What If My Property Is Damaged in a Move?

Anyone who has moved themselves – with the help of family and friends – has likely experienced the unfortunate experience of having a cherished item get broken or damaged in the move. This is often due to the fact that neither we nor our friends are professional movers and proper precautions are often missed.

This is one of the reasons why people ultimately hire professional moving companies for future moves. They want their valuable possessions – heirlooms, mementos, furniture, antiques, electronics, and other cherished and expensive property to arrive at their new home safely.

If an item is damaged or lost, then the moving company is liable for the value of that item. Keep in mind, however, there are different levels of liability the moving company has and which one of those the customer has chosen as part of their moving contract.

Federal law requires that moving company offer two liability options to customers. This liability is also known as valuation coverage. The two types are released value and full value protection.

Full Value Protection

Full value protection will be the automatic option the moving company will move a customer’s property under unless the customer chooses the other option. Under this option, the moving company is liable for the replacement value of any and all property that was damaged or lost in the move. The company is required to do one of the following:

  • Repair the damaged item
  • Replace the damaged or lost item with a similar item
  • Pay a cash settlement amount equal to the cost of repairing the item or the current market replacement value of the damaged or lost item.

Full value protection liability does allow the moving company to limit the liability they would have if the damaged or lost item was one of extraordinary value. The federal government defines extraordinary value as an item that has a value that is more than $100 per pound. Examples of this type of item include antiques, fine china, silverware, and jewelry.

Released Value Protection

Customers have the option of choosing released value protection. This is the most economical protection of the two options. Consumers should keep in mind, however, the protection this coverage offers is minimal. Instead of full value, the moving company is only responsible for up to 60 cents per pound for the damaged or lost item.

When a customer chooses this type of protection, the moving company may also offer them third-party insurance coverage. This insurance is not part of the moving price and must be purchased separately by the customer. With this insurance coverage, the moving company would still be liable for up to 60 cents per pound replacement value and the insurance company would cover the remaining balance of the value of the damaged item.

Unlike full value or released value, which is governed by the federal government, it is the state the customer lives in that oversees the third-party liability insurance policy. Customers can also purchase third-party insurance on their own. They may also want to check with their homeowner’s insurance policy to see if they may actually be covered for any damages or losses under that policy.