Insuring your international move
Insuring Your International Move
When you move to another country, you need to hire a quality international moving company to transport your belongings. You also need to make sure your belongings are protected with the right international moving insurance.
Why Do You Need International Moving Insurance?
It’s always smart to get your belongings insured when you move. Just think about all your stuff—furniture, clothes, electronics and more—and how devastated you’d be if something happened to them. A lot can happen during a move. Electronics break. Furniture gets scuffed. Sometimes boxes go missing. There are also unexpected perils such as fires, marine accidents, motor vehicle accidents, warehouse floods and more. Even the most reputable moving companies can’t guarantee that nothing will go wrong.
International moves pose even more risk. There are longer distances and more stops, which add up to more opportunities for something to go wrong. International moving insurance is essential.
Where Can You Obtain International Moving Insurance?
You can obtain insurance from several sources:
- Your homeowners or renters insurance policy: This is a possibility, but not a very likely one. Most homeowners and renters insurance policies exclude coverage for your valuables while they are away from your home, or in transit. International coverage is especially rare. Before you assume you’re covered, talk to your insurance agent and read the fine print.
- Your moving company: Your moving company may offer you insurance. Get the policy in writing, and make sure you’re satisfied with the coverage limits. Remember that if you purchase coverage from your movers they are not a one-stop shop. In case of a claim, you will be referred to another insurance agency or claims service for your claim’s handling. If the movers offers valuation, it’s important to understand that valuation is not the same as insurance. Valuation is the amount of liability a moving company will accept for the value of your goods if damaged or lost while in their possession. Valuation is limited to the moving company's own coverage, and in all cases, its recovery/payout amount will be much less than the value of your lost/damaged items.
- A third-party moving insurance provider: Third-party moving insurance is a smart way to find a good deal. You can choose between All Risk insurance, Named Perils or Total Loss insurance coverage. When you purchase insurance from a third party moving insurance provider, you will be dealing with a professional insurance entity. Additional details about these coverage options are included below.
What Type of International Moving Insurance Should You Obtain?
- All Risk: If you want complete coverage, you want All Risk moving insurance. You pay to have your belongings packed by professionals, and those individual belongings are insured against damage or loss. Unless the terms and conditions exclude a specific item or type of damage, this gives you complete protection against anything that could go wrong. Coverage is much more comprehensive, and can even include protection against mold and mildew – a common international moving exposure.
- Named Perils: This moving insurance coverage provides more protection than Total Loss, but not as much protection as All Risk coverage. It only covers losses that are caused by the perils named in the policy terms and conditions. Common named perils for goods in transit include: vehicle accident, rollover accident, fire, lightning, smoke, theft and some types of burglary. If you purchase a named perils policy, it’s important to know which exposures you are insured against.
- Total Loss: Packing your own boxes and insuring them with Total Loss Insurance is one way to save money. Total Loss Insurance does not cover damage to individual items. You packed those items, so you’re responsible for them making it to the destination intact. Total Loss Insurance provides coverage only if the entire shipment is completely lost or destroyed. In other words, it covers your belongings in the unlikely case of complete catastrophe, but it does not help with more common, and more minor, incidents to individual items.
How Much Coverage Do You Need?
You need enough insurance to replace all your belongings in case they are lost or damaged in today’s market value.
You will be asked to supply an itemized inventory of your belongings including the items’ value. When listing the value, make sure you list the replacement cost in your destination country. If the item is lost or destroyed, this is the amount you will need to replace the item
For example, look at your sofa. If you sold it at a garage sale, you might get $50 to $100 for it, assuming it’s in good condition. But if the sofa is destroyed in the move, $50 will not buy a replacement. Insure the sofa, and all your belongings, for their current replacement cost.
If you plan to insure all your items, you can choose the “Full Value Replacement – Lump Sum” option and list all your high value items separately. Or, you can insure only specific items by choosing “Full Replacement Value – Valued Inventory” and listing only the items you wish to insure.
What Else Should You Consider?
- Never take insurance for granted. If your mover or the company sponsoring your move tells you you’re covered, ask to see the policy in writing. Don’t accept it unless you’re satisfied with it.
- Find out ahead of time how any property claims and legal disputes will be resolved. Because you’re dealing with at least two countries—and at least two sets of laws—this is especially important.
- Read your contract carefully. Certain high-value items may require extra care. Get them appraised if necessary, and make sure they are fully covered. If any types of damages are excluded, look into add-ons to supply complete coverage—and peace of mind.
- Confirm when coverage begins and ends. If movers are packing your belongings and delivering them to your new home, insurance should cover the entire process. Make sure there are no gaps in your coverage – especially while your goods are sitting in a warehouse, in between the various legs of their journey.
- Do the math. It’s common for insurers to calculate the premium based on the total value of the shipment. However, the percentage can vary. At first glance, the difference between a 2 percent charge and a 3 percent charge may not seem significant to you. However, if your belongings are worth $100,000, that 1 percent difference amounts to an extra $1,000. It pays to shop around.
International moving insurance is an important financial safeguard. Never go without coverage, and do your homework. Coverage limits, terms and costs can vary greatly.