Does Renters Insurance Cover Moving?

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Updated: May 22, 2024

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Renters insurance covers moving expenses if a covered peril renders your home uninhabitable, forcing you to relocate temporarily. General moving expenses, however, are not covered. You may get coverage during a move if your belongings are damaged, stolen or destroyed while in transit from your old residence to your new residence due to a covered peril (e.g., a storm occurs while transporting your belongings).

Key Takeaways

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If your home is rendered temporarily uninhabitable, renters insurance pays for the moving expenses when you relocate temporarily.

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Renters insurance covers damages due to a move if it’s caused by a covered peril and if you are doing the moving.

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Moving companies offer liability coverage to protect your belongings during a move, but it does not cover high-value belongings.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Moving Expenses?

Renters' insurance policies do not cover standard moving expenses, but some exceptions include if your home is deemed uninhabitable due to a covered peril, if your belongings are damaged in transit or temporary storage, or if you or someone helping you move causes accidental damage and liability coverage comes into play.

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    Loss of Use Coverage

    If you are forced to temporarily relocate due to a covered peril, your loss of use coverage would pay for any relocation costs. For instance, imagine a water leak in your apartment causes extensive damage and you’re unable to live in your home. Renters insurance may cover the costs associated with moving to and living in a temporary residence until your original unit is restored to a habitable condition.

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    Perils During Transit

    Your renters insurance may offer coverage if your belongings are damaged, stolen, or destroyed during transportation from your old residence to your new one due to a covered event, like snow or a storm.

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    Temporary Storage

    If you're temporarily storing your belongings in a storage unit during a move and they are damaged or stolen while in storage, your renters insurance policy might offer some coverage for those losses.

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    Liability Coverage

    Suppose you or someone helping you move accidentally causes damage to the property you're vacating or the property you're moving into. In that case, your renters insurance liability coverage may come into play.

How Renters Insurance Covers Perils While You’re Moving

Renters insurance only covers damages during a move if it’s a result of a covered peril. For instance, if you’re transporting your TV to your new home and a sudden hailstorm damages it, your renters insurance may cover the loss. Covered perils that may occur during a move include:

  • Fire: Sudden blazes that damage your belongings while in transit.
  • Storm: Severe weather conditions affecting your items during the move.
  • Hail: Ice pellets causing damage to your belongings when moving.
  • Vandalism: Deliberate destruction or damage to your property during the move.

However, if professional movers are involved, they may have liability coverage that can help. Many moving companies offer their own insurance or protection plans that can provide coverage for damages that occur under their care, offering an additional layer of protection during the moving process.

When Doesn’t Renters Insurance Cover Damages During a Move?

There are several situations where renters insurance does not cover damages incurred during a move, such as if damages are intentional or if it’s accidental. It's important to be aware of these limitations to avoid unexpected financial setbacks. Here are some instances when it does not provide coverage for moving-related damages:

  • Normal wear and tear: Minor scratches or dents that occur during the move.
  • Accidental breakage: Items broken due to mishandling or accidental dropping.
  • Loss or theft without evidence of a break-in: Misplaced or stolen items during the move without signs of forced entry.
  • High-value items: Expensive or rare items that surpass the individual item or total policy coverage limit.
  • Cumulative losses: The total cost of damaged goods exceeding the overall coverage cap of the policy.

What Insurance Options Do You Have When Working With a Professional Moving Company?

While professional moving companies offer basic liability coverage, the same companies may offer additional liability options such as full value and released value protection. These are extras that may come with an added cost, but they provide more coverage and ensure your belongings are protected. However, while moving companies offer these protections, they are different from renters insurance and specifically apply to the moving process.

Full Value Protection

Full value protectionis a more comprehensive option where the moving company is responsible for the replacement value of lost or damaged items in your shipment. If any item is lost, damaged or destroyed, the mover can either repair the item to its original condition, replace it with a similar item or offer a cash settlement based on the current market replacement value.

For instance, you're moving with a high-end, 55-inch smart television that you purchased for $1,500. During the move, the TV is accidentally dropped and the screen shatters, rendering it unusable. With full value protection, the moving company would be responsible for the full replacement cost of the TV. Full value protection may be more costly, but it offers greater peace of mind for valuable items.

Released Value Protection

Released value protection is the most economical protection available, as it's typically included in the moving fee. However, the protection it offers is minimal. Under this plan, the mover typically assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per item, but this can change depending on your provider. This means that if a 10-pound item worth hundreds of dollars is lost or damaged, the mover is only liable for $6.

Consider the same scenario with your 55-inch TV weighing approximately 30 pounds. If your TV gets damaged under released value protection, the moving company's liability would be limited to 60 cents per pound. Therefore, for a 30-pound TV, the maximum compensation you would receive is 30 pounds x $0.60 = $18. This amount is significantly less than the TV's actual value or the cost to replace it. This type of coverage is better suited for less valuable items where the risk of significant financial loss is lower.

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Full value protection and released value protection agreements safeguard against financial losses attributed to the mover's actions. However, it's important to note that these agreements are not classified as insurance policies. Instead, they are forms of liability tariffs sanctioned by the US Department of Transportation. As such, they are not subject to the governance or regulation of state insurance laws.

Third-Party Moving Insurance Policies

Third-party moving insurance policies are specialized insurance options provided by independent companies, separate from the moving company's own liability coverage. These policies are designed to offer additional protection for your belongings during a move, covering a range of potential risks that might not be included in the moving company's liability options.

Third-party insurance typically provides a broader scope of coverage, which can include protection against loss, damage and sometimes even packing mistakes. For example, you're moving a collection of valuable art pieces. During transit, one of the pieces suffers damage due to an unexpected road incident. A third-party moving insurance policy could cover the repair or replacement costs for the damaged artwork, ensuring that you're compensated for the full value of the item beyond what basic moving company liability would offer.

Covering High-Value Belongings During a Move

High-value belongings often require special consideration and handling during a move, even when opting for a full value protection policy with a moving company. Here are options to ensure these items are adequately protected:

  • Move It Yourself: Personally handling the move can be the safest option for items of significant sentimental or financial value. This allows you to control the packing, transportation and handling process, reducing the risk of damage or loss.
  • Specialty Moving Companies: Some moving companies specialize in transporting high-value items like artworks, antiques, or delicate electronics. These companies have the expertise and equipment necessary to safely transport these items, offering a higher level of care and specialized insurance options.
  • Third-Party Insurance: Consider purchasing a third-party insurance policy specifically for your high-value items. These policies can offer comprehensive coverage tailored to the specific needs and value of your possessions.
  • Itemized Coverage in Full Value Protection: If using a full value protection plan, discuss itemized coverage for your high-value items with the moving company. This can involve declaring the value of specific items separately, ensuring adequate coverage is provided based on their individual worth.

Each of these options offers a way to safeguard your valuable possessions, giving you peace of mind during the transition to your new home. Careful consideration and planning are key to ensuring these items are protected throughout the moving process.

Tips to Make the Process of Moving Stress-Free

Making the moving process less stressful involves planning and foresight, especially regarding preventing damages and handling insurance matters. Here are some practical tips to help ensure a smoother move:

Inventory Your Belongings

Before moving, create a detailed inventory of your items, particularly valuables. This list will be invaluable for insurance purposes in case of loss or damage.

Understand Your Insurance Options

Thoroughly review your renters insurance policy and understand what is covered during a move. Consider additional insurance if necessary, especially for high-value items.

Choose the Right Movers

Research and select a reputable moving company with positive reviews and reliable insurance options. If you have high-value items, consider specialty movers.

Pack Smartly and Safely

Invest in quality packing materials and take extra care when packing fragile items. Label boxes clearly and keep an eye on items that need special handling.

Keep Important Documents and Valuables

Carry essential documents, jewelry and small valuable items with you during the move to minimize risk.

Photograph Your Items Before and After the Move

Take photos of your belongings before packing and after arrival at your new home. These photos can serve as proof of condition in case you need to file an insurance claim.

By implementing these tips, you can reduce the likelihood of damages during your move and ensure you have the necessary coverage, making the process more manageable and less stressful.

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About Mark Fitzpatrick

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Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.