Home insurance when moving house

Does home and contents insurance cover you during the move from one house to another? Let’s talk about that.

Australian contents insurance policies can offer partial cover for your belongings while you’re moving, but your possessions typically won’t be covered to the same extent as if they were at home.

Do you have to change policies/insurers if you move into a new home

You’ll need to inform your insurer, but don’t necessarily need to switch providers. Many will naturally operate in the same areas.

Your premiums will almost certainly change though, and it’s probably a good opportunity to shop around for new cover. The cover with the most value for money at your old address might not be ideal for your new address.

Should I get insurance through my movers?

It depends on:

  • The quality of the policy they’re offering
  • The details of the service contract you’re signing with the movers
  • How much you’re willing to spend to avoid potential hassle

A moving company might simply offer a low quality insurance policy with very little chance of paying out in order to make some extra money. You should not depend on it without reading and understanding it as thoroughly as you would any other insurance policy.

Even if it’s a decent policy, it might simply restate the terms of the agreement you’re signing with the movers.

Also, moving companies will often have their own insurance to cover your property while it’s under their care. They might just offer you insurance that covers the exact same situations as a way of essentially getting free money from you.

Work out whether you’re actually getting anything from buying insurance from movers. Large moving companies should typically have their own insurance to cover your possessions while in transit and should take responsibility for broken goods.

But actually claiming compensation through a moving company is a different matter. If you just want a reliable and hassle-free moving experience then buying the insurance offered, even if it’s just a way for the moving company to duck its own responsibility for your belongings, might help.

This gives you a distinct point of call and a process for making a claim, rather than trying to navigate an entirely different customer service web in the hopes of eventually finding compensation.

Plus, if you’re moving internationally then breakages or damage might be caused by customs or quarantine agents along the way (or someone might just say that because it’s hard to prove for sure). In that case a separate transit insurance policy might be one of the only ways to get covered.

On the whole, if you know you need insurance for moving house it might be best to shop around for it yourself rather than buy it from removalists. It will often be called “transit insurance.”

You might also have a limited level of cover through your home and contents insurance.

What does moving insurance actually cover?

It can vary widely. Some policies might be junk while others might be very comprehensive. The information on this page might help you with what to look for in a personal transit insurance policy.

How does home and contents insurance cover me when I’m moving house?

It might be safe to assume that contents insurance policies don’t cover belongings against accidental breakages or carelessness while moving, regardless of whether you’re moving them yourself or using professionals.

There are some forms of cover available though.

In an insurance policy, the relevant types of cover will often be referred to as “contents temporarily removed” or “contents in transit” or “portable contents cover”.

Each of these is slightly different, and sometimes a policy might have one or more of them. If you want to check how your home insurance covers you during your move, a good place to start might be to look for these sections in your policy.

Note that the following information is not necessarily accurate for all contents insurance policies in Australia. It’s instead intended as a guide to help you more easily identify whether a particular policy you’re considering might cover belongings.

Contents temporarily removed

This will generally cover possessions that have been taken to another address, whether you’re staying there as a guest or it’s your new home. It will often not cover all your belongings, and might not cover them during the journey.

Other conditions often apply.

  • What it covers. This will typically cover flood, fire and similar insured events while your belongings are at another address.
  • What it doesn’t cover. This cover type will typically exclude items while in transit, and will instead only cover them after arrival at the new address.
  • Restrictions. The most you’re covered for will usually be a set percentage of your total contents sum insured, generally around 20-25%.

Contents in transit

This cover type might be found in some policies, and specifically covers your belongings while in transit between an old and a new address.

  • What it covers. Belongings in transit while in the care of professional movers, specifically against events like car accidents and fire.
  • What it doesn’t cover. It typically doesn’t cover items against accidents or breakages, and may not cover you if you’re moving yourself rather than using professionals.
  • Restrictions: The most you are covered for will usually be a set percentage of your total contents sum insured, generally around 20-25%.

Portable contents cover

This cover type is usually designed for specific items that you want to protect while they’re outside the home.This might be the most likely type of cover for insuring against damage sustained in transit, but it’s often an extra-cost option and is meant for specific valuables rather than your items as a whole.

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Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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