There’s insurance for just about everything these days.
- You’ve probably heard about pet insurance, which covers veterinary costs for cats, dogs, parrots, guinea pigs, geckos, ferrets (and more!).
- But did you know that you can buy wedding insurance in case, for example, one of your vendors doesn’t show or the whole event gets canceled?
- There’s even lottery syndicate coverage for businesses to protect their operations in case a group of employees happens to hit the lottery and quit their jobs all at once.
Given that insurance coverage exists for almost every eventuality, you shouldn’t be surprised when your moving company offers you an option to protect your possessions on their move to or from Alaska.
Although many people refer to this as “moving insurance,” in the moving industry, we call this option “full-value protection.” If you choose this coverage, your moving company will pay to repair or replace any of your belongings that get damaged during your move.
Why Should You Consider Full-Value Protection?
Despite your moving company’s best efforts, there are some risks inherent in moving to and from Alaska.
If your household items are traveling by truck, they’ll be exposed to the vibration of the truck, plus any bumps the vehicle hits on the way to your new home.
If your possessions are traveling by boat, they’ll be subject to the forces that the ocean exerts on the boat. In fact, container ships experience a phenomenon called “parametric rolling,” a specific kind of pitch-and-roll movement that can put significant strain on containers. No matter how securely you pack your container, the laws of physics dictate that its contents will shift in high seas.
There’s also a human factor involved. Your container or your truck will be loaded by humans. If it’s traveling via ocean freight, your container will be loaded and off-loaded onto the ship by a crane operator. Maybe the container gets dropped hard into place, jolting your possessions inside. At the end of the day, when it comes to loading and offloading, the trained professionals involved will give their all, but human errors do happen.
And, occasionally, despite everyone’s best efforts, mishaps do occur: Trucks get into accidents. Containers fall off ships. In fact, an estimated 10,000 were lost overboard last year!iii Although this only represents 0.008% of the 130 million freight containers shipped each year, it does remain (a small) possibility.
So What Can You Do to Protect Yourself—and Your Belongings?
To make sure your belongings are fully protected during your move, there are three things we suggest you consider:
1. Talk to Your Mover About Full-Value Protection
Because they’re not licensed as insurance providers, moving companies can’t call the protection they offer “moving insurance.” Instead, they can offer “full-value protection,” which provides coverage similar to insurance:
In the event that something happens to your possessions during transit, full-value protection covers your items for the cost of full replacement or repair.
Under federal regulations, your moving company is required to offer you a quote that includes the option for full-value protection. (Side note: One of the best ways to understand your rights as a consumer is to visit the FMCSA’s website.) The cost of full-value protection will ultimately be calculated on the value of your shipment.
How Does Full-Value Coverage Work?
Let’s say you decide to ship that reclining sectional your family purchased last year for $2,155. Since it’s almost brand new, and you love its two comfortable reclining sections, you decide to take it with you to Alaska.
However, at some point along the journey, the contents of your container shifted and damaged your sofa. When it arrives, one of the recliners no longer works.
If you purchased full-value protection and properly accounted for your couch within your inventory sheet, the moving company will pay to repair the recliner or replace your couch.
That being said, full-value protection isn’t your only option to protect your move. That’s why we also recommend that you . . .
2. Investigate All of Your Options
When it comes to protecting your possessions, educating yourself is your best bet. Each moving company operates a little differently, but they also must offer one other type of coverage in addition to full-value protection: released value protection.
Under released value protection, the company is required to reimburse you at up to $0.60 per pound per article for anything that gets damaged or lost.
This might sound like a bargain initially, but let’s compare your two options, using the scenario we described above:
Despite your moving company’s best efforts, your $2,155 reclining sectional arrives damaged beyond repair. Here’s how you’d be compensated under your two options:
Released Value Protection
The moving company pays you:
The moving company pays you:
148lbs x $0.60 = $88.80
Your replacement cost: $0
Your replacement cost: $2066.20
So although released value protection will likely be cheaper than full-value protection, there’s a reason: You won’t receive as much compensation if any of your items are damaged in transit.
So in addition to offering you the full cost to replace any damaged items, full-value protection also offers you peace of mind. If you’re at all worried about your items as they make the move to or from Alaska, having full-value protection in place means less worry. You can relocate with confidence, knowing that the moving company will make it right if anything is lost or damaged.
Now, if you already have homeowner’s insurance, you may wonder whether that coverage will cover damage during your move.
That’s why we always recommend that you . . .
3. Get Clear on Your Current Insurance Coverage with Your Agent
When we discuss full-value protection with our customers, many of them ask us:
“But won’t my homeowner’s insurance policy cover me?”
Our response? Talk to your insurance agent. Ultimately, your coverage depends on the language in your homeowner’s policy.
By reaching out to your agent, you’ll understand exactly what you’re covered for—and what you’re not. Armed with that information, you’ll be able to make the right decision to protect your belongings during your move.
That way, if the worst-case scenario does crop up, you’ll know with confidence that you’ve made an informed decision about your coverage.
The Protection Your Personal Possessions Deserve
In an ideal world, you’d never have to take advantage of full-value protection. However, when you’re packing all of your worldly possessions into a truck or a container, full-value protection can offer you significant peace of mind. With coverage in place, you’ll be able to relocate with one fewer worry on your mind—and the confidence that your moving company will replace or repair anything that happens to get damaged along the way.
To discuss whether full-value protection coverage is right for your Alaska move, talk to one of our experts. They’ll help you get a complimentary quote that includes the cost of coverage so you can make the right decision for your most personal possessions.