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Do you need moving insurance?

By George Hadgelias

Amid the chaos of moving house, it’s easy to overlook things, but researching moving insurance is one job that shouldn’t be neglected.

Like any other kind of insurance, moving cover provides peace of mind and financial protection, but experts say it’s important to read the fine print to understand what a policy means.

Many Australians assume damage done during a professional move will be covered by their own home and contents insurance or the removalist’s cover, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

Who provides moving insurance?

  • traditional content insurance providers
  • qualified removalist firms
  • specialised moving insurers

Many home content policies insure possessions during transit, but only if a professional mover is used. This varies policy to policy though, with some insurers offering it as an optional extra. Some insurers won’t cover DIY moves, or only offer certain levels of coverage.

Removalists qualified to sell financial products can offer insurance as part of their service and there are also specialised insurers, dedicated to offering moving cover.

Joe Lopino, executive director of the Australian Furniture Removers Association (AFRA), says while AFRA removalists always take the utmost care, accidents happen.

“That’s why moving insurance is always worth looking at,” he says.

What should a moving insurance policy include?

Lopino says AFRA members must have public liability insurance, third-party property and motor vehicle insurance and carriers’ legal liability insurance in case of potential claims arising from negligence.

“People need to become informed about moving insurance – what policies are out there, what they actually offer and what is covered.”

He says many removalists advertise themselves as being “fully insured”, but that doesn’t necessarily extend to the goods in the back of the truck.

“Don’t make any assumptions, always check,” Lopino advises.

What paperwork should a moving policy include?

A removalist qualified to offer insurance will be able to provide a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), a Financial Services Guide (FSG) and documents in the client’s name.

Damian Petruccelli, manager of CARTS Removals Insurance, a program through Arrowsmith and Petruccelli Insurance Brokers, says insuring household goods while in transit (and storage if required), is a no-brainer.

CARTS offers full cover and “restricted cover with nominated perils”, which provides more limited cover for loss or damage in the event of fire, flood or collision.

Petruccelli says while all good removalists are insured, if they aren’t legally responsible for a mishap which damages goods being moved, the owner can be the loser.

“There is a misconception and an expectation that the removalist should have to accept all responsibility for loss or damage caused during a move. This is not always the case.”

The cost of moving insurance is based on the sum the contents are insured for, Petruccelli says.

“Valuables including money and jewellery, are excluded, but insurance covers things like furniture, electrical goods and garden equipment.”

CARTS’ cover is “floor to floor”, which is from the moment the item is picked up by the removalist in the old property and placed in the new, he says.

CARTS offers instant quotes and cover online, but broadly speaking, full cover to move the contents of an average Australian home, moving within the same state, ranges from $320 to $600, Petruccelli says.

He says this figure can change depending on a number of factors, such as the value and types of goods, claims history, the distance to be travelled, any storage period and the excess selected.

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