You never know what can happen during your international move
. Mishaps and accidents can happen any time. That good thing is moving companies
offer free coverage for your belongings. But the bad news is this insurance barely compensates the real amount of the item lost or damage. Be sure that you’re well covered. There are four ways how you can get protected. First, accept the basic coverage provided by your mover (limited liability coverage). Second, avail of "full-value replacement". Third, purchase coverage from a third party. And fourth, depend on whatever coverage you may have from your homeowners insurance.
But first, you must understand that moving companies do not provide insurance, they only offer "valuation" protection. They may work similarly but are governed by different regulation. Valuation protection is under the regulation of federal laws, while insurance is governed by your state. They also differ in the protection you get and as well as the cost. Remember, movers are required under the law to explain every options available for you, if they refuse or won’t explain it to you, it is best that you find another mover.
- Limited Liability Protection
This is the minimum requirement by the federal law. This is included in your basic moving price and must cost you no single cent. Your goods are usually covered from $0.30 to $0.60 per pound per item. This minimum coverage is called the "carrier’s liability" or the "released value".
If you’re moving locally, the liability will depend on the state regulation, but generally it is set to $0.30 per pound. For long distance moves it is fixed to $0.60 per pound per item. For instance, if you’re moving locally and your 25-pound TV got broken during the transit, the mover is liable for $7.50 for the compensation of your TV. Clearly, it doesn’t replace nor compensate the real value of your item. You may want to carefully reconsider before approving to this type of coverage. And if you decide to avail of this coverage it will then be stated in the Bill of Lading, the document that releases your items to the moving company.
- Full-Value Replacement Protection
Under this protection any item damaged or lost while in the custody of the movers will either be replaced, restored to its pre-moved condition, or be compensated in the discretion of the moving company.
This is so far the most inclusive coverage available to protect your items while in shipment. However, costs may depend on the moving company. But getting a higher deductible can lessen the cost. This coverage also protects movers from paying high value items (those items that cost $100 per pound) unless these items are listed in a separate inventory list.
- Third-Party Insurance Policy
Some moving companies may offer you an insurance coverage through a third party or an insurance carrier or you may want to search for quotes by yourself. There are websites like USInsurance.com that offers quotes at no cost. Usually these quotes are cheaper compared to other companies.
- Homeowners Insurance Policy
The problem with homeowners’ insurance policy is that your items are not automatically covered by the policy. Some may have full coverage, some are in partial, and others are not even covered and even certain types of damages may not qualify your claim. Make sure that you have checked with your homeowners’ insurance policy provider so you can take the necessary action in case some of your items will not be covered.
High Value Items or Items of Extra Ordinary Value
Items that cost $100 per pound are categorized as "high value items" or "items with extra ordinary value". Make sure that you have declared these items and listed it in a separate inventory sheet, so you can claim for any damages or if the item is lost. You antique collections, jewelries, furs, and other similar items belong to this category. Make sure that you ask for the terms and condition and secure the written declaration needed for this special type of coverage.
Declared Value Protection for Local Moves
Some states have "declared value protection" for intrastate or local moves. The liability of the moving company is limited on the value of your items you declared before the move. The moving company is required to compensate the depreciated value of the item lost or damaged regardless of its current replacement value.
If you have availed of this option, the mover is liable for the whole shipment at the amount $1.25(or whatever amount your state so require) multiply to the total weight of your items. For instance, if your shipment weighs 7 000 pounds, the moving company is liable up to $8 750 for any damages and item lost.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Moving Options
If you choose to move on a DIY basis you put your belongings at great risk. Equipment rental and Homeowners insurance policies may cover certain damages but have a very limited scope and application. Generally, equipment rental companies have "you buy it policy". If you break, bust or damage any equipments you are bound to buy. Make sure that you ask for a copy of your contract and clarify everything about the insurance policy.
Making a Claim
Make sure that you have noted and stated the lost or damaged in your bill of lading or inventory sheet in the presence of their representative before signing it. Usually, you have nine months to file your claim to the moving company after the accident or after your item were damaged or lost to avoid forfeiture of your rights. However, it is still best that you file your claim the soonest possible time or right after the damage was done.
Even if you have filed for a claim or even if your item was damaged or lost, you are not excused from paying your bill on time. You are still required to pay the remaining balance upon delivery of your goods.
The moving company
is usually required to send their reply 15 to 30 days from the receipt of your claim. In case you can’t reach in to agreement or when the arbitration failed to settle your claim, you can sue the mover for damages. You can check the Better Business Bureau for more information how to handle your claims.