much coverage do I need?
The amount of coverage you need depends on your own preference. The moving and storage industry standard is $6.00 per pound. However, some independent insurance companies suggest a valuation between $8.00 – $12.00 per pound for your household goods. You can also determine the value of your belongings by referring to your homeowner’s insurance policy to see the noted value of the contents of your home.
How long do I have to file a claim?
The amount of time you have to file a claim for damaged or loss of goods depends on the type of move:
- For local moves, you have 10 days after the delivery date to file a claim.
- For intrastate moves, you have 30 days after the delivery date to file a claim.
- For interstate moves, you have 9 months after the delivery date to file a claim.
- For all military and government moves, you have 75 days after the delivery date to notify the carrier about the damage or missing items. Then you have 9 months after the delivery date to file a claim.
What limits the mover’s liability?
- Failure to declare items of extraordinary value (those valued at more than $100.00 per pound) on your shipping documents.
- Failure to promptly report loss and damage of goods (timelines vary by moving company and type of move, so check with your mover)
- Packing perishable, dangerous, or hazardous materials without your mover’s knowledge.
- Packing or unpacking your own boxes.
Do you have any other questions about valuation coverage? Leave a comment below and we’ll get you an answer.