With a bit of effort, navigating insurance coverage during your relocation doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here are six simple steps keeping your belongings safe and insured before, during, and after your upcoming move.
Before the Move
1. Check What Your Current Policy Covers — And Get Additional Coverage if Needed
Homeowners and renters insurance policies cover your things while they’re in your residence, and some policies will also cover accidents that happen during a move. Call your current insurance company to see what type of moving coverage your plan offers. Your insurance agent should be able to tell you if moving related incidents like theft or broken items are covered or if you need to seek additional coverage.
In the event that your policy doesn’t provide as much moving coverage as you need, you may want to look into third-party moving insurance. These policies will increase your overall moving costs, but they’re often worth the money if your normal homeowners or renters insurance is lacking.
2. Shop Around for Insurance for Your New Property
A relocation to a new residence provides a great opportunity to compare different insurance companies and see what they offer. If you're moving out of state, keeping your current policy may not be an option if your provider isn’t available in your new area. And even if you’re staying in an area covered by your insurer, you may find a better deal than you have now.
Whether you decide to go with a new insurance company or stick with the one you have, your policy should cover your new home from the day you move in. Inform your chosen provider of your move-in date and your new address. Specify whether you’re owning or renting, and make sure your new property is covered against vandalism, break-ins, flooding, and any natural disasters. Experiencing any of these events so soon after moving is bad enough without discovering you weren’t covered by your insurance policy.
During the Move
3. Take Stock of Your Belongings
As you start the moving process, keep a list of all of your items as you pack them. There are several apps that help you with this process. Taking inventory of everything you own helps ensure you don't lose items while you are moving. It also helps you evaluate the damage done to your belongings during the move.
Be thorough as you go through, and include pictures for particularly valuable items. This record will take some of the pressure off of you when it comes to remembering the condition your items were in, which can be helpful if you need to file a claim should an accident occur.
4. Use a Licensed and Insured Moving Company
Though it may be tempting to cut costs by not hiring movers, you may miss out on additional moving coverage if you do. Moving companies are subject to federal regulations and are required to offer coverage for interstate moves, and state regulations generally offer additional coverage requirements for intrastate relocations.
Many moving companies also offer additional coverage policies on top of what’s legally mandated, so call up your local moving companies to see what they offer. Your extra policy should cover any potential damage from a move, from theft to broken items.
After the Move
5. Check Items against Your Inventory
As you unpack, compare your belongings and their condition with the inventory you took before your move. If you do find that some of your items are damaged or missing, file a claim with whichever company covered your move. Make sure you get documentation of the damage, too.
Don’t delay on filing a claim if needed. It may feel overwhelming to navigate the reimbursement process immediately after a move, but you’ll have a higher likelihood of success than if you put it off for a few months.
6. Don’t Forget about Car Insurance
If you're just moving to a new town in your current state, all you need to do is inform your insurance company of your new address. However, if you are moving out of state, you'll need to register your car in that state and change your policy. Most states allow 30–90 days for you to register your vehicle, so make sure you keep your old auto policy until your new one covers you, as you don't want to go a day without car insurance.
Keep in mind that if you stay with the same provider but move out of state, your policy will likely change to accommodate that state's laws. Speak with your agent to familiarize yourself with any changes to your policy so that you know exactly how you're covered.
Whether you are moving across the street or across the country, knowing your belongings are covered can make things a little less stressful during your move. Follow the above steps, and take the time to read your policies carefully. Insuring your possessions during your move will help ensure your peace of mind, so you don't have to worry about what to do if the worst happens.