Moving Insurance: An Experts Guide

When relocating, whether across town or internationally, safeguarding your belongings against unexpected damages or losses is crucial.

This is where moving insurance comes into play, serving as a protective measure that ensures peace of mind throughout the transit of your possessions.

Moving insurance can cover a range of incidents, from damage during loading and unloading to loss and destruction in transit, providing necessary financial protection in these situations.

However, not all moving situations are automatically covered under basic liability plans that movers offer.

In many cases, moving companies can contract out of default liability, which means they are not responsible for any damages unless you purchase additional insurance coverage.

This contractual detail often goes unnoticed by many homeowners and renters until it’s too late.

Understanding the types of moving insurance available, and critically, recognising the limitations of movers’ default liability, is essential.

Securing the right insurance coverage goes beyond basic protection, allowing you to customise the coverage based on the value of your items and the specifics of your move.

This way, you can ensure that your belongings are not only physically moved but also financially safeguarded.

As we delve deeper into the realm of moving insurance, we’ll explore the various options available and provide guidance on choosing the right coverage to match the complexities of your relocation needs.

This proactive approach ensures that you are well-informed and prepared, making your moving experience as stress-free as possible.

What is Moving Insurance?

Moving insurance, also known as transit insurance, is a type of policy designed to protect your belongings against loss or damage while being transported during a move.

It can cover local, long-distance, and international relocations.

Understanding Insurance Coverage When Moving House

When relocating, it’s crucial to understand that standard home and contents insurance policies might not fully cover the risks associated with moving your belongings.

Typically, these policies do not extend to covering items while in transit unless specifically stated.

It’s important to check with your insurance provider about the extent of coverage during the moving process.

You will more than likely need to consider purchasing transit insurance direclty with your mover.

This ensures that your possessions are protected against potential damages or losses during the move.

Always discuss your specific moving plans with your insurer and mover to tailor the coverage to your needs and secure comprehensive protection for your belongings.

AA Insurance
AA Insurance offers very limited moving insurance (source).
AMI Insurance
AMI also offer very limited cover whilst moving (source).
Tower only offers limited transit insurance cover whilst moving (source).

Understanding Moving Insurance Policies

Moving insurance plays a critical role in safeguarding your belongings during the moving process by providing financial protection against potential damages or losses.

Here’s a closer look at the types of moving insurance available:

  1. Basic Restricted Coverage:
    • This is often the minimal coverage option provided at no extra cost by moving companies.
    • Coverage is typically based on the weight of your items, not their actual value. For example, this type of coverage might offer around 60 cents per pound per item, which means if a 30-pound TV valued at $900 is damaged, you would only be entitled to $18 compensation under this plan.
    • It’s important to understand that this coverage may not provide adequate compensation for high-value items due to its limited nature.
  2. Released Value Protection:
    • A step above basic liability, released value protection still offers minimal coverage but at a slightly higher compensation rate.
    • This option generally covers goods for approximately $1.25 per pound per item, making it a slightly better choice than basic liability, though still limited.
    • It’s suitable for less valuable items where the risk of significant financial loss is lower.
  3. Full-Value Protection:
    • This is the most comprehensive form of moving insurance. It covers the full cost, repair, or replacement value of damaged or lost items.
    • Unlike the other options, full-value protection ensures that you are compensated for the actual market replacement value of your items.
    • Particularly recommended for high-value moves, as it provides greater financial security and peace of mind.
  4. Separate Valuables Insurance:
    • Essential for high-value items such as jewelry, artwork, and antiques which may not be adequately covered under standard policies.
    • This insurance is tailored to cover items whose value significantly exceeds the per-pound coverage offered by basic or released value protection.
    • It ensures that valuable pieces are insured based on their appraised value rather than weight, providing appropriate coverage commensurate with their worth.

Coverage Details of Moving Insurance

Moving insurance provides a safety net during the various stages of relocation by covering potential damages and losses.

Understanding what your insurance policy covers, as well as its exclusions, is crucial for ensuring that your possessions are adequately protected.

Here’s what moving insurance typically covers, along with common exclusions to be aware of:

What Does Moving Insurance Typically Cover?

  • Damage: Insurance typically covers physical damage to your belongings during transit. This includes damages incurred while loading, transporting, and unloading your items.
  • Loss: Coverage for items that are lost during the move, ensuring compensation for items that do not arrive at the new destination.
  • Handling: Damages that occur during manual handling of your belongings, such as packing and moving boxes and furniture.
  • Packing and Unpacking Phases: Some insurance policies extend coverage to damages that occur not just in transit, but also during packing and unpacking. This coverage is particularly valuable as many damages occur during these phases due to improper handling or packing.

Exclusions to Watch Out For:

  • Certain High-Value Items: Items such as jewelry, fine art, and antiques may require separate valuables insurance as they are often excluded from standard moving insurance policies due to their high value and specialized handling requirements.
  • Mechanical Failure: Standard policies typically do not cover mechanical failure of electrical or electronic items unless specific mechanical derangement coverage is purchased. This means if an item stops working post-move without visible physical damage, it might not be covered.
  • Damage from Inadequate Packing: If items are packed by the owner (known as “PBO” – packed by owner) and not by professional movers, the insurance might not cover damages that occur due to inadequate packing. Always check whether your insurance requires professional packing to be valid.

How Much Does Moving Insurance Cost?

The cost of moving insurance varies based on several factors that influence the level of risk and potential payout by the insurer.

Understanding these factors can help you better estimate the insurance cost for your move and choose a policy that offers the best balance of cost and coverage.

For a domestic move, comprehensive transit insurance typically costs about 1 to 2% of the total insured value of your belongings.

For an international move, full comprehensive marine transit insurance generally ranges between 3 and 4% of your sum-insured value.

Here’s what typically influences the cost of moving insurance:

Factors Influencing Insurance Costs:

  1. Total Value of Goods:
    • The overall value of the items being moved is one of the primary determinants of insurance cost. Higher-value shipments carry a greater risk and therefore command higher premiums. Insurers often require a detailed inventory list to assess the value and adjust the premium accordingly.
  2. Distance of the Move:
    • Longer moves involve more handling and greater risks of accidents or loss, increasing the insurance costs. International moves are particularly costly to insure due to the complexities involved, such as customs clearance and the potential for damage during longer shipping times.
  3. Specific Coverage Options Chosen:
    • The type of coverage selected also affects the cost. Basic liability coverage is often included at minimal or no cost, but it provides very limited protection. Opting for full-value protection or separate valuables insurance significantly increases the cost but offers more comprehensive coverage.
    • Additional riders or clauses that cover specific risks (like mechanical derangement or pairs and sets coverage) can also increase the premium.

Examples of Typical Costs:

  • Basic Restricted Coverage: Often provided at a minimal cost, it might cost around 1% of your sum-insured value with a nil excess.
  • Comrehensive Cover: Might cost slightly more than basic liability, perhaps around NZ$1.25 to NZ$1.70 per NZ$100 of item value with a NZ$250.00 excess.
  • Storage Insurance Extension: This will often cost around NZ$0.30 per NZ$100 of item value with a NZ$250.00 excess.
  • Separate Valuables Insurance: Cost depends heavily on the item’s value and rarity. High-value items like artwork or antique furniture might cost more to insure, often requiring appraisals and might cost upwards of NZ$100 or more per $10,000 of value.

How to Calculate your Sum Insured Value?

When it comes to declaring the total value of your belongings for a move, you have two primary options:

  1. Lump Sum Value: This method allows you to declare a single value for all items involved in your move or shipment. To aid in this valuation, a benchmark value is provided, generally calculated at NZ$2,500 to NZ$3,500 per cubic meter of household goods and personal effects. This figure serves as the minimum lump sum value. If this benchmark does not accurately reflect the value of your possessions, you have the flexibility to increase it to better match their worth.
  2. Valued List of Goods: Under this option, you itemise each possession included in your move, assigning an individual value to each item. This detailed approach helps you compile a comprehensive and precise total value for all items being moved.

Example of Insurance Calculation for a Domestic Move

Suppose you’re relocating within New Zealand, from Auckland to Wellington, with a total shipment volume of 35 cubic meters.

Using the lump sum valuation method, we calculate the sum-insured value at NZ$3,000 per cubic meter.

This calculation results in a total sum insured of NZ$105,000.

Applying a premium rate of 1.7%, the total insurance cost comes to NZ$1,785, with an additional NZ$250 deductible.

Insurance is a major source of profit for moving companies, and they are often willing to negotiate on the premium.

Legal and Contractual Considerations for Moving Insurance in New Zealand

Understanding the legal and contractual landscape surrounding moving insurance in New Zealand is crucial for ensuring that your belongings are adequately protected during a move.

Here are some key points to consider:

Legal Standards in New Zealand

In New Zealand, the legal framework governing moving services and insurance is designed to protect consumers while also allowing flexibility for service providers.

The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) and the Fair Trading Act (FTA) provide the foundation for consumer rights and business obligations.

Under these laws, moving services are expected to be delivered with due care and skill, and goods should be transported without damage or loss.

Contracting Out of Statutory Liability

However, moving companies in New Zealand can contract out of statutory liability under certain conditions.

This means they can limit or exclude their liability for loss or damage of goods during the move, provided they have the customer’s informed consent.

This practice makes it crucial for consumers to purchase additional moving insurance to cover potential risks that the mover’s default insurance does not cover.

Choosing the Right Insurance Provider

Selecting the right insurance provider for your move is crucial to ensure that your belongings are properly protected.

Here are some tips to help you compare insurance policies and choose the best provider for your needs:

Tips on Comparing Insurance Policies and Providers

  1. Coverage Specifics: Start by assessing what each policy covers. Compare the details of what’s included and excluded across different policies. Look for coverage limits, deductibles, and any special endorsements that might be necessary for high-value items.
  2. Cost Comparison: Evaluate the cost versus the coverage provided. Cheaper policies might not always offer comprehensive coverage, leading to higher out-of-pocket costs in the event of a claim. Consider the balance between the premium costs and the deductible amounts.
  3. Reputation and Financial Stability: Research the financial stability of the insurance providers. A company with solid financial health is more likely to handle claims efficiently and effectively. Check ratings through financial rating agencies such as AM Best or Standard & Poor’s.
  4. Claims Process: Understand each provider’s claims process. A straightforward and transparent claims process is critical in times of stress, such as when dealing with lost or damaged belongings. Check how claims are filed, the typical processing times, and any customer feedback regarding their claims experiences.
  5. Customer Service: Evaluate the level of customer service. Good customer service can make a significant difference, especially when you need support during the moving process. Look for providers that offer accessible, responsive, and helpful customer service.

Importance of Checking Provider Credentials and Consumer Reviews

  • Licensing: Verify that the insurance provider is licensed to operate in your area. This ensures that they comply with local regulations and standards.
  • Consumer Reviews and Testimonials: Look at reviews and testimonials from other customers. These can provide insights into the reliability and customer satisfaction levels of the provider.
  • Industry Affiliations: Check if the provider is affiliated with any reputable industry organisations, which can indicate a commitment to industry standards and ethical practices.
  • Ask for Recommendations: Don’t hesitate to ask friends, family, or professional contacts for recommendations based on their experiences. Personal endorsements can lead you to reliable providers.

Filing a Claim: Process and Expectations

When you’ve experienced loss or damage to your belongings during a move, filing an insurance claim is a critical step towards obtaining compensation.

Understanding the process and knowing what documentation is required can make this potentially stressful situation more manageable.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to navigate the claims process for moving-related damages or losses.

Step-by-Step Guide to Filing a Claim

  1. Notification: Immediately after discovering a loss or damage, notify your insurance provider. Most policies require prompt notification for a claim to be considered valid. Check your policy for specific time frames within which you must report the incident.
  2. Documentation:
    • Inventory List: Provide a detailed inventory list that was submitted when the insurance was purchased, showing which items were moved.
    • Photos and Videos: Submit clear photos and videos of the damaged items as evidence. This should include images that show the extent of the damage clearly.
    • Repair Estimates: If applicable, provide estimates for repairing damaged items from reputable service providers.
    • Purchase Receipts: For lost items, receipts or other proofs of purchase can help substantiate your claim regarding the value of these items.
  3. Claim Form: Fill out the claim form provided by your removal company or insurance company. Provide complete and accurate information to avoid delays in processing your claim.
  4. Assessment: The insurance company may send an assessor to evaluate the extent of the damage or loss. Be prepared to show where the items were damaged and discuss the circumstances of the incident.
  5. Resolution: Once your claim is processed, the insurance company will offer a settlement. The time it takes to receive compensation can vary, so ask about typical processing times.

What to Expect During the Claims Process

  • Communication: Expect regular communication from your mover or insurance provider. Keep a log of all interactions, including dates, names, and the content of communications.
  • Adjustments: The initial settlement offer may not fully cover your reported loss. Be prepared to negotiate or provide additional documentation if needed.
  • Payment: After a settlement is agreed upon, the insurance company will arrange for payment. This could be in the form of a direct payment to you, a direct payment to vendors for repairs, or a replacement of the item.
  • Time Frame: The entire process, from filing the claim to receiving compensation, can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the complexity of the claim and the efficiency of the insurance provider.


Why do I need moving insurance if I already have home insurance?

While some home insurance policies may offer limited coverage for belongings in transit, many do not cover items outside the home or have significant restrictions.

Moving insurance ensures your items are protected specifically during the move.

Are there any items that cannot be covered by moving insurance?

Yes, most moving insurance policies have exclusions.

Typically, perishable items, plants, and certain high-value items like jewelry or rare collectibles may require additional coverage or may not be covered at all.

How do I file a claim if something is damaged during the move?

To file a claim, you’ll need to notify your insurance provider as soon as possible.

Provide detailed documentation, including photos of the damage, a detailed inventory list, and any receipts or appraisals.

Your insurer will guide you through the claims process.

How soon before the move should I arrange moving insurance?

It’s best to arrange moving insurance as soon as you have a confirmed moving date.

This ensures you have adequate time to evaluate your options and get the necessary coverage in place before your belongings are packed and moved.

Does moving insurance cover items packed by the owner?

This depends on the policy.

Some insurers require that professional movers pack your items to extend coverage, while others may offer limited coverage for items packed by the owner.

Always check the terms of your policy.

What should I do if my belongings are stored temporarily during the move?

Check if your moving insurance includes storage coverage, or if you need to extend your coverage to include this.

Some policies offer storage protection for a defined period, while others require an additional premium.

How are premiums for moving insurance calculated?

Premiums are typically based on the total declared value of your items, the distance of the move, and the level of coverage selected.

Factors like the method of transportation and optional coverages (such as for high-value items) also affect the cost.

Is moving insurance worth the cost?

Considering the potential risk of damage or loss during a move, moving insurance can be a worthwhile investment.

It provides peace of mind and financial protection, ensuring that you are compensated for any losses incurred during the moving process.

Who are the main underwriters for transit insurance in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, the primary underwriters for transit insurance are Vero and NZI.

These companies are well-established in the insurance market and offer a range of policies tailored to meet the specific needs of moving both domestically and internationally.