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Does renters insurance cover moving?

Renters insurance covers your stuff wherever it is if it's damaged by a named peril. Some of those perils may occur during your move, but some don't.

When you move, a couple of things may happen. You may decide to rent a moving van and pack your belongings into it, or you may hire movers to do the heavy lifting and driving for you. If you have renters insurance, at some junctures during the move, depending on how you’re moving, you may be covered by your policy.

Renters insurance protects your personal property from damage by replacing items lost under the conditions of your renters insurance policy. These conditions are called something like covered perils, named perils, or perils insured against, and they don’t vary much between insurance companies. 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 coverage.

Renters insurance also covers your stuff wherever it is; it doesn’t have to be in your home or apartment when it’s damaged or lost. That means it should be covered when it’s on the road, but only if the damage or loss is caused by a named peril. However, coverage amounts for your stuff while it is in transit may be limited.

Additionally, licensed moving companies are required to have moving insurance, but always check with your movers to make sure their moving insurance coverage is enough.

Read on to learn more about renters insurance and moving:

When does renters insurance cover my move?

Renters insurance not only replaces your belongings when they’re damaged or destroyed. It also pays your liability when someone is injured in your home. Since moving comprises both the movement of your belongings and the people who move them, renters insurance coverage may be needed.

Property damage

In order to understand how renters insurance may cover your belongings during a move, first you have to look at the types of property that are covered by renters insurance. Most property is covered, but items like hovercraft, cars, and intellectual property are not. If you’re planning to move anything like this, it won’t be covered.

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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. However, whether it’s covered in 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

If the movers steal your stuff, you’re protected by the theft peril coverage. Additionally, whether you’re driving the moving van or the movers are, if you get into a collision and the property you’re moving is destroyed, you’re covered under the vehicles peril coverage.

But you’re only covered if the property is covered by your policy and it’s destroyed or lost due to a covered peril. Since most of the covered perils are unlikely to occur during the short time frame of a move, your renters insurance probably won’t come into play.

Bodily injury liability

If one of the movers becomes injured in your home, you may be liable for his or her injuries. Renters insurance pays the reasonable medical expenses incurred by any guests in your home, and this even applies when a mover is injured in your home during the course of conducting your move. However, licensed movers already have moving insurance or a form of business insurance that protects against injuries, so your own coverage won’t be needed.

Limits of liability for covered losses

Every renters insurance policy has limits of liability for some claims, which refers to the limit of the insurer’s liability to you. You may find, for example, that there’s a $1,500 limit of liability 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 reached your policy’s deductible.

While your property is covered anywhere in the world, renters insurance companies typically limit their liability for property 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 property 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.

When does renters insurance not cover my move?

Renters insurance doesn’t cover your move when your belongings are destroyed or lost during the move in some way other than a named peril. For example, if the mover breaks your TV, but it wasn’t intentional or malicious, then you’re not covered.

It’s possible to purchase an all-perils renters insurance policy, which doesn’t limit the covered perils to what’s in the policy, although it may specifically exclude some. Those types of policies may be prohibitively expensive, and they may be difficult to find.

Moving when your home becomes uninhabitable

Under your renters insurance policy’s loss-of-use coverage, if your home becomes uninhabitable due to a named peril, you’re entitled to have some of your living expenses paid for by the renters insurance company. While it may not be spelled out in your insurance policy, it’s possible that hiring movers could count as an additional living expense and be eligible for some coverage under your policy. Ask your renters insurance carrier or one of its representatives for more info.

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 five 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.

Disclaimer: Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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