Q

Does renters insurance cover moving?

A

Renters insurance includes coverage for your personal property. If you’re moving, your renters insurance might cover the cost if your property gets damaged during the move, but only if the damage is due to a covered peril.

Zack SigelKara McGinley

Zack Sigel & Kara McGinley

Published January 22, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Renters insurance only covers your personal property if it is stolen, damaged, or destroyed by a covered peril. So if your belongings are stolen while you’re moving your renters insurance will cover it

  • If you have to move out of your home temporarily due to damage then your renters loss-of-use coverage may pay for the cost of moving

  • All licensed movers are required by law to have moving insurance. You should ask your moving company if they have have either a released value coverage insurance policy or a full value coverage policy

  • If you are moving to a new property, you can usually keep your insurance, but your premium rate might change

Renters insurance protects your personal belongings from damage by replacing items lost under the conditions of your renters insurance policy. These conditions are called either covered perils, named perils, or perils insured against, and they don’t vary much between insurance companies. Depending on your policy, if a peril is not listed in the policy, then it’s not covered. By the same token, some perils may be specifically excluded from your insurance policy.

Renters insurance is a good investment for renters of all kinds, whether you rent an entire house or just a room in an apartment. A landlord might require their tenants to purchase a certain amount of renters insurance coverage in order to protect and lower their own risk, but it’s a good idea to protect yourself with a renters policy even if your landlord doesn’t require it. It’s one of the most affordable types of insurance, costing an average of $16 a month.

But what about when you’re technically between apartments — does renters insurance cover a move? When it comes to moving, your renters insurance policy might cover some personal property damage if that takes place during the move, but only under certain circumstances. If your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered peril, the loss-of-use provision of your renters insurance policy will pay for you to move and stay elsewhere, like at a new rental or local hotel.

In this article:

What does renters insurance cover

A renters insurance policy is made up of three basic components which all provide different types of protection:

  • Personal property coverage: Reimbursement for your personal belongings if they are stolen, damaged, or destroyed by a covered peril. If your stuff is destroyed by a covered peril while moving, your renters insurance will cover it.
  • Liability coverage: Financial protection if someone gets hurt on your property and needs medical attention or decides to press charges.
  • Loss-of-use coverage: Reimbursement for the cost of a hotel or temporary rental if your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered peril and any additional living expenses that might accrue. This includes if you need to move because your home has become unsafe from a fire or another covered peril.

Most personal belongings are covered, but certain items like hovercraft, cars, and intellectual property are not. If you’re planning to move anything like this, it won’t be covered.

The rest of your property usually is covered. That means your laptop, TV, bookcase, board game collection, and so on — since you’re moving, it would be a good time to create a home inventory, which is a list of your belongings and their approximate value. However, whether your items are covered after a loss depends on how the loss occurred, which means it has to occur as a result of a named peril. Common named perils include but are not limited to:

  • Fire and lightning
  • Windstorms and hail
  • Explosion
  • Riots and political unrest
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet

For example, if you're moving and your stuff gets vandalized or stolen in the process, your renters insurance will reimburse you.

Limits of liability and coverage

Every renters insurance policy has limits of liability for claims, which refers to the limit of the insurer’s liability to you. Sometimes specific categories of items have lower sublimits. You may find, for example, that there’s a $1,500 sublimit for the loss of your jewelry. If your jewelry is worth $2,000, the renters insurance company is only liable to pay the first $1,500 of that amount, and only after you’ve paid your policy’s deductible

While your personal belongings are technically covered anywhere in the world, renters insurance companies typically limit their liability for belongings stolen or destroyed off the premises of the insured home. A common limit of liability for such a loss is $1,000, even if the item has a higher limit of liability elsewhere in the policy. If you want a policy with a higher limit of liability for certain items, Policygenius can help you search and compare policies that fit your coverage needs.

These limits of liability usually do not apply when the property has been moved to another location, including a self-storage facility, because your home is being repaired, renovated, or rebuilt, or is otherwise uninhabitable or unfit to store belongings in.

Similarly, if you moved your stuff into a new home, but you’re not living there yet and the home isn’t yet covered by an insurance policy, it should be protected by off-premises property coverage without limits of liability.

Additional riders and endorsements

If you have expensive items that exceed your policy’s limit you can add additional riders to your policy. There are a few reasons you might want to add a rider for additional coverage:

  • You want a peril to be covered that is not in your policy: Many insurance policies don’t cover natural disasters. If you live in an area with extreme weather, you can add a specific rider to your policy to cover that damage. Some popular ones are earthquake riders or flood riders
  • Your personal belonging exceeds your policy’s limit: If you have expensive belongings, like maybe a fine art collection, you can schedule a property rider to your policy to insure a specific, valuable item.
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When does renters insurance cover my move

In order for renters insurance to cover a loss during a move it would have to be due to a covered peril. Meaning if your belongings get stolen by someone while you’re packing your truck, then your renters insurance will cover it. Another example would be if there is a windstorm while you’re moving and some of your belongings get damaged because of it — your renters insurance would reimburse you.

Loss-of-use coverage and additional living expenses

Renters insurance will cover the cost of your move if you have to move out of your apartment. Your renters insurance loss-of-use provision reimburses you for accrued expenses if you have to evacuate your home due to a covered peril. For example, if a pipe bursts and your apartment needs new floors put in, or if the smoke damage from a fire is so severe a professional has to come clean it, then your renters insurance will help pay for you to live elsewhere.

Basically, if you’re temporarily forced to leave your rental, your loss-of-use coverage will pay for you to stay at a nearby hotel or a different apartment or house. Depending on your policy, the size of your temporary accommodation can be around the same size as your home.

Your loss-of-use coverage also reimburses you for additional living expenses that add up while you’re living elsewhere. For example, if you have to go out to restaurants to eat because your hotel room doesn’t have a kitchen your renters insurance will pay for the cost of your meals. Renters insurance also cover the cost of a storage facility if you have to move your stuff out of your apt?

When does renters insurance not cover my move

As we mentioned, renters insurance will cover damage to your personal property even if it is not in your home. Meaning it will cover damage during your move if it is due to a covered peril, like theft or vandalism.

There are a few reasons renters insurance will not cover your move or damage that takes place during it.

  • The damage is not due to a covered peril: If your personal property is damaged by your own negligence, like if you drop a box of fine china while you’re carrying it out of your house, your renters insurance will not reimburse you for it, and if your rental unit is destroyed by a peril that’s not covered by your policy, insurance will not cover the cost of the move itself..
  • It exceeds your policy’s limit: If your item exceeds your policy’s limit then your renters insurance will only reimburse you for some of it.

Can I get moving insurance?

All licensed movers are required by law to have some form of moving insurance. However, they’re only required to have a minimum amount of coverage, and it may not be enough to cover all your belongings in the event that the mover is liable. Ask about paying for additional coverage for your move.

Moving insurance comes in two different types:

Released value coverage

Released value coverage pays 60 cents per pound for each damaged or lost item. If your $1,000 laptop gets destroyed during the move, but it only weighs a few pounds, you’re only entitled to a measly $3. This coverage is usually already baked into the mover’s rates.

Full value coverage

Full value coverage pays for damaged or lost item’s market replacement value. That may mean repairing the item or replacing it with a similar item. This protection will cost you more, but it provides the most coverage. However, some items may be excluded, especially those that are worth more than $100 per pound.

If these moving insurance options aren’t enough, look into getting a moving insurance policy from a carrier of your choice. You’ll have more say over the types of items that are covered as well as how much they’re covered for.

Moving to a new property with renters insurance

If you have renters insurance and you move, you can usually keep the same policy, unless you move to a state where your insurer doesn’t offer coverage. You should contact your insurance provider before you move to let them know a few things:

  • Your new address
  • The date your new lease starts and ends
  • New landlord information (if they want to be added as an additional interested party)
  • Any additional coverage you need

Moving might change the price of your premiums because your ZIP code affects your insurance policy. For example, if you move to an area with a higher crime rate your insurance premiums are likely to go up as you’re more at risk for filing a claim.