Changing Your Address Means Changing Your Insurance


Spring and summer months are the most common time of year for most moves to take place. This year the American Moving and Storage Association predicts that more than 40 million Americans will move. As you pack up your belongings and move across town or across the country, make sure you don’t forget to “pack” your insurance coverage.
When you move from an apartment to a house, or house to house, or… your homeowners or renters insurance will not follow automatically. That type of policy is designed to cover a specific location. A homeowners or renters policy takes into account factors such as the building material used to construct your home, its age, size, fire detection and warning systems, and the fire protection rating of your current community.  Moving to a new home means that these factors will change. As your risk changes, your insurance needs to change as well.


Depending on whether your move is across the street or across the country, it’s important that you discuss your move with your insurance agent. Among all the things to deal with in planning a move, one issue people often forget to consider: Is my stuff covered during the move?


Let’s say that you’ve got everything but the kitchen sink (which you’ve left for the people moving into your old home) packed into the truck for the big move, but there’s an accident with the truck and as a result antiques, carefully packed china and the 60” flat screen are all damaged beyond repair. Are you covered?
Well, that depends on whether you’re moving the items yourself or have contracted with professional movers and where you’re moving to. If you use a professional moving company, under federal law interstate movers are liable for the lost or damaged items. But how they come up with a value can be scary. So if you’re moving from the Scituate/Foster area to North Carolina, the moving company is liable for your stuff but with varied options for coverage; including Full Value (aka Replacement cost) or Released Value. According to the US Department of Transportation, Full Value is more comprehensive coverage but it may cost more out of pocket. Released Value is offered at no additional cost, but may only cover your belongings up to 60 cents on the dollar. If you opt for the Full Value, make sure you have an up-to-date estimated value for the belongings you’ll be moving. If you have an accurate and comprehensive home inventory, this shouldn’t be too difficult of a task. I strongly suggest photographing or videotaping ALL of your contents in your current home to show they exist and their quality.
If you’re renting a truck or a van for the move, be aware that while your auto insurance automatically extends coverage when you rent a car, it does not extend when you rent a truck. The rental company will likely offer you coverage for your use of the vehicle and they may offer another coverage option for your contents. One argument for taking the coverage is that if something does go wrong, and can be covered by the rental policy, a loss would not reflect on your own insurance coverage. But again, the coverage they offer may not be enough to replace or repair damaged or lost items.


A third option to cover your personal items while in transit is through your homeowner or renter policy. The contents coverage provided through most such policies affords coverage for the items while outside of the property location BUT to a maximum of the 10% of your policy’s contents limit. The good part of that is that you probably have Replacement Cost coverage on your policy now, so your contents in the move would be covered for their replacement cost. The bad part, if you’re covered now for $250,000, you’d only have $25,000 coverage for your contents while in transit; that may leave a big coverage void.


Another coverage void may come with the time lapse between when your current policy on the home you’re moving from is terminated and a new policy for your new home becomes effective. One way to deal with this is to have the new policy start the same day you are planning on moving.  Not only would this help provide coverage for your contents, but it would also provide you with personal liability coverage during the time of the move.


Moving is regarded as one of the 10 most stressful things we do during our life time. Let your insurance agent help you relieve some of that stress by making sure you are properly covered for this move.