Insurance claims guide for beginners

Some of your belongings got damaged in the transport during the relocation? If you have moving insurance, then you need to submit a claim. You should know that this thing takes time, patience and persistence. Some movers may try to avoid paying for the damaged stuff, but if you hire reliable movers, there shouldn’t be any problems. Making insurance claims isn’t that hard, and this guide will help you through this process.

Insurance claims towards movers

As much as it is important to avoid injuries while moving your home, it is also important to know how to make insurance claims.
Before the relocation, the mover should give you an inventory sheet to sign. That is that list of all the items that you are relocating to your new home. Once you sign it, you are agreeing that those are all of your belongings. So before you do, check many times are all the packed things listed on the inventory sheet. You can’t make insurance claims on the things that are not in this document. Once your belongings arrive and you unpack them, your inventory has to match the inventory sheet. If some of them are missing, you have grounds for an insurance claim.

Visible damage

Before you make a claim, take photos of the things that are broken. If the exterior boxes where your things were packed have been damaged, take photos of that too.  If you want to ensure acceptance of your claim, ask movers to hold the boxes while you’re taking the photos.

Damage after the unpacking

If the damage isn’t visible, and you notice it when you unpack your things, you need to file insurance claims within nine months after delivery. It is always the best to report the damage as soon as possible.
The moving company must acknowledge receipt of your claim within 30 days. It also must deny or make an offer within 120 days of receipt of your claim.

Insurance claims will go smoother if you have photos of the broken items.
Take photos of your broken belongings.


When you are considering a settlement, you should know what is liability amount you declared on your shipment. If the value of your shipment was estimated to $10.000, that amount is the maximum liability of the mover. Any claim for the higher amount, the moving company will automatically decline.

Know the settlement maximum when you are making insurance claims.
Don’t ask the settlement that is higher than the agreed movers’ maximum liability.

If you packed your home on your own, the moving company may not accept your insurance claim. Maybe you were using the best packing tips, but you still can be responsible from the damages to your things. Or at least the moving company can claim that. Be sure to have a moving insurance that covers the damages to your things whether you pack yourself or by using the packing services from the movers.

Insurance claims towards the third party

If you have an moving insurance from the insurance company or through your home insurance, the inventory sheet plays a big role in this case also. There has to be the movers’ sing on it, as well as your own. It is proof that the missing or belongings that suffer a damage, was really in the process of moving. Again, you can’t file an insurance claim for the things that aren’t on this sheet.
The third party will often work directly with the mover, so you don’t have to. When you make a claim with them, they will determine what was the cause of the damage, and arrange a settlement.

Your insurance claims – step by step

Step 1: Report it

Even though the nine months deadline feels like a long time, the sooner you make an insurance claim, the better.
The more you wait, the more time will pass until you get your settlement. If the damage is visible, report it right away. If you notice the damage to your belongings, make a claim as soon as you finish unpacking.

Step 2: Check your policy

Make sure that your missing or damaged belongings are on the inventory sheet. Check your policy and see what coverage you have. There are various types of moving insurance, and they all have different coverage. For example, some moving insurance won’t cover the damages that were caused by natural disasters. If the hurricane hits while you are unpacking your things, your insurance may cover the damage control after hurricane, but not to all of your belongings. So read the insurance agreement very carefully before you sign it.

Step 3: Find all the documentation

Having everything to hand makes the whole process go more smoothly.

You’ll need:

  • Your policy document
  • Inventory sheet with yours and movers sign
  • Delivery papers from the movers
  • Photos of the damaged items (not necessary, but very beneficial)

Step 4: Get the facts straight

To help speed up the processing of your insurance claim, answer all questions truthfully. If the damaged item has already some scratches or damages, don’t try to hide it. Especially if there are the photos of the items before packing. Some movers are taking the extra step of photographing the item before packing in order to avoid claims that have no ground.

In order to get your facts in check and fail a complaint as quickly as possible, it is often best to write it down.

Make sure you know:

  • Moving times and dates
  • The damages to your belongings
  • What you’re claiming for – for how much money and what amount do you expect to get
  • Details of everyone involved

Step 5: Call your broker first

When you buy your moving insurance policy through a broker, they’ll often help you make an insurance claim.
They might offer advice and support, or work with your insurance company and moving company. They will get almost everything done for you.
Before you talk to your insurance company, it’s worth giving them a call.

Step 6: Call the insurance company’s helpline

When you have moving insurance from the third party, you can call the helpline of the insurance company. They will guide you on the process of making the insurance claim and inform you about everything you have to obtain. The number of the helpline you can find on the insurer’s website or in your policy document. When you explain what happened, you will be given the information on how to proceed with an insurance claim.

Call the help center of your insurance company.
Customer support will guide you through the process of making the insurance claims.

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