By now, you know that you should probably purchase insurance if you’re moving overseas. With so many steps in the process, it’ll not only give you peace of mind but it could protect you from some serious chaos if the worst should occur. But a good international moving company will offer multiple options for coverage, leaving you wondering: which one would serve you best? Here is a breakdown of everything you MUST know about international moving insurance options so that you can make the best decision for your relocation.
- Legal Liability
This is your basic level of insurance, mandated under a legal liability standard set by the transportation industry. That means it should be included in your quote as a standard part of your international move. This form of insurance establishes a base monetary value for which the ocean carrier is responsible on a per-package basis — most ocean carriers set a $500 liability per package though the definition of “package” differs by company. Air shipment liability is determined by weight, and can vary more widely as a result. The one hitch with this type of insurance? It doesn’t cover a partial loss. That means if something is damaged but not completely destroyed, it won’t be covered.
- Total loss coverage
Instead of establishing a cap to the financial liability, this option will keep you completely covered for the declared value of your belongings if your entire shipment is lost, destroyed, or damaged. That requires a detailed declaration of the value of your shipment, which means a fair amount of legwork upfront — but you then have the peace of mind that you are covered in the case of tragedy. This option does not generally cover partial loss, and can range in cost from 1%-5% of your shipment’s declared value.
- All-Risk Cargo Insurance
The most comprehensive of the three options (and therefore, the most expensive), this covers you in case of any damage or loss to your belongings during ocean transit. Usually, this includes fire, water damage, theft, and partial damage — and it should also include coverage in the case of non-delivery or improper storage on the part of the shipping company. This type of insurance is highly recommended for household goods and automobile shipments when you are moving abroad.
Some moving companies will offer a suite of a la carte add-ons for your insurance. These can give you even more peace of mind if you’re moving a lot of furniture, for example, or a large number of electronics. You might choose to add:
- Mold & Mildew. This obliges your movers to replace your furniture if it becomes affected by mold or mildew while in the shipping container.
- Pairs and Sets. If one of your dishes is broken in transit, the movers are obliged to replace the whole set. Likewise for anything else that comes in sets or pairs.
- Mechanical Derangement. This requires the mover to pay for repairs to any electronics that are damaged in transit, or cover a replacement if the item cannot be repaired.
Since most moving companies secure their moving insurance through a third-party company anyway, you can do your own research to potentially find better rates or more comprehensive coverage if your international movers don’t offer the options you want.
Regardless what type of insurance you choose for your international relocation, it is critically important to make a very detailed inventory of all items being shipped. That way you are fully prepared if the worst case scenario should arise and your belongings are damaged or lost. But let’s hope you never have to worry about that…
For more questions you should ask your international movers before you sign a contract, check out our other blog post.