June 27, 2014 at 1:00 am

The Handyman

Insurance coverage crucial for your next move

Got fragile items to move? Consider getting insurance. (Stockbyte / Getty Images)

Recently the focus has been on improving your home since you weren’t moving into a new one. But with the recent uptick in the housing market, I am hearing about more people selling their homes and either downsizing or moving up into a larger one. Either way, moving is a huge task that requires proper prior planning to ensure it goes smoothly.

If you do plan to hire a moving company, it is advisable to do as much prep work as possible to save money, because charges are often based on an hourly rate for loading and unloading the truck, along with a standard rate for the weight and mileage. Things like packaging supplies are an extra cost. To keep costs down, you may want to transport smaller boxes and items to the new home prior to move day.

While getting organized to move will make things smoother and cheaper, one thing that is often tough to control is something getting scratched or damaged during the moving process.

“We offer additional optional insurance that costs $60 for up to $10,000 in coverage and an additional $6 per thousand for anything over $10,000,” said Josh Inbody, move manager for Two Men and a Truck in Troy, (248) 605-8759, twomenandatruck.com. Inbody says the coverage is for repair or replacement of any damaged items during the move.

If you plan to rent one of the PODS storage containers, (877) 770-7637, pods.com, you can also buy supplemental insurance to cover items while they sit inside the POD in your driveway. Once they are on the PODS truck going to your new home, or if they are sitting in the PODS storage facility, the company does provide insurance for damaged items, as well.

While there are many supplemental insurance options available when you move, people don’t always take out the extra insurance coverage because they assume their current homeowner’s policy will cover any damages to items. But not all homeowner’s policies provide coverage for your items during a move, and even if they do, you will still have to pay your deductible. If you are moving things yourself, and have lots of friends and relatives helping transport items in their vehicles, you really need to be careful.

“In many cases, you don’t have coverage for items that are damaged when being transported in your vehicle or your friends’ and family members’ cars and trucks,” said Rick Sovel, an independent insurance agent with Michigan Community Insurance Agency, (248) 465-6200, michigancommunity.com. “Even if your homeowner’s insurance does provide coverage for an item damaged when it was moved in your friend’s vehicle, your insurance company may decide to hold your friend liable and sue them to recover the costs.”

Even if your homeowner’s policy does cover your items during a move, Sovel said he has seen people cancel the policy on their old home before they moved and forgot to transfer it to the new one, so they had no coverage at all.

So talk with your homeowner’s insurance agent to find out what your policy covers before you start hauling boxes in Uncle John’s van or hire a moving company.

If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail askglenn@masterhandyman.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536, between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The “Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.