Homeowners insurance policies typically include personal property coverage. This coverage protects the items your own – your furniture, electronics, clothing, and so forth. If these items are stolen or damaged in a fire, your insurance company will pay to replace them. But what if you decide to move? Will your homeowners insurance pay for items that are damaged during the move? It depends.
Most homeowners insurance policies offer some level of personal property coverage that applies during a move. However, we need to dig deeper for a better understanding of what, exactly, is covered and how that coverage applies.
If you read your homeowners insurance policy, you may notice it lists certain covered perils. Your personal property is only truly covered if it is lost or damaged by one of these covered perils. Common examples include fire and theft.
These same covered perils come into play whether your items are at home or in a moving truck. For example, if your policy lists theft as a covered peril and an item is stolen out of the back of a moving truck, you’ll be covered. However, please note that many homeowner policy do exclude theft away from premises (away from home).
We do recommend that you take the insurance coverage offered to you by your moving company since coverage perils are very limited and what they offer will provide broader protection.
Every homeowners insurance policy has a personal property coverage limit. The limit is the maximum amount that your insurance will award for loss or damage to personal property. For example, if you have a coverage limit of $10,000, then your insurer will award you no more than $10,000 when your items are damaged or stolen – even if the value of the damaged property is higher.
Some insurance companies have lower coverage limits during a move. Or, your insurer may limit your coverage to catastrophic damage during a move. In other words, if your items are completely ruined during a move, your insurer will cover them. But they won't cover minor property damage, such as a tear in a sofa or stain on a chair.
If your current policy’s coverage limits are much lower than the total value of the items you’re moving, talk with your insurance agent. You can often increase your coverage limit for a slightly higher premium.
A deductible is the amount that you have to pay towards a claim before your insurance coverage kicks in. Say, for example, you lose $5,000 worth of furniture in a move, and you have a $1,000 deductible. You would pay the first $1,000 to replace the furniture, and your insurance would pay the remaining $4,000.
If you have a relatively high deductible, then it may not be worth filing a claim for minor moving damage. For instance, if a $500 chair is damaged during your move, but you have a $1,000 deductible, there’s no reason to file a claim. It’s cheaper for you to replace the chair out-of-pocket.
Some people lower the deductible on their insurance policy before a move. This gives you peace of mind as you won’t have to pay as much out-of-pocket if your items are lost, stolen, or damaged. Most companies offer deductibles as low as $250, although you will pay more for this level of coverage.
While there are some limits on coverage, it is very important to have an active homeowners insurance policy during a move. Such a policy will protect you in the case of theft or a catastrophic accident. Review your policy well in advance of your move, and speak to your agent if you want to increase your deductible, raise your coverage limit, or add additional covered perils.
If you are moving, please discuss options with your agent to ensure you have proper protection against a significant loss.