What is moving insurance and do you need it?

Written by Leslie Ventura / December 14, 2022
Reviewed by Heidi Gollub
Fact checked by Jennifer Lobb

Key points

  • Homeowners and renters insurance policies may not cover your belongings if they are lost or damaged by movers.
  • Movers are required by law to offer two liability coverage options if you’re moving out of state. The basic coverage option offers minimal protection.
  • Additional moving insurance can be purchased through the moving company or from a third party.
  • If you aren’t hiring movers, you can still buy insurance to protect yourself financially during a move.

Moving can be daunting, but the average American can expect to do it 11.7 times in their lifetime, according to the United States Census Bureau.

That adds up to plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong. Moving insurance covers losses and damage to your possessions that happen during a move. Here is what you need to know.

Inside this article

  1. What is moving insurance?
  2. Moving insurance for when you hire movers
  3. Moving insurance for when you move yourself
  4. Do you need moving insurance?
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

What is moving insurance?

Moving insurance is designed to cover your belongings during a move. However, most moving insurance sold by moving companies isn’t technically insurance, which means it isn’t governed by state laws.

Instead, moving companies sell valuation coverage, which ensures compensation from the mover in case of loss or damage of your belongings. This type of liability coverage may also be referred to as movers insurance or house moving insurance.

While there are different types of moving insurance you can buy, each plan guarantees a certain amount of coverage and payout for your belongings if they are lost or damaged during a move.

Moving insurance for when you hire movers

Federal law requires interstate moving companies to offer customers two liability options, or valuation coverage: released value protection and full value protection. Most movers offer both of these types of coverage for intrastate moves as well.

Released value protection

Released value protection (RVP), also known as basic carrier liability, is the most basic coverage moving companies are required to offer by law. This liability coverage is offered at no additional charge. 

Because it is free, RVP coverage is minimal. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, you can expect a payout of no more than 60 cents per pound, per item with RVP. So, if your $1,000 MacBook Air that weighs 2.8 pounds is lost during a move, you will only receive a payout of up to $1.68.

Full value protection

The most extensive type of coverage movers can offer ensures that the moving company is responsible for the total replacement value of items damaged or lost in a move. If your items are lost or damaged and you purchase this type of coverage, the mover may:

  • Offer to repair the item 

  • Replace the item with a similar one

  • Reimburse you based on the item’s current replacement value

Full value protection varies by company, so be sure to discuss policy details, including deductibles, before buying this coverage.

Third-party liability coverage

In some cases you can also purchase third-party liability coverage through your moving company. The moving company will still be responsible for the released value protection of 60 cents per pound, but this additional insurance policy will cover the rest of a loss, up to your policy limits. 

Make sure you understand what’s covered and what’s excluded before buying extra moving insurance, and get the coverage details in writing. 

Moving insurance for when you move yourself

Don’t want to hire movers? Check your renters or homeowners insurance policy to see if it covers valuables being transported in your car or a rental truck. 

If you’re worried about coverage gaps, here are some options to consider.

Relocation or transit trip insurance

A relocation or transit trip insurance policy can cover your belongings if you’re moving them yourself. This type of third-party moving insurance may cover:

  • Damage to items in a set, such as furniture 

  • High-value items

  • Mechanical and electrical accidents 

  • Mold and mildew

  • Natural disasters

Not all insurance policies are the same. Some may not cover jewelry or collectibles. If you’re moving valuables, you might want to purchase additional coverage. 

Rental truck moving coverage

If you rent a truck to move, you are liable for any damages to the truck as well as your own cargo, including you and your passengers. You may be able to buy moving coverage from the truck rental company. 
Coverage types commonly found in these types of policies include: 

  • Cargo protection

  • Damage waiver to cover the rental truck

  • Medical and life insurance 

  • Supplemental liability coverage if you’re at fault for an accident in the truck

  • Towing device insurance

These policies typically exclude coverage for:

  • Damage caused by normal shifting of your belongings

  • Improper packing 

  • Theft of your belongings

Penske Truck Rental, for example, offers a limited damage waiver for accidental damage to the moving truck and supplemental liability insurance that protects the renter against third-party insurance claims of up to $1,000,000 if an accident occurs while operating the vehicle. 

It also offers cargo insurance, towing insurance (for people towing their automobile) and personal accident insurance, which provides accidental death and accidental medical coverage. 

As with any moving insurance, take time to read the policy carefully before purchasing rental truck coverage. 

Do you need moving insurance?

You may want to consider moving insurance if you have expensive possessions to transport or if you’re moving far away. Moving insurance can give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to replace or repair items that are damaged or lost in transit. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does homeowners insurance cover a move?

Homeowners insurance typically offers coverage for your belongings if you’re moving them in your own vehicle or with a rented moving truck. 

Your homeowners policy likely won’t cover any damages that occur to your possessions while being handled by movers, when packing or physically moving your belongings. 

Speak to your insurance agent for details on what is and isn’t covered during a move to best determine if you should buy additional moving insurance. 

Do movers cover broken items?
What do I do if movers break something?

About the Authors

Leslie Ventura

Leslie Ventura

Leslie is a freelance finance and lifestyle writer from Chicago who’s been writing professionally since 2010. Prior to her freelance career, Leslie was a reporter for the Las Vegas Weekly where she regularly interviewed some of the world's top entertainers and entrepreneurs. 

Leslie has a passion for making the intimidating world of finance accessible to everyone, especially people of color and the LGBTQ community. Having started her own personal finance journey in her early 30s, she believes it’s never too late to start investing in yourself.

Full bio
Heidi Gollub

Heidi Gollub

Heidi Gollub is the lead editor of insurance. She was previously the assistant managing editor over insurance for U.S. News & World Report.

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Jennifer Lobb

Jennifer Lobb

Jennifer is an experienced insurance and personal finance writer. For nearly a decade, she’s helped consumers make educated decisions about the products that protect their finances, families and homes. 

Prior to joining Sound Dollar, Jennifer served as the deputy editor of insurance at Forbes Advisor and was an insurance staff writer and editor at U.S. News.  She also spent several years covering finance and insurance for various financial media sites, including LendingTree and Investopedia.

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