Insurance


You absolutely should try to have your items in storage insured. Any reputable warehouse operator will insist you have some insurance coverage for your goods in storage. Generally, most warehouse operators will offer liability insurance that is included in the rental charge. In some states, such as New York, insurance is required by the warehouse operator and is included in the rental charge.

The insurance offered in the rental charge is almost always going to be the very minimum amount allowable by law, approximately $0.30 per pound per item. This offers very little protection for you items. For example, the replacement value on a 20-pound television set will many times more than the $6.00 covered by the insurance policy (i.e. 20 X $0.30 = $6.00). For comprehensive insurance you will need to look at alternative options.

In some cases, your homeowner's insurance policy may cover your household goods while in storage. You will want to first check with your insurance company before accepting any additional insurance offered by the warehouse operator. Make sure it is okay with the insurance company to add or remove items from the space, no matter what policy your goods are covered under

Your insurance needs will change as you add or remove items from the space. Typically you must inform the storage facility when adding items after the initial inventory. You don’t want to find out that a recently added antique was damaged while in storage but not covered by insurance. Warehouse operators who offer extra insurance may require that you accept their insurance coverage if you want to store your goods with them. Others offer you several options with outside insurance companies. These companies can offer competitive rates due to the bulk discount they receive from the insurance companies.

When taking out extra optional insurance, it is extremely important to accept coverage that actually covers the entire value of your goods. For example, if you have a $20,000 dining room set insured for 20% of its value, you will receive only $4,000 (in the unfortunate event it becomes damaged beyond repair while in storage). If you have $100,000 worth of goods in storage and they are insured to $20,000, you will receive one fifth of the value of each item.

Damage such as moisture damage due to high humidity levels or due to vermin may not be included in any standard policy and if you want this coverage you will pay extra. To manage this risk effectively only use a storage company.

You should also check to see if your goods are insured during transit to storage. Many moving companies offer little or no protection when transporting your goods into a storage facility. If you are planning on renting a truck and driving your goods to the warehouse you should talk to the truck rental company about additional insurance options. Full and self service moving companies can offer insurance with better protection and if you need additional insurance an insurance company will have better rates for full and self service movers.

A full service move is where the moving company sends a truck to your home, packs up your household items, loads them on the truck and delivers them to your home. This is an excellent way to move the contents of your entire home without the headaches of packing.

The "You Load We Haul" alternative (or self service move) is very popular with people trying to save money without having to rent a truck and drive an unfamiliar vehicle to their new home. The moving company drops off the trailer portion of the tractor-trailer to your home or provides you with an individual container, you load up your household goods, the trucking company's professional drivers haul the load to your destination, and you unload the trailer or container.

Make sure you know exactly when your household insurance policy ends. Does it expire the minute your household goods leave the home? Does it end when you go over state lines? Worse again, it may expire when your old home is sold. If you plan on storing your goods until you find a new home, there are some homeowner's insurance policies that do cover household goods while in transit. Check with your homeowner's insurance company to find out if the policy is void once you close on your old home. It may be of little use to you as this is most likely when you will be moving and will need storage.

If you are fortunate enough to have coverage, make sure you contact the insurance company and ask them to explain the level of coverage and what exactly is covered. In the event you need to file a claim with the insurance company you will need to prove that the loss or damage is due to the mover's negligence. If you are packing up the goods yourself and renting a truck, you will need to prove negligence on the part of the truck rental company. No money will be paid out due to items damaged from your own poor packing.

Price should not be the only consideration when examining estimates from truck rental companies. While it is nice to support the local mom and pop rental truck companies, these smaller companies often do not offer such extras such as insurance or roadside assistance. For personal insurance you will need to find out if your auto insurance policy protects you while you drive the truck (this is not common). Contact your auto insurance office and find out how much extra it will cost to insure you and the truck. Your own auto insurance policy may also offer roadside assistance, even if you are in another vehicle. Make sure to talk with them first to confirm and provide details on the truck you will be driving, when you will be driving, where you will be driving, and for how long.