My purpose in writing this brief article is to provide a little information about insuring personal property while it is being moved or is in storage, and to encourage you to do a little insurance planning.
Many of you have probably learned the hard way that all insurance policies have coverage limits, special limits, conditions, exceptions, and exclusions.
In fact, years ago I got carried away and decided to highlight a Homeowners Insurance Policy in three colors:
• Green, where coverage was given
• Yellow, where it was limited
• Red, where it was taken away
I don’t remember the exact percentages, but, after I had finished, approximately 97 percent of the policy was yellow and red (i.e. taking coverage away). So, now that you know that a lot of things are not covered by your Homeowners Insurance Policy, let’s look at a Q&A about coverage for your personal property while moving or in storage.
Q: If my belongings are damaged while in transit in another state, will they be covered?
A: For starters, your policy probably states that it covers personal property owned or used by an “insured” while anywhere in the world. So, if the damaged property is not an excluded type and it is damaged by one of the 16 named causes of loss (see below),
it will probably be covered.
Q: If my property is damaged while in a self-storage unit, will it be covered?
A: If your property is damaged while in a self-storage facility, it will be covered for the same 16 causes of loss (see below)
, but your limit of insurance might be reduced by 90 percent.
Q: If my property is damaged while in transit, will it be covered?
A: Probably, if the damage is caused by one of the 16 named causes of loss (see below)
. There will be no reduction of your coverage limit in this case.
Q: If the movers drop and break my expensive new television set, will it be covered?
A: Probably not. Remember the 16 named causes of loss (see below)
Q: If there are only 16 causes of loss that are covered, what are they?
A: If you really want to know, the 16 covered causes of loss are: fire or lightning; windstorm or hail; explosion; riot or civil commotion; aircraft; vehicles; smoke; vandalism or malicious mischief; theft; falling objects; weight of ice, snow, or sleet; accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam; sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging; freezing; sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current; and volcanic eruption. Note: falling objects does not cover the falling object itself which would have been your expensive television.
As a reward for reading this far, I will give you a couple of valuable tips:
1. Create a video inventory
as you pack and/or store
2. Talk to your insurance agent
before you move or store anything because there are some homeowners policies that are not limited to the 16 causes of loss.
Jim Moore is the president of James E. Moore Insurance Agency. Established in 1954, it has become one of the most trusted independent insurance agencies in North Carolina. The James E. Moore Insurance Agency is a family-owned business and offers homeowners, automobile, life and health, employee benefits, and commercial insurance products. For more information, call 910.256.5333 or visit the agency’s website at www.jamesemoore.com.