What is the Difference Between Insurance and Valuation?
What you need to know to protect yourself when you’re moving.
Hiring a moving company that you can rely on for a smooth, reliable move is important. You need to be able to trust them to handle all your items with the utmost care, ensuring they arrive in the same condition they were in when they were put on the truck. This is true whether you are moving a large company, lab, or your home.
Occasionally, even under the best circumstances, things can happen, and something may be damaged. This is why having the best protection to cover your move is important. Let’s discuss the different options available.
The Difference Between Insurance and Valuation
As you contact movers and get estimates, you will note that most movers do not refer to insurance, but to valuation. What is the difference?
Insurance coverage is provided by an insurance company and consists of a policy issued directly to the customer. Occasionally, movers who are insured by specialty providers, can offer a customer an insurance policy through their own corporate policies under a “Master Certificate”. Insurance policies cover certain items that valuation coverage does not. They commonly include coverage for certain “Acts of God” (i.e., flood, fire, storm, etc.).
You always have the option of purchasing insurance from a third-party insurance company. Before purchasing any insurance though, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if you’re already covered.
The key take-away here is insurance is usually provided by an insurance company, not a mover and an insurance company will cover “Acts of God”.
Moving companies provide valuation coverage.
Valuation coverage applies to loss or damage caused by the direct actions of the movers (otherwise known as Legal Liability). It does not cover “Acts of God”. Movers are only responsible for any loss or damage they cause during a move.
Different levels of valuation coverage
It is a federal law that interstate movers must offer customers two different liability options referred to as valuation coverage.
- Limited liability (or Released Value Protection) valuation coverage is offered at no additional charge to you.
Under this option, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per article. For example, if your mover lost or damaged a 100 pound bookcase valued at $500, you would only receive $60.00 in compensation (60 cents x 100 pounds).You will be required to sign a specific statement on the bill of lading or contract agreeing to this level of valuation.
- Declared Value (or Full Value Protection) coverage is offered at an additional cost to you.
With this level of coverage, the mover is liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods in your entire shipment. If any article is lost, destroyed, or damaged while in transit, your mover will, at its discretion, offer to do one (1) of the following for each item:
- Repair the item
- Replace with a similar item
- Make a cash settlement for the cost of the repair or the current market replacement value.
If this additional level coverage is desired, it is often more cost-effective to purchase it through your existing insurance agent. There are different levels of coverage under these plans, with various deductibles and details. For declared value protection, an inventory with an assigned value by item must be created and given to your mover.
Remember – insurance and valuation are separate and distinct options, which should never be obtained in conjunction with each other.