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Moving? Follow these insurance tips

October 6, 2020

When it’s time to move there’s lots to think about. Up high on that to-do list should be contacting your insurer.

Home insurance policies normally cover your old and new residence for 30 days, but you should notify your insurer 30 to 60 days before your planned moving date. Why? Because your policy is linked to the characteristics of your home. If you move in the summer and your old house doesn’t have a pool but the new one does, your insurer will need to know. Your situation could have changed too – you may be moving in as a couple, buying new furniture or downsizing.

But you don’t have to start over. Your insurer will analyze the new situation and update your existing policy accordingly. If your belongings will be divided between two properties for more than 30 days, make sure you're covered by telling your insurer.

Home insurance with two addresses

While homeowner’s insurance generally does help cover your possessions, the loss has to be related to a peril that's listed in your current policy. And while it’s common for insurance providers to maintain coverage for contents during a move, it’s not a legal requirement. Always double-check with your provider before moving day.

Plus, your home insurance policy protects against liability exposures that your family may face. If you let your policy lapse and accidentally injure a third party, then you’ll be responsible for any injuries and damages sustained by the third party.

Do-It-Yourself costlier than it appears

Maybe you think the move can be handled by you and some friends. You may save money on the moving costs themselves but will you be covered if something goes wrong?

A few things to consider are: 1) you’ll l have to get insurance for the rental truck through the rental company 2) You can insurer the truck through your insurer, but it has to be enough to cover the truck (If something happens to the truck, it will have to be claimed through your auto insurance.) 3) If you just use a trailer, talk to your broker to ensure you have enough coverage for your belongings.

And, if someone is injured while helping with the move, what is your civil liability coverage?

That new 60-inch flat screen you love? If it’s damaged in the move it will be covered with an all risks policy. But if you have named perils, it will be only the ones listed in your insurance policy. Be sure and talk to your broker.

Using professional movers

If you decide to use professionals, there are decisions to make there too. They might just move your belongings from one location to another or they can pack everything.

Be sure to find out what insurance coverage your mover has to determine if you need to opt for additional coverage. For this insurance to apply, you have to follow certain rules, which can vary from one mover to another. Some movers will not insure anything that you have packed yourself, others will provide you with packing instructions.

Ask for a copy of the insurance policies before choosing your moving company. Inspect the condition of your belongings with the mover before and after the move, and make sure you agree on how many boxes there are, to be sure that nothing is lost enroute.

In the event of damage, the moving company's insurance takes priority, but your home insurance kicks in if the damage is beyond the scope of the mover's coverage.

RELATED READING: How to choose a reputable mover

Changing provinces? It matters

If you are moving out of province, you’ll need to check with your insurance company or broker to make sure you can still get coverage in your new location. If not, then you’ll need to give yourself time to find a new provider and set up a new policy.

A study by one insurer showed a whopping 80 per cent of Canadians are not adequately insuring their belongings while they’re in transit.

Need to store your stuff?

Can’t bring everything to your new location? Some insurance companies offer programs to store personal household property in professional storage facilities in either individual units or containers. They can offer flexible time periods of one to 12 months with small deductibles. Talk to your broker to find out if that option is available to you.

Don’t forget to inform you auto insurer

Several factors affect your auto insurance premium and where you live is one of them. If your auto insurance is not with the same carrier, you’ll have to let them know too.

The bottom line is if you’re planning a move soon, don't waste time. Contact your broker to find out about your coverage under your current policy and any changes you might need to have peace of mind. After all, isn’t moving stressful enough?

RELATED READING:13 tips to make moving less stressful