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Moving Companies and Moving Insurance

Most homeowners and renters will move at least once in their lives. Many use moving companies to help them move their personal belongings. Although most professional movers do their best, mistakes happen.

If you're looking for a professional mover or moving company, you should also investigate options for protecting your belongings. Moving insurance can help you have peace of mind during a move.

Choosing a Moving Company

The first step in your move is deciding whether you need a moving company. Many people, especially those with few personal belongings, opt to move themselves. They may do the following:

  • Hire a moving truck
  • Pack up their personal belongings
  • Load and drive the moving truck
  • Unload and return the moving truck

By contrast, others opt for a moving company or full-service movers. At a bare minimum, these companies will successfully do the following:

  • Load your things onto the moving truck
  • Drive to your new home
  • Unload the moving van as directed

Whether you do it yourself or hire a company, moving insurance can help protect your belongings and peace of mind.

Understanding Moving Insurance

We use insurance to protect us financially from the unforeseen. Car insurance protects us from financial calamity if we get into an accident. Similarly, moving insurance protects us and our personal belongings when using a moving company. We don't have control over:

  • Weather
  • Natural disasters
  • Traffic conditions
  • Crime

Anything can occur during a move, especially a long-distance move. Moving inherently increases the risk of damage and loss to your belongings and high-value items. Insurance helps mitigate this risk.

Depending on the type of coverage you select, the insurance company will help make you whole for specific losses. You can get moving insurance if you contract with a moving company or decide to move your belongings independently.

Types of Moving Insurance Coverage

You have several options to get moving insurance. If you have renters' insurance or a homeowners insurance policy, you should verify whether this insurance covers moves. But it's unlikely that home insurance will offer robust protection during the moving process.

Federal law, through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (U.S. Department of Transportation), governs moving insurance for interstate movers. Interstate movers must offer the following two types of valuation coverage:

  • Full value protection
  • Released value protection

Valuation coverage refers to the set amount of money the policy covers.

Full Value Protection

Under this type of coverage, the mover must repair or replace, at current replacement value, any personal property damaged or destroyed during the move. Under this level of protection, if your personal property or valuable items get lost or damaged in your move, your mover must do one of the following:

  • Repair the item
  • Replace with an item of similar value
  • Offer a cash settlement

Released Value Protection

Released value protection (RVP) offers minimal basic coverage. Under this type of moving insurance, the movers will pay 60% of each pound of your personal property. Let's consider your $200 lamp that weighs 10 pounds. Under released value coverage, you will get six dollars if the movers break your lamp.

Third-Party Insurance

Third-party insurance is a state-regulated moving insurance option offered by your mover to supplement your released value coverage. This coverage option works in tandem with RVP. If you have RVP and this third-party insurance, you will recoup the full replacement value of the lamp in the last example. Instead of six dollars, you would receive $200. Please note that this section refers to third-party insurance offered by your mover, not an independent third-party insurer.

Other Types of Insurance Coverage

Third-Party Insurers

You can use a third-party insurer if you don't want to use either of the federally mandated-moving insurance options. As with other types of insurance, you must find an insurance provider offering moving coverage. This type of insurance is ideal for those who own high-value items. You should contact an insurance agent for more information on your third-party insurance options.

Resolving Disputes With Your Mover

In an ideal world, your entire move would go smoothly. The movers arrive on time, and your items arrive intact at your new destination. Unfortunately, moving is risky, and accidents and losses often occur. Here are a few tips to help you resolve any disputes with your movers:

  1. Read your contract
  2. Communicate, preferably in writing
  3. File a lawsuit
  4. File a complaint or arbitration
  5. Read your contract again

Once you sign a contract with a moving company, you're in a binding agreement with that company. The contract is your guide to all matters that arise. Be sure to read the contract carefully and hire an attorney if you need help understanding or interpreting what the contract means. Be sure to note the following:

  • Exclusions
  • Premiums
  • Deductibles

Make sure that you follow the guidelines outlined in your contract. For example, if your mover requires a detailed list of high-value items, provide that list before you move.


You can avoid many disputes through solid communication. Think of your move as a partnership with you and the moving company. The success of your move may rest on your willingness to communicate with the movers. For example, document everything in writing. This helps to preserve the record and protect all parties. If you must submit a list of valuable items, make sure the list is legible and accurate.

File a Complaint

You can file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) if you have experienced fraud. Please note there is no guarantee that the FMCSA will investigate your complaint. Alternatively, you can seek resolution through arbitration. The FMCSA requires that movers have an arbitration or dispute resolution system in place to cover customer disputes.

File a Lawsuit

You can also file a lawsuit if other options don't work. Filing a lawsuit includes the following:

  • Filing a complaint
  • Serving complaint
  • Court proceedings (if necessary)

Although you can likely file a lawsuit independently, you should seek legal help before attempting to do so.

Get Legal Help

Moving is a stressful experience with many parts. Finding the right insurance policy can prevent headaches and help ensure a successful move. A consumer protection attorney can help you at any stage, from signing the contract to filing a complaint. Speak to a consumer protection attorney today.

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