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Most of us have home contents insurance policies, which protect our belongings when
they are in our homes. But what happens when your entire worldly possessions are
in that strange limbo between homes? Do you need special insurance? Will your contents
policy cover you? Or, are your laptop, Ming vase collection and lucky underwear
all covered by the company who is moving your precious possessions?
Erica Nelson of insurance giant Claims Direct happily points out that your contents
policy should cover you for domestic moves, though you should always check with
your own insurer to make quite sure. A few insist that you add on ‘outside the home’
riders to your policy in order to give full cover, while others only offer to cover
a percentage of your belongings’ total value when they are in transit (this can
be as low as 10%).
“Claims Direct policyholders would be covered by their home contents policy and
the excess would be just the same as if the goods were in their home,” she says.
“But they would need to have the move done by professional movers for the policy
to be valid. Claims Direct also include 72 hours of storage in the policy.”
Most insurers insist that you have your goods packed and moved by professionals
(which, in the case of Claims Direct, is any business that is insured as a professional
mover) for any policy to be valid whilst your goods are in transit. So hiring a
van with your mates is not always the best option for saving money, especially if
you have expensive electrical items or breakables that you wish to move.
Martin Rose of the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS) believes that hiring
a professional is essential if you want your valuables to be covered, pointing out
that your mover should be able to offer extra cover where needed for any valuable
items not covered on your household policy.
“Removals are usually covered by household insurance but the liability is limited,”
he says. “If you go to a fly by night mover you may not be covered but if you go
to a member of the Guild then they you should be properly covered. Quite a lot of
removers will include their insurance as a part of the cost.”
Erica Nelson of Claims Direct is keen to point out they do NOT limit liability,
with full cover being offered up to the value of your policy, as if the goods were
in your own home. Derek Milner, who is proprietor of Intransit Removals and Storage
in Trowbridge, explains that, like many professionals, his company does indeed include
insurance as standard with the purchase of any move.
“All of our quotations include a standard insurance package, meaning that if something
bad happened the client is covered,” he says. “This cover is normally for between
£30,000 to £50,000 per vehicle, the liability within that cover can change. In our
case you can ‘up’ the level of cover for a modest fee, to ensure that everything
is covered. About 25% of our clients take this up.”
Do bear in mind that policies such as those offered in Intransit’s standard package
cover a maximum of around £50 per item, which is not perfect but could save you
from losing your no claims bonus if you have to claim for minor repairs or breakages.
The ‘upping’ that Milner talks of may already be covered by your household policy,
as detailed by Erica Nelson of Claims Direct. But you should always check and go
through the fine print before your mover starts packing away your flatscreen television
and favourite crockery.
We advise our customers to check with their insurers as to what is covered. You should
also check what is covered with your remover (especially if you are not using a
specialist) and arrange extra cover where required.