International Moving Insurance for Expats

International moving insurance is an absolutely must
for anyone who is relocating overseas

There are so many expenses involved in relocating overseas, and you are probably juggling to find ways to cut them down. The one thing that you must not cut is your international moving insurance.

containershipsinking fragilebox containeraccident

Even if you hired the most professional and reliable international moving company, accidents can still happen. After all you are not moving across the street.
Take a moment and think about your household items journey – First they will be packed in your house and loaded into a container, then the container will be delivered to the port, go through custom, and loaded on a vessel, which will be sailing through stormy oceans. After arriving to your destination country the container will be unloaded form the vessel, go through custom, might be in storage for a while (if you did not find a house), delivered to your house and finally … you will get to unpack your belongings.

Well, I guess you get the picture.

Some of you might say – “I do not need to worry, as my employer is taking care of all my relocation overseas expenses including the moving insurance policy”.

Well, you are partly right – Indeed most companies with large numbers of internationally located employees have negotiated policies with marine insurance companies. However, not all policies are the same, and while your employer may assume some responsibility for your household items, there may be exclusions for unusual or costly items that are important for you.

It is essential that you obtain sufficient knowledge about marine cargo insurance policy so you can choose the most adequate insurance plan for yourself and your family.

Selecting a Moving Insurance Company

There are several ways to obtain international moving insurance;

  • Through your international moving company
  • Directly from an insurance company
  • Through a marine insurance broker
  • Using the insurance company that your employer chose

Before making a decision and filling out the insurance applications, there are a few questions you should ask:

  • Does the moving insurance company offers a “door to door” policy – from the moment they pack your household goods at origin, till they are delivered into your new home overseas?
  • Does the company offer an “all risk” policy that insures your shipment for its full replacement value at destination?
  • What kind of coverage will be offered to you if you decide to pack your households on your own, instead of packing them professionally?
  • Which law will be applicable to the moving insurance policy? Destination country? Home country? International law?
  • What exclusions are included in the policy? Are there any clauses stating that you are not covered by the insurance policy or that you will not be paid out in certain circumstances?
  • Will it be possible to add to the insurance policy clauses and conditions which extend the standard coverage?
  • What are the applicable deductions in case of a claim?
  • What are the claims procedure and the deadlines to submit the claim?
  • Do not forget to read and reread the fine print on your policy.


What is an International Moving Insurance?

movinginsurancepolicy International moving insurance is also known as marine cargo insurance and it covers physical damage to, or loss of your goods whilst in transit by land, sea and air.
There isn’t a standard international moving insurance available that all companies use.

Each company adds specific terms to the moving insurance policy. But there are main insurance covers that are mostly used among of many existing marine cargo insurance companies:

“All Risk” Marine Cargo Insurance

The international moving company insurance is obliged to repair or replace any item that was damaged due to practically all hazards of shipments (breakage, theft, fire, disappearance, water damage, etc’.), except those which are specifically excluded by the terms of the policy.
“All risk” marine insurance is divided to 2 sub categories:

“All Risk” Marine Cargo Insurance Full Replacement Value Coverage at Destination

This is the most comprehensive and protective type of insurance and can be purchased only if your household goods were professionally packed. The coverage is for full repair or replacement value, as determined at destination, with no depreciation.
If you choose this type of coverage you will have to attach to your insurance applications an inventory list indexing each and every item that you are moving. You will also need to declare the replacement value amount of each item according to their value at destination. Do this thoroughly as items that are not listed won’t be covered by the insurance.
Pay attention to the words at destination You should investigate how much your personal effects worth at the destination country. You can check this at the embassy of your destination country; Some of them hold cost of living information and price index data that you can refer to as a guideline.
It is important that you list the full value of the items at destination, as the total liability may be limited if you under insure. For example, if you insure for 80% of the total value and an item is damaged you may only be reimbursed for 80% of the repair cost.

“All Risk” Marine Cargo Insurance Full Replacement Value – Lump Sum insurance

You can simply declare a lump sum amount, reflecting the total coverage you desire for your shipment. With this option, you only list those items that are individually valued at a minimum price that is requested by your insurance company. These items will be considered as part of the declared lump sum and not calculated as additional value, as long as the total value they are declared for is not higher than the total replacement value declared.
We had this type of moving insurance cover. It was offered to us by the foreign affairs office. The Lump Sum amount that we were offered was enough for us. But we had the choice to increase the Lump Sum amount at our expense. If this option is offered to you, then check if you are allowed to increase the Lump Sum amount should you need.

Total Loss marine cargo insurance

Cover is provided only in case of total loss of your entire shipment due to Acts of God, fire, missing of vessel, etc’. The total loss insurance type will not compensate for any individual items damaged or lost.

Standard Exclusions from the Marine Cargo Insurance

movinginsurance1 It is not enough to choose the type of insurance coverage. You should also check the fine prints of your moving insurance policy, as each policy comes with exclusions.
This means that you will have no right to claim compensation should your personal effects were damaged due to these exclusions.
There are a few standard exclusions that are found in many insurance policies, such as:

  • Careless and criminal intention of the insured

  • For self packed households – Insufficient or unsuitable packing

  • Impact of radioactive explosion, radiation etc.

  • War risk, terrorist and unlawful acts, committed on political grounds.

  • Shortages of cargo while the container and seals are intact.

  • Confiscation, expropriation, arrest, liquidation of insured cargo by order of state authorities.

  • Loss or damage caused by perishable goods, acids, paints, aerosols, etc’.

  • Mechanical and/or technical breakdown relating to your electrical equipment.

  • Excluded cargo – Cash in transit, precious metals, financial documents, bank notes, coins, securities, shares, cheques, Cameras, Jewelry.

  • Special packing and appraisal might be required by the insurance company for piano, art, antiques, fur coats, oriental and Chinese rugs, etc’.

  • Storage cover – some moving insurance policies have a time limit for goods that are being held in a storage facility, and others won’t cover shipments in storage.

  • Pairs and sets clause – If part of a matching set (like dining room chairs, or dinner set) is damaged, the insurance company will not pay to replace the whole set even if you can not find a matching piece.

Getting the right moving insurance will make your move less stressful and eliminate worries about losing your items while they’re in someone else’s care. Use these tips to find dependable insurance coverage and peace of mind!