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What Kind of Insurance Do I Need for an Office Move?

March 1, 2017 / by Tommy Twardowski

The kind of mover's insurance you need depends on the type of moving company you hire. A common assumption is that moving companies have insurance that covers the client, and while that is true to some degree, it is not the type of insurance most movers think of when they think about coverage.

(Find out more about movers versus furniture installers in our blog:Do I Really Need a Certified Office Furniture Installer?)

Another misconception people have is that their office insurance will cover any damage that occurs during their office move. Again, while technically true, most business owner's insurance does not cover the type of damage a person thinks of when they imagine a moving accident.

Defining Mover's Insurance

The type of insurance moving companies provide is called valuation coverage. And, there are different types.

Complete Value Protection

The highest grade valuation coverage is called complete value protection. Not all companies offer it, but those that do will cover property that is damaged or destroyed, as well as property that is stolen or lost. Complete value protection will also pay for the repair of damaged property. But -- like with almost all insurance -- there is a monetary minimum the protection will cover and also a deductible.

Assessed Value Protection

This insurance is for valuable items, including jewelry, expensive yet lightweight home appliances and decor like a chandelier, and antiques. Assessed value protection, as the name suggests, means an agent valuates individual items and determines their worth. The amount determined is the sum the protection will cover for a given item. Like complete value protection, not all moving companies offer assessed value protection.

Weight Declared Value Protection

A dollar amount per pound is assigned to the mover's property, and the total weight determines the maximum amount a moving company's insurance will pay out for damaged or missing items. Damages to different items are subtracted from the ceiling amount, and then any damages that go over the ceiling amount are not covered. To illustrate, a typical mover in Houston might charge $0.60 per pound. A common office desk weighing 150 pounds would only be covered up to $90 under a damage claim, but that desk might easily cost you $600 - $1500 to replace. Or, high-quality file cabinet, costing $800+ and weighing in at 100 pounds, would only be covered up to $60. 

Catches to Value Protection

Depending on the contract of each moving company, stipulations vary. But there are two common exceptions in which a moving company's value protection will not cover damage.

  1. Boxes you packed. Some moving companies will not cover property you packed into boxes yourself. It is not uncommon for a company to stipulate that employees of the company must pack the property in order for the valuation coverage to insure damaged, stolen or lost property.
  2. In-transit damage. Another common exception to valuation cover is in-transit damage. Any damage that occurs between point A and point B may not be covered.

It is important to understand that as you select better insurance, a mover's bid to cover costs -- keep this in mind when you are getting quotes. You may also be interested in reading: 5 Questions for Your Office Furniture Installer Before Your Next Move.

Guide for next move

Office and Renter's Insurance

General business owner's insurance is typically limited to about 10% of the contents limit listed on the owner's policy when the covered property is in transit.

Office contents insurance offers little coverage to property damage that occurs during a move. However, you should be able to contact your insurance broker to purchase additional insurance that can easily and inexpensively cover your property during your office move.

While there are exceptions to the rule, unless you are paying for premium insurance, you cannot expect office insurance to cover move-related damage and loss. It is always best to contact your insurance representative about any questions you may have over what your insurance covers.

In order to protect your property during an office move, you should review the contract you sign with the moving company and take out an insurance policy specifically for your move that covers whatever is not protected by the valuation coverage.

While very few policies cover every imaginable scenario, make certain you have coverage for your property during the packing portion of a move, during transit and while property is being unpacked.

Lastly, choose a company that is highly rated by your peers or others in your industry. Reviews are a valuable resource and can help you gain insight into how you can expect an office move to go. A moving company that causes damages almost always ends up with a very disgruntled customer as the customer was not well informed before the moving process began. You have the ability to choose a company that values your business and will provide full replacement on damaged items.

If you are the person responsible for an upcoming office move and haven't found the answers to your question in this article, do not hesitate to contact Houston Installation Services, but it is always recommended that you see your personal insurance representative for advice and insurance coverage questions. 

Do you need office furniture installers or office movers for your next office move or remodel? Take our quiz.

Topics: Office Relocation, Office Move, Facility Managers, Managers

About The Author

Tommy Twardowski

Tommy Twardowski

Tommy began his career in the office furniture installation business in 1978 and started his full-time career in 1981 with Houston Installation Services. Starting as a furniture installer, he developed a passion for the process of installation and learned to install all major manufacturers’ lines.