The good news about moving insurance: Moving companies offer some of it for free.
The bad news: If they drop your new LCD TV, the settlement you get probably won't even buy you a TV dinner.
There are essentially four ways to protect your move:
It's free, but it doesn't provide much protection.
This is known as "full-value replacement protection," and is available through your mover.
But do not assume that you're covered; be sure to research your coverage options.
This article largely addresses long-distance moving, which is overseen by the federal government. However, you'll encounter similar options for your in-state move, although they vary a bit state to state.
Technically known as "basic carrier liability-release value," it's the minimum required by federal law.
This is covered in your base move price, costing you nothing extra. Because of this, it's the most economical option, but your goods are often covered to no more than 30-60 cents per pound per article. This coverage is called "released value" or "Carrier's Liability."
For in-state moves, the amount of liability will vary, but it's often 30 cents a pound. For interstate moves it is 60 cents per pound per article. So, if you're using a long-distance mover and your 30-pound TV is destroyed in transit, you would only get $18 for a replacement.
Obviously this won't replace the TV, so think twice before agreeing to this coverage. If you agree to this, you will be asked to sign a statement of agreement on the Bill of Lading (a document releasing your goods to the moving companies).
Under this option, any goods lost, damaged or destroyed during the move will be repaired, replaced, or a cash settlement will be made from the moving company.
This is the most comprehensive insurance plan available for the protection of your goods while in transit. Costs vary depending on the mover, but choosing a higher deductible can reduce the cost.
Also, the moving company can protect itself from damage to high-value items, which are generally items with an individual value of over $100.00 per pound, unless you list them separately. Most moving companies give you with a high-value inventory sheet on which you can list these items. Be sure to do so.
Your moving company might offer an insurance policy through an insurance carrier, or you can seek quotes on your own. It's usually cheap, often below 1% of your goods' value.
Some homeowner's insurance covers your goods fully or partially while in transit, so ask your agent to see if and how you're covered - you might not be insured for certain types of damages and you'll be limited in your coverage.