Accidents can and do happen on the road. In most cases, your homeowners or personal auto insurance policy won’t cover your possessions if you are using your own or a rented vehicle when moving, especially if it’s interstate. Fortunately, some rental truck companies like Budget, Penske and U-Haul do, however, offer protection plans that you can purchase optionally that not only protects the rental vehicle, but also the driver, passengers, and your belongings depending on the type of coverage you choose. These optional protection plans include damage waiver, cargo coverage, supplemental liability coverage, towing insurance and personal accident insurance.
Professional moving companies on the other hand are required by federal regulations, as enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), to offer two types of protection coverage for out-of-state moves. Referred to as “valuation,” which is not really insurance, it is the predetermined limit of liability of the movers that will be as stated on the bill of lading or moving contract. The first type is “Released Value Coverage” or basic carrier liability which is free and based on weight, paying up to 60 cents per pound for each item lost or damaged while in transit. The second type is “Full Value Protection” under which the mover is liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods in your entire shipment
With Full Value Protection, which is not free, in the event that any article is lost, destroyed or damaged while in your mover’s custody, the mover will, at its discretion, offer to do either of the following for that lost, destroyed or damaged item: repair the item, or replace it with a similar item, or make a cash settlement for the cost of the repair or the current market replacement value. Under this option, movers are permitted to limit their liability for loss or damage to articles of “extraordinary value,” defined as any amount in excess of $100 per pound, unless you specifically list these articles on the shipping documents.
Some moving companies also offer expanded valuations, like “declared value” which allows you to set a per-pound amount for your belongings and “assessed value” or lump-sum value which allows you to set an amount based on cost rather than weight.
In addition to the value protection options mandated by federal law, some moving companies may also offer you separate optional insurance. Governed by state law, this separate liability insurance pays for the insurance amount purchased, but minus the basic carrier liability amount that the mover pays for lost, damaged or destroyed items. Of course, you can also buy additional insurance from a third-party insurance company of your own choosing if you want to be certain that your belongings are sufficiently protected while in transit.