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Homes Overseas October 2008


homes_overseas_oct2008Philip Pertoldi, Chairman of Abels Moving Services, offers guidance on insurance for moving abroad, just in case the worst happens.

There is much to plan when moving abroad. But do not forget to make sure that your valuable belongings are covered by insurance during the move.

This applies whether your move is a relatively low-risk one by road to Austria, or to a country with more chaotic conditions like Zambia, and 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 transit and storage insurance, covering goods in transit and during incidental storage en route and longer-term storage. However, insurance must be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and will be stated on the documentation. Insurance may be at additional cost or, more rarely, included in the removal quote.

First, it is important to check the level of cover. There are three available: A – the highest level, commonly called an ‘all risks’ policy, to C – which is often described as ‘total loss only’ or ‘restricted cover’. All risks is the best.

Then it is essential to check what type of replacement 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 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 in the policy.

Two types of insurance policy may be offered by the remover. A block policy or an individual policy based on a detailed inventory.

The block policy is a general insurance policy, usually offered by operators only providing a road removal service, and is based on the remover’s turnover. Often, there are various exclusions, a financial limit and 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 total loss, the maximum limit covers the value of the goods. This could mean in the event of your valuable antiques being destroyed in a crash, that you receive only a fraction of their value.

An alternative is an individual policy based on a detailed valued inventory. The insurance company will charge a premium based on per £100 or a percentage of the inventory value. It is vital to look at the type of clause being offered, whether A, B or C, specific exclusions and the type of replacement offered.

This type of insurance may be more appropriate. Additionally, a detailed inventory can be used for household insurance in the destination country.

Some removals companies are able to offer an inventory service, including photographing items such as valuable antiques.

Often movers require in advance an inventory of valuable or fragile items. Failure to do so in time may result in a reduced payout in the event of a claim.

It is important that the inventory valuation accurately matches actual values. If the actual value of goods is double that declared, proportionately, you will only receive half of the value claimed. 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 removals 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 detailed inventory of owner-packed goods.

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.