Everyone who thinks of hiring a relocation company certainly thinks of moving insurance at some point because “damage” is one of the most significant stressors.
It is okay to worry about the condition of your worldly possessions during transit when you see them being stuffed into boxes and transported into a truck.
Most consumers believe if anything gets damaged, they are covered by insurance! But this is not always the case.
Moving insurance is not as simple as it might sound, and you must know its ins and outs before joining hands with a professional mover.
In this detailed article, we will discuss types of moving insurance and what it covers. We will also explain the process of filing a successful claim to recover the maximum value of your belongings.
Also read: Should I Hire A Full-Service Moving Company In Phoenix?
Why Should You Care About Moving Insurance?
Reputable companies will always assure you about how carefully they can transport your possessions. It is still a good idea to know about insurance and coverage. Some reasons include:
Accidents and Mishaps Can Happen
Despite taking precautions, accidents can occur during a move. There is a possibility that the movers may drop boxes, items can get damaged in transit due to shifting or collisions, or unexpected events like theft or fire can take place.
Moving insurance safeguards your belongings against such unforeseen circumstances, ensuring you have recourse to recover a certain value for damaged or lost items.
Relocating to a new place is a task in itself full of stress, and worrying about the safety of your possessions only adds to that tension. With adequate insurance coverage, you do not have to worry about the damage and can focus on other aspects of the process.
Nothing is better than a stress-free moving experience, and you can achieve it with proper insurance.
Professional Movers May Have Limited Liability
If you hire a moving company in Arlington County and depend on the regular insurance (included in the package), their liability for damage to your belongings may be limited based on the contract you sign with them.
Better-moving insurance fills the gap and provides broader coverage, ensuring you are adequately protected.
Whether you are relocating your home or office, never overlook moving insurance. When you have a proper protection plan in place, you can quickly mitigate the financial damage you may otherwise bear if something goes out of the plan.
Common Causes of Damage During a Move
Moving involves a lot of steps, and it is pretty common for some items to suffer damage during transportation. Knowing the causes of damage allows you to easily alleviate them by choosing the right insurance. Some common causes are:
Improper packing is a leading cause of damage during a move. When items are not properly packed, they are more susceptible to breakage, scratches, and other forms of damage.
For instance- fragile items should be individually wrapped and cushioned to prevent them from shifting or colliding with other objects. If the items are not packed correctly, the risk of damage extends multiple times.
An Important Note
The moving insurance only covers boxes and items properly packed by movers. If you pack the boxes yourself, and some damage happens to the contents due to “packing reasons,” you cannot hold the relocation company accountable.
Always let professional movers pack and unpack your goods, and keep an eye on everything to prevent damage. Contact Dose Moving & Storage for comprehensive moving and packing services.
Rough handling of items during a move can also result in damage. This is especially the case when you trust unreliable and rogue movers that are not registered with the Business Bureau. They may mishandle fragile items, drop boxes, or fail to use proper lifting techniques causing damage to the objects.
Not labeling the boxes or containers can lead to mishaps and damage. If a box containing fragile items is not labeled, the loading team might not give the care the items need, which could destroy the contents.
It is the responsibility of the packer to label every box as “fragile,” “this side up,” or “handle with care. If you are packing yourself, write clear instructions on every box.
Lack of Protection in Transit
Not all damages happen due to the home or business owner’s fault, sometimes, the movers fail to use adequate protective materials when loading the truck. During transportation, items can experience movement, vibrations, and even collisions sufficient to cause damage. It is imperative to use furniture blankets, padding, and cushioning materials to provide additional protection for your belongings.
Poorly Maintained Moving Vehicles
Another cause of damage that the movers are responsible for includes unmaintained trucks. For example, mechanical issues or suspension problems can result in a bumpy ride, potentially causing items to shift or collide. Moreover, a leaky roof or damaged truck bed can also cause substantial damage to the loaded goods.
Dismantling big items such as furniture is a common service most licensed moving companies provide. Things can also get damaged during assembling and disassembling furniture, especially fragile ones. This usually happens when an untrained crew dismantles the items using inappropriate techniques.
Besides lousy packing and mishandling, another cause of damage that is often uncontrollable includes environmental factors. Extreme weather conditions like rain, snow, or high temperatures can affect certain items, such as furniture. Furthermore, natural calamities like earthquakes also pose a risk of damage to the items being moved.
Types of Moving Insurance
When choosing moving insurance, there are two types to consider- the valuation the relocation company provides for damages and third-party insurance for additional coverage. Professional moving business companies cannot sell insurance policies to offer comprehensive coverage.
Some properly licensed companies like Dose Moving & Storage offer the following converge options for local and moving across state lines.
Released Value Protection (Included in Your Moving Service Package)
This is the most basic coverage option that comes with your moving plan, especially if you are moving between states. Though the movers won’t charge you for the released value protection, it is important for you to ask for and contractually agree to the coverage offered.
Because this insurance comes at no extra cost, it only provides minimal coverage. According to FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and federal law, the mandatory coverage that movers offer for damages is 60 cents per pound per article.
For example, if an item weighing 20 pounds gets completely damaged during transportation, the moving company will be liable to pay the customer $12 (20 lbs X 60 cents).
When covered by released value protection or the default plan, damaged and lost items won’t be repaired or replaced when you file a claim. Instead, the moving company will compensate you according to the DOT mandate.
Full Value Protection
Your other option for protecting your possessions is full value protection. This plan is more comprehensive than released value protection and is ideal for high-valued household goods such as furniture, electronic appliances, and more.
However, to get better coverage, you need to pay a premium upfront, which might typically cost you 1-2% of the value of the items (fill out the form for more details regarding the cost of full-value protection plans).
With some limitations, choosing full value protection makes the third-party (insurance company) liable for replacing and repairing the damaged/lost items, as specified in the insurance policy.
Generally, insurers have their own full-value protection policies, while some have a sort of minimum value you can claim for your belongings.
What to Do if Your Items Get Damaged During a Move: The Process to File a Claim
Seeing their belongings in a damaged condition is something no one would want. However, there is a possibility of it happening if you relocate your home or business.
Knowing how to file a claim can help ease stress, and you can recover fair compensation for the damage (depending on the insurance policy and coverage). Here are the steps you need to follow to file your claim with a mover:
Document the Damage
As the movers start to unload the delivery vehicle, you may notice damages to your personal property. It is best not to panic in such situations, as some damages are pretty common in the moving industry.
Request the driver or the supervisor to note each damaged item they remove from the truck on the Bill of Lading. Make sure to capture pictures or a video of the damaged items when they are unloaded from the vehicle.
If you took an inventory before in the beginning, you would be familiar with the process. If you do not have an inventory list at hand, ask the movers to provide you with a copy of the inventory they took before leaving the origin. Make sure to record every damaged or missing item with your movers.
Review the Moving Company’s Policy
Before you call the relocation company to ask for compensation, familiarize yourself with their policy regarding damage claims.
Read through the contract or agreement you signed with them to understand the procedures, deadlines, and requirements for a successful claim. The Bill of Lading will have all the information you need regarding the extent of damage and the items covered.
Do not hesitate to call the movers if you do not understand some clauses and need clarification.
Notify the Professional Movers about the Damage
At this point, you are finally ready to contact the moving company. Provide them with a detailed description of the damage, accompanied by documented evidence.
It is important to report the damage in writing through email or a formal letter. Keep a record of all communication for future purposes.
Do Not Touch the Damaged Items
The urge to see how much damage your belongings have sustained may be unparalleled, but you should refrain from touching such items. If your actions extend the damage, the moving company might reject your claim or deny you reimbursement or repair. Let the moving crew handle everything, and wait for the claim adjuster to complete the evaluation.
Damage claims might be difficult if you pack yourself. Or if you have booked hybrid moving services, and the items packed by you got damaged. Generally, movers only accept financial responsibility for the items they have packed.
Complete a Claim Form
Once you have notified the company about the damages, they will likely send you a claim form. This form will require you to provide information about the damaged items, their value, and a description of the damage.
Follow the instructions provided and provide accurate and detailed information along with proof of value, such as receipts or billing statements for your belongings damaged during transit. Do not forget to make a copy of the form and keep it with you.
Expect a Home Visit
Most moving companies have claim adjusters that may conduct an investigation to assess the claim’s validity. They may request additional documentation or evidence to support your claim. Cooperate fully with the process and provide any requested information promptly. Be honest and firm with your statements, and show the proof to the claim adjuster that you have recorded during unloading,
Wait for Repair or Reimbursement
After evaluation and investigation, the claim adjuster will prepare a detailed report, and you will be asked to wait. Settling a claim with a commercial mover might take some time due to the lengthy process.
Some companies might take up to 30 working days to respond to a formal complaint, although dependable companies make it quick for their customers.
You will likely receive an offer from the mover for (released value protection) and the insurance provider (full value protection), and agreeing to it will help settle the claim.
Easy Tips to Protect Your Move
While there are parts of the relocation process you cannot control, there are several parts you can. Handling those parts will reward you with a much smoother and hassle-free moving experience, reducing the risk of missing or damaged items.
Take Photos of Your Belongings Before the Move
The moving insurance does not cover items already damaged or on the verge of damage. Also, when you have pictures of your possessions, you can use them to prove the damage that occurred during transportation or other tasks handled by movers.
Use Proper Packing Materials
Choosing the right packing materials is important to avoid damage if you are a DIY packer. Invest in high-quality moving boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and sturdy tape. If you are unsure what materials to use and where to purchase them, leaving the packing to the professionals would be better.
Tell Your Moving Company About Articles of Extraordinary Value
Anything valued above $100 must be notified to the relocation experts. Make a detailed note of such items a list their value properly. This may include your treasured belongings, such as art, heirlooms, antiques, or other valuable items.
Usually, the movers tell their customers about the items not covered under the insurance, allowing you to move them yourself.
Report the Damage Or Loss Immediately
No matter how tiring the move was, you should not wait to report the items damaged or lost during the move. The earlier you report, the sooner you can settle the claim with the moving company.
Movers may refuse to entertain claims if you report damages after the supervisor has left your property. Do a final walk-through with the crew leader, and report all the damages to them.
Remove the Distractions from Your Home or Office
The moving specialists need a calm and clean work environment, so removing all distractions is better. Also, report any issue, such as a broken staircase, beforehand, as it may cause damage to the items, which the moving company might not cover. Leash your pets to give the movers freedom to work.
If you are moving during inclement weather, take safety measures to protect your stuff. Use waterproof coverings for furniture and use plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes for moisture-sensitive items.
Sometimes damage might happen to the items if they are not stored properly. For example, if it rains when the movers have unloaded your belongings, it is not the fault of the moving company.
Be prepared for such situations by booking a storage unit in advance. Even when you do not have much space to accommodate all your possessions, you can put the extra items into the vault.
Need some extra storage space? Choose the super-spacious and climate-controlled storage vaults with Dose Moving & Storage. We even offer storage blankets with every fault to help you store your belongings safely.
Consider Moving Insurance
Lastly, evaluate your options and consider obtaining additional moving insurance. If you think the released value protection is insufficient, choose a good full-value protection plan. Make sure to purchase the insurance at least three days before the final moving day, and notify the movers.
Also read: 10 Helpful Storage Tips: How to Prep Your Belongings
Dose Moving & Storage- Moving Safely, Every Step of the Way!
If relocating your home or business sounds too much, choose Dose Moving & Storage. We have been helping the residents of Arizona and Virginia move successfully with minimum disruption and maximum satisfaction.
With us, you get released value protection included in your moving plan, and you can also contact third-party insurers for full value protection.
Our seasoned crew ensures your valuable belongings are transported safely in the first place to help you prevent the lengthy claim process.
Contact us now at 602-806-9335 (Arizona) or 571-207-7973 (Virginia) for a detailed quote, or submit your requirements online.