International Moving Insurance: All you NEED to Know
Shipping all or next to all of your belongings for your move abroad is a process that entails numerous stages. You should, therefore, always keep in mind that your belongings will be handled at various points in that process and that they are susceptible to possible theft, damage, and loss. When relocating to your new home it’s always best to protect yourself from the worst. Luckily, there are decent international moving companies that offer various options for insurance. If you don’t know where start then this article is perfect for you. Here is the Relocator’s breakdown of everything you NEED to know about international moving insurance.
Where can I get international moving insurance?
From an international moving company
From the insurance company that your company chooses
From a marine insurance broker
Directly from an insurance company
Let’s note two things before moving on. International moving insurance is also known as “marine cargo insurance”. Don’t be mislead by the word “marine”. Marine cargo insurance covers your belongings while in transit by land, air, and sea. The second thing to note is that there is no standard international moving insurance that all moving companies use. This means that even if two companies offer an insurance with the same name they might have noteworthy differences found in their terms and conditions. That said, here are some of the most common and widely-used insurances provided.
Basic Moving Insurance – Certified movers are actually required by law to provide some basic level of insurance. Usually this determined by establishing a limit to the financial liability at hand.
Release value protection – Type of Basic Moving Insurance where one is reimbursed 60 cents per pound of every they own. This type of insurance should already be included in the quote that your moving company gives you.* Different moving and insurance companies have their own version of basic moving insurance. Always ask the companies you are in contact with what type of basic moving insurance is included in their quotes.
All-Risk Cargo Insurance – Moving company is obligated to repair or replace any of your items due to common vulnerabilities of shipping. These include fire, theft, loss, water damage, non-delivery, and improper storage. There are exceptions to some of these vulnerabilities which are in the terms and conditions of a moving company’s policy so pay attention to the fine print.
Full Replacement Value Coverage at Destination – Type of All-Risk Cargo Insurance. Most comprehensive and protective insurance and also the most expensive. Only purchasable if your belongings were professionally packed. If your items are damaged or disappear then moving company will cover it by fully repairing it or replacing it with a “like-kind”.* In order to buy this insurance you will have to create an inventory list of all the items you are moving. With that you will also need to declare the value of each item according to the value at the destination. Most embassies (of the country you are moving to) have data pertaining to cost of living information and helpful indexes that give you an idea of the value of your items in that country. Ask the company you are in contact with if more clarification is needed.* Recommended for household goods and automobile shipments
Lump Sum aka Assessed Value – Type of All-Risk Cargo Insurance. You get covered based on an amount you declared that reflects the total coverage you desire for your shipment. The pricing structure of this insurance varies with each moving or insurance company so we recommend asking about this option when you are in contact with a representative. * Moving or insurance company will request for you to make a list of specific items that are individually valued at a minimum price. These items are then noted as part of the lump sum but not intended as additional value. * Recommended if you have lots of small high-value items that don’t weigh much.
Total Loss Cargo Insurance – Covers all your belongings only if there is total loss of your entire shipment due to certain disasters (fire, Acts of God, trucking accident, or missing of the vessel). This type of insurance will not cover any individual items that have been lost or broken.
Additional insurance – Some moving or insurance companies offer additional insurance as a way to customize your insurance package. Depending on the type of move you make and the company you can choose common add-ons such as:
Pairs and Sets – If a set of your silverware (or anything that comes in sets) is broken during their way to your end destination, mover or insurance company is required to replace the entire set.
Mechanical Derangement – Movers or insurance company will pay for any repairs to your electronics if they were damaged during transit. If repairs are not possible they are required to replace the items.
Mold and Mildew – If your furniture accumulates mold or mildew during their transit in the shipping container, the movers or insurance company are required to replace your furniture.
Organizing this aspect of your relocation might give you the case of information overload. That’s understandable. However, always keep in mind that the moving or insurance company you are dealing with are there to make your life easier not harder. Rely on them if you ever need more information or clarification on any aspect of your move.
No matter what kind of insurance package you choose and regardless if it’s required or not, we highly suggest any relocator (that’s you) to make a complete inventory of all their belongings that they will ship. This way you are already a few steps ahead should the worst-case scenario happen.
Many moving companies actually provide their moving insurance through third-party companies. So spend an hour or two researching insurance companies to see if working with them directly will provide rates or coverages that are better than the international mover’s.
Read the fine print. As mentioned before, each insurance policy comes with their own exceptions. This means that if your belongings were damaged as a result of something that is listed in the exceptions clause, you will have no right to claim compensation. See the table below for a common list of exclusions found in many insurance policies.
Speaking of compensation, its is also important to note that moving/insurance companies may take up to 4 months after they receive your complaint to decide on whether they will pay that claim.
Common exception clauses in many insurance policies
Insufficient packing (packing was not done professionally).
Impact of radioactive explosion, radiation (very specific and low probability catastrophes).
War risk, terrorist and unlawful acts, committed on political grounds.
Confiscation, expropriation, arrest, liquidation of insured cargo by order of state authorities.
Loss or damage caused by perishable goods, acids, paints, aerosols, etc’.
Mechanical and/or technical breakdown relating to your electrical equipment.
Excluded cargo – Cash in transit, precious metals, financial documents, bank notes, coins, securities, shares, cheques, Cameras, Jewelry.
Shortages of cargo while the container and seals are intact.
Storage cover – some moving insurance policies have a time limit for goods that are being held in a storage facility, and others won’t cover shipments in storage.
Pairs and sets clause – If part of a matching set (like dining room chairs, or dinner set) is damaged, the insurance company will not pay to replace the whole set even if you can not find a matching piece.
Special packing and appraisal might be required by the insurance company for piano, art, antiques, fur coats, oriental and Chinese rugs, etc’.