Moving house can be one of life’s most stressful and challenging events, so most people rely on insurance to offer peace of mind.
The clearest way to ensure you’re covered during your move is to book with a professional removals company, let the movers pack up and physically move your belongings, and check your possessions immediately upon arrival for any damages.
But not all home insurance policies cover your possessions while in transit. As a result, home movers need to understand what their existing coverage does and does not cover, and whether they need additional moving house insurance to protect their belongings in the event of damage or theft.
You should plan to have your buildings and contents insurance in place before you move in -- preferably from the day you exchange contracts.
That’s because you’re responsible for your new home once you’ve exchanged contracts, regardless of whether you’ve actually moved in.
And by making sure your contents are insured before the move itself, you will protect against any damages or theft that might occur in transit.
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The most important coverage you’ll need is a contents insurance policy that includes coverage for moving home.
You should look for whether policies cover:
scuffs, scratches, and dents caused by the move
official financial documents, such as bonds and deeds
cover for high-value items, including money
long delays caused by bad weather or other unplanned factors
In order to retain your coverage, you’ll probably need to use a professional, licensed removals company. DIY movers, including the proverbial ‘man with a van’, will likely invalidate your coverage.
In fact, some house moving insurance policies will only cover damages if your boxes have been professionally packed, so look for a removal company that offers a packing service. Discuss your needs with your removal firm because it could be the difference between having your claim accepted or rejected.
You should also check how long your contents cover will last. Moving house insurance typically only lasts a few days, so you may need to extend your policy if, for example, you’re planning to put your possessions in storage for a long period.
Many home removal companies will exclude specific items, such as cash, jewellery and, in certain cases, documents. For the move, you may wish to physically transport these items yourself, though in the longer term it will be worthwhile to look into specialised policies that cover these things.
Only select a home insurance policy once you’re certain you’ve gone through and understood the details, including what is and is not covered, and what the amount of your excess is. If you’re uncertain, ask your insurance provider.
Some home insurance policies will cover the move to your new home while others don’t. According to one estimate, 42% of insurers won’t cover your move at all.
But it depends on your specific coverage, so you’ll need to check the details of your existing policy for rules or restrictions. Look over your policy documents and, just to be sure, phone your insurance firm and ask if your possessions will be covered for your move.
Many insurance policies include a cap on the value of any items you’re going to move, so at the very least you may need to seek supplemental coverage.
To that end, a number of insurers offer existing policyholders the opportunity to add on moving house insurance, sometimes referred to as ‘contents in transit’.
Similarly, some removal firms offer insurance policies, though they may only cover around £40-50 in damages. Check with the removal company about what’s included in your contract with them and in what circumstances you’ll need to pay extra for coverage.
To that end, you should plan to complete a detailed inventory of all your possessions, including their values, before you move.
Your insurer will usually set limits on total coverage for damages. But you may wish to notify them if any item you’re moving exceeds what’s known as a ‘single item limit’, which is frequently around £1500.
Although there’s no guarantee your price will remain the same, your insurer may be able to transfer your existing policy to your new house.
But home insurance premiums are based on a number of risk factors, including local crime rates, weather conditions, and the type of area (countryside vs. city, for instance) in which the home is located, so quite a bit may change between your old and new homes.
Even if you stick with the same insurance provider, they’ll need to re-evaluate your coverage once you’ve settled into your new home.
Regardless, speak to your insurer about how your move could affect your rates and then shop around for other options.
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