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There are three different types of moves: local (intrastate), long-distance (interstate, crossing state lines), and international (between countries). Regulations for in-state moves may vary from interstate moves which are subject to federal law. International moves are regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission. Take this into consideration when choosing moving coverage. Ask your moving company for a full explanation of the insurance options they provide.

Interstate moving companies are required, by Federal law, to offer you two alternatives for valuation coverage: (1) Full Value Protection and (2) Released Value Protection. You can also purchase (3) Third-Party Insurance, coverage from an outside insurer.

(1) Full Value Protection
Your mover will be liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods. In terms of protection, this is the preferred choice. However, it does cost more. Unless you select the alternative coverage described below—Released Value—your mover will transport your shipment under the Full Value Protection level of liability. If any article is lost, destroyed or damaged while in your mover’s custody, your mover will have the option to repair it, replace it, or offer you the money to replace it at current market value. The policy may be subject to deductibles and varies cost-wise, by mover. It is important to understand your mover’s specific terms.

There are limits on value, and you must notify the mover of all goods worth over $100 a pound. This includes jewelry, electronic equipment, etc. You can choose to opt out and receive only Released Value coverage.

(2) Released Value Protection
Released Value coverage is offered by moving companies at no additional charge, but the protection is minimal. The mover assumes liability at a minimum of $0.30/lb. per article for local moves, or $0.60/lb. per article for interstate and international moves. For example, if your mover loses or damages a 10-pound television valued at $1,000, you will only receive $6.00 in compensation (60 cents x 10 pounds).

To opt for Released Value Protection, you must sign a specific statement on the bill of lading or contract agreeing to it. To some extent, you are reducing your protection in return for a lower cost.

(3) Third-Party Insurance
You also have the option of purchasing insurance from an outside company. Your moving company will still be liable under the Released Value Protection plan. The remaining amount is recovered from the third-party insurer, up to the Before purchasing insurance, check your homeowner's insurance policy to see if you're already covered, although generally this is not the case.

A helpful booklet from AMSA, which details industry insurance standards, is available for download at http://www.moving.org/files/forms/consumer_handbook.pdf.

Taking photographs is the best way to document the condition of your possessions. Accidents are rare with a professional mover, but they do happen. In cases of damaged or lost articles, you will have to establish the item existed.

You may decide that certain items are irreplaceable and either move them personally, or purchase higher coverage. Your existing homeowner’s insurance policy, most likely, will not cover damages incurred to objects outside your home, but check first.If you wish to take out additional coverage for belongings being moved interstate, consult a nationwide insurance company, like: Moving Insurance.com and Baker International Insurance.

For helpful information on insurance and moving rights, visit this website: