Are you covered for your move abroad?
There is much to plan when moving abroad. But do not forget to make sure that your valuable belongings are fully covered by insurance during the move.
This applies whether your move is to a relatively low-risk one by road to Europe, or to a place with more chaotic conditions as in Africa, and with a greatly increased chance of something going wrong.
In choosing insurance, there are two basic considerations – who is offering the insurance service and what is covered?.
Any international mover may offer removal insurance or extend their own liability, covering goods in transit and during incidental storage en route and longer-term storage. However, only UK removers authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) are allowed to offer you insurance. This is usually at additional cost and rarely, included in the removal quote.
First, it is important to check the level of cover. There are three available: A Clauses– the most comprehensive, commonly called an ‘all risks’ policy, down to C Clauses – which is often described as ‘total loss only’ or ‘restricted cover’. Alternatives like extending a remover’s liability is used to avoid FSA regulations and in my opinion is not suitable for moving overseas.
It is essential to check what type of replacement cover is offered for damaged or lost items. ‘Like-for-like’ cover means that for any claim, account will be made for wear and tear, with an item’s replacement value based on only its second hand market value. In the case of ‘new-for-old’, this means the cost of replacing a new item for the original is covered within the policy.
Then two types of insurance policy may be offered. A block policy style, or an individual policy based on your declared valued inventory.
The block policy is usually offered by operators only providing a road removal service, and is based as a percentage of the remover’s quotation rather than the good’s value. There are however various exclusions, a financial limit and probably only like-for-like replacement. It is important when examining these types of policies, that not only are exclusions checked, but in the event of a loss, the maximum limit covers the real value of your goods. This could mean in the event of valuable antiques being destroyed in a crash, that you receive only a fraction of their true value.
For the alternative individual policy the insurance company will charge a premium based on per £100 or a percentage of the inventory value. It is then vital to look at the type of clauses being offered, whether A, B or C, specific exclusions and the type of replacement offered.
The latter type of insurance is more appropriate and makes claim settlement easier. Additionally, a detailed inventory can be used for household insurance in the destination country.
Some removal companies are able to offer an inventory service, including photographing items such as valuable antiques.
In any case insurers require in advance of the move an inventory of high value items or sets. Failure to do so in time can result in a reduced payout in the event of a claim.
It is important that the inventory valuation accurately matches actual replacement values. If the true value of goods is double that declared, proportionately, you will only receive half of the value insured, being 25% of the real value in this instance . This is termed by the insurance industry as ‘the condition of average’.
Insurance may be a factor in the decision whether to pack goods yourself or get the removal company to do it. Owner-packed goods can be insured for most risks, but breakage, denting, chipping, scratching and bruising will be exempted by the insurance company, as they usually arise through poor packing. Consequently, insurers also insist on a valued inventory of owner-packed boxes.
Although insurance may appear complicated, by using a checklist of a few basic points, it is possible to avoid the most likely pitfalls.
And if you wish to reduce your risk further, why not ask for your potential remover’s claims record? A remover with a low claims level will only be too happy to divulge it. However, less competent removers may be less forthcoming.