Pre-Move Appraisals

It is very important for consumers to understand the limited level of protection for damage or loss that can apply to moves unless a proper insurance policy is taken. A pre-move appraisal can be helpful in two ways: it can substantiate the existence and replacement value of your expensive possessions and secondly, it provides the information needed to purchase additional insurance for your move.

Moving companies will offer you a Valuation Program instead of a traditional insurance policy. Valuation is not insurance but instead a tariff level of motor carrier liability. If you want insurance you must provide that for yourself by contacting an insurance company.

Most moving companies have two types of Valuation Programs:

  • Released Rate Liability. This is the basic coverage provided to you during a move. Under this program the maximum liability for damage or loss to any article in the shipment is 60 cents multiplied by the weight of the article. This is usually the standard protection that a moving company must provide at no additional charge. In this instance, depreciation does apply but there is no deductible and no added cost to the customer.
  • Full Value Coverage. Under this plan the moving company can either repair the item to the extent necessary to restore it to the same condition as it was when it was received by the moving company or replace it with an item of like kind and quality or pay for the cost of such a replacement. An additional charge is required for this option and it is usually up to the moving company to determine a settlement if something is damaged or lost. A deductible may apply with this type of coverage.

In the moving industry, items having a value of more than $100 per pound are known as articles of extraordinary value. All articles of extraordinary value in your shipment must be listed on the High Value Inventory Form which will be given to you by the moving company. Although you might have other articles of extraordinary value, the following list should help you identify items that might fall under this classification: jewelry, furs, art, coin collections, crystal figurines, antiques, oriental rugs, precious stones or gems, china and silverware. In the event of a claim, any settlement involving an article of extraordinary value listed on the High Value Inventory Form is limited to the declared value of the items, based upon the Valuation Program applicable to your shipment. If an article of extraordinary value is not listed on the form, the moving company’s maximum liability is often limited to $100 per pound per article.

It is also worth noting the difference between Valuation and Insurance. High Value Items will only be covered for the dollar amount that you list on the forms before the move. If some items are mistakenly undervalued, it then becomes your problem if they are subsequently lost or damaged. If a High Value item is not listed on the form, you will only receive $100 per pound if there is a claim. It would be quite upsetting to receive only a few hundred dollars for something as valuable as a Tiffany Vase!

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