Tips to insure your possessions – it pays to be protected

You buy a new car, drive it off the lot and park it at the store. Upon your return, you notice a “ding” or dent on the driver’s side door. Your stomach begins to ache, heart races, disappointment can’t even describe your feelings and panic begins to set in. You begin to get angry wondering who did this, no note was left. But you stop and think, whew, I have car insurance to fix the door and make it like new again.

Just like car insurance, when you move, whether within the U.S. or overseas, it’s vital that you insure all of your belongings so they are protected from unwanted accidents or mishaps.

Accidents happen to the most careful people including folks in the moving industry. Having moving insurance can help mitigate disaster. It may not be able to replace grandma’s antique drum set but at least you’ll know you will be compensated monetarily if something unfortunately happens to it.

Insurance coverage tips:
It is important to know what type of insurance coverage you can choose from and which coverage best suit’s your moving situation. By looking into the types of coverage options and going by these tips, it will help you protect your worldly assets and make your life and your move a lot easier.

Basic coverage
Federal regulations require that all moving companies offer two types of coverage to consumers regarding for out-of-state and overseas moves.
Released-value protection covers up to 60 cents per pound. This protection is standard and included in moving charges. We only charge about 2.5 percent from the total cost of your move.

Full-value protection covers the value of the entire item damaged, and is based on the customer’s valuation of the goods that are being moved. The customer pays about 1 percent of the valuation for the added coverage. If you decide all of your belongings being shipped are worth $50,000, you would pay approximately $500 for full-value protection.
Note: If something is damaged, the moving company can repair the damage, reimburse you monetarily, or replace the item. It’s up to the moving company to decide but we here at Rainier do. For instance, if your 2-year-old refrigerator is damaged beyond repair, we will likely give you the fair-market value of a 2-year-old refrigerator.

Another caveat: Movers are not required to reimburse you for any item valued at more than $100 per pound unless that item is specifically listed on the shipping documents. This is set by the Surface Transportation Board, the federal organization that oversees moving companies. For example, a bracelet that weighs four ounces and is worth more than $25 ($100 per pound) must be listed on the shipping documents or it will not be covered if it is lost, damaged or destroyed during the move (we don’t recommend including expensive jewelry when you move, more on that in a future blog).
If you opt for this coverage, you will have to list everything that is valued at more than $100 per pound on the shipping documents. It will take a lot of time to figure this out if you are moving a lot of items but well worth it if something happens during the transportation process.

Expanded mover coverage
We highly recommend upgrading your insurance coverage to provide you with peace-of-mind. Understand that, if your moving company is covering your belongings, it is not insurance. Moving companies are not allowed to sell insurance. Instead, you are paying for stated liability setting the limits for your moving company’s liability if your belongings are damaged, lost or destroyed.

Valuation options
You can ask moving companies or a third party if they offer other valuation options, often called “assessed value protection,” that covers damage beyond the “up to 60 cents” coverage movers have to provide you by law.

Expanded valuations: Declared value allows you to set a per-pound amount for your belongings. For example, if you decide your belongings are worth $6 per pound and your total shipment is 10,000 pounds, you are placing a valuation of $60,000 on the total shipment. That would be the maximum you would receive if the entire shipment were destroyed or lost. Individual items would be replaced with like-kind, a two-year-old washing machine for a two-year-old washing machine. This is important to consider because items such as used clothing have little actual cash value.
Assessed value: This coverage is basically the same as expanded valuations, except the consumer sets the amount by value instead of weight. This is better if you have a lot of small, high-value items that don’t weigh much.

What insurance doesn’t cover
With valuation coverage, movers are not responsible for items in boxes they did not pack. Unless the box shows significant damage, you are not likely to be covered for damage to anything inside the box. You also are not covered for damage or loss from natural disasters, such as fire, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, etc. That said, I’d recommend the movers box everything up for you – less hassle and it saves you time.
Whichever type of insurance coverage you select, make sure to inspect your goods when they arrive at their destination so you know if there has been any damage or not. Insuring your personal possessions when moving is really important and gives you peace-of-mind because anything can go wrong during the moving process.

Safe moving!

Cesar Castro is one of the owners at Rainier Overseas Movers Inc. He can be reached at or you can call him 800-426-9928. Please visit their website at