When you hire a professional mover, your contract will automatically include a low level of valuation coverage (aka liability coverage) called “released value protection.” If you’re trying to stay within a tight moving budget, you might be tempted to opt for this level of coverage because it doesn’t carry any additional expense.

Under federal law, moving companies must also offer you another, more comprehensive, level of liability coverage called full value protection. You’ll need to choose between these two options before you sign on the dotted line. Some moving companies may also offer you the opportunity to purchase an additional, third-party moving insurance policy if you opt for released value protection.

If all of this sounds a bit confusing and you’re unsure which option is best, our team at Ace Moving & Warehousing has you covered. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about your various moving insurance options and how to determine which one is right for you.

What Is Released Value Protection?

All legally operating, insured moving companies are required to carry and provide you with basic carrier liability—that’s released value protection. If any of your belongings suffer damage or get lost during the move, this level of coverage will reimburse you $0.60 per pound, per item.

For example, let’s say your movers were loading up your 20-pound, 50-inch flatscreen TV and accidentally dropped it, causing irreparable damage. If you chose the released value protection coverage, that coverage would only reimburse you $12 for your expensive TV ($0.60 x 20 pounds). By law, the moving company is not required to reimburse you any more than that. 

So, while released value protection won’t cost you a penny extra, it doesn’t offer much in the way of protection or reimbursement for anything that might get lost or damaged. Obviously, $0.60 per pound, per item, doesn’t even come close to the actual value of your fragile belongings or even the lower-ticket stuff you might be moving.

What Is Full Value Protection?

Under federal law, all moving companies must also offer you a higher level of valuation coverage called full value protection. This level of coverage will reimburse you for the full (current) market value of any item that suffers damage or gets lost during your move.

But—and this is very important—your moving company is legally allowed to limit their liability (aka reimbursement) for items of “extraordinary value.” Those items include anything you own that’s worth more than $100 per pound.

However, when you declare those items in writing on your shipping documents, the moving company will not be able to limit their liability for them. If a declared, high-value item gets lost or damaged during your relocation, the movers must reimburse you for the item’s full, current market value.  

Unlike released value protection, which is essentially free, full value protection carries an additional expense. But what you’ll pay for a full value protection plan varies from mover to mover. Depending on the company, you may be given various deductible options to choose from that will ultimately impact the plan’s cost.  

Should You Choose Released Value or Full Value?

If you don’t explicitly choose released value protection and sign a statement indicating your choice, the moving company will automatically choose full value protection for you. And the cost of that plan will then be added to your bill.

So which option should you select?

Ultimately, the choice is yours and only yours to make. If you want to risk not being properly compensated in the event of item damage or loss, that’s your risk to take. Just remember the TV scenario we went over earlier: you’d get a measly $12 for a flatscreen that likely cost you $1,500+.

If you want more peace of mind knowing you’ll receive reimbursement for the actual value of any damaged or lost goods, go with full value protection. It might cost you extra, but if you’re moving anything of substantial value, you have a lot to lose. A higher level of protection could end up being more than worth its cost.

Third-Party Moving Insurance: What You Should Know

If your moving company offers you the option to purchase a third-party liability plan, should you take them up on it? That depends.

First, understand that any third-party coverage you might be offered is not regulated by federal law. It’s optional coverage governed by state laws. Released value protection and full value protection are regulated by federal law, which requires movers to offer both of these coverage options.

If you already know you’ll be opting for full value protection, it probably doesn’t make much sense to purchase a third-party policy, too. But if you know you’ll take the released value option, purchasing a third-party policy may be in your best interest if it makes sense financially.

However, if you have homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance, your policy may already have some type of moving coverage built in. Before you buy third-party moving insurance from any source (whether that’s your moving company or another marketplace), make sure you don’t already have another type of coverage.  

Often, people prefer to obtain insurance through their moving company to keep all of their costs bundled together and easy to track. But if you’re looking to get the best deal, always take the time to compare policy prices.

Ready to Hire a Moving Company Near Minneapolis?

If you are looking to move soon, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at Ace Moving & Warehousing in the Twin Cities! We’ve facilitated thousands of local and long-distance, residential and commercial relocations over the last 10+ years and offer a wide variety of moving services to suit virtually any need.

Whether you’re looking for transport service, full moving and packing services, climate-controlled storage, or a fully customized move plan, we’ve got you covered.

To learn more or get a quick moving quote, give us a call today at 763-755-2045 or request an estimate online, and we’ll get in touch!