Cover Your Accidents
As we bid farewell to February (and the Northeast says good riddance) we here at HireAHelper are ready and eager to welcome the warm, bright spring. And what better way to liven our hearts than with a talk about customer coverage and shipment valuation?
Okay, this may not be the hottest, rockingest, most party-down topic on the planet. But it is one of those things we really need to have down. Particularly now, as we begin to gear up for the busier months, it is a good idea to regain a firm grasp on the ins and outs of property protection and liability inside moving insurance.
A Customer Gets Burned
In this month’s Pro Tips section we see the importance of understanding this crazy little thing called coverage. Dianne Langdon loses everything when the truck with all her belongings goes up in flames – BUT she remembers purchasing something called “Full Value Coverage”. She believes, understandably, that this means her things will be covered for their full monetary value. But this is not quite right.
Bekins makes it clear – sort of – on their website that a $6/lb Full Value Coverage plan is automatically included in the given cost of a move. It is up to the salesperson to explain, and the customer to decide, whether this is the appropriate type and amount of coverage – and if it isn’t, agree on terms that the customer is comfortable with.
And it is here that the Bekins breakdown seems to have occurred. Ms. Langdon thought “Full Value” meant full value of everything. And it would have – if she had bought coverage for the $90,000 she thought her belongings were worth. But she didn’t. She had the default $6/lb deal with the misleading name.
In short, we need to be crystal clear with our customers when it comes to matters of coverage for their belongings. Explain the terms of their insurance, even if they don’t ask.
Moving Coverage, by HireAHelper
Standard Repair Coverage Insurance
HireAHelper offers this coverage at no charge on all non-same-day moves. With Standard Repair Coverage Insurance, any damaged item will be replaced at a rate of 60 cents multiplied by the item’s weight in pounds. For this coverage to apply, the Customer must:
- Book their move at least 24 hours in advance.
- Fill out the electronic inventory list in their HireAHelper customer account by 11:59pm the day before the scheduled date of the job. (Note: Editing the inventory list after this time invalidates this coverage.)
With this moving insurance the customer’s items are covered while the movers are handling them, as well as while the items are being transported by the customer or a 3rd party, if:
- The items are transported in a rental truck or storage container (PODS, PackRat, Go Minis, etc.) **There is no coverage for items transported in freight trailers such as ABF and Old Dominion.
- The customer hires help through HireAHelper to load AND unload their shipment.
- The customer provides pads for the movers to protect the items.
- This moving insurance does NOT cover items that are packed by owner (PBO).
Be sure to explain to the customer exactly what $0.60/lb. coverage means before the start of the move. Do not wait until their crystal punch bowl is lying in pieces all over the kitchen floor, their leather sofa has a fresh new tear in the cushion or their sweet new touchscreen laptop has gone tumbling and crashing down the stairs. Trust us. This is not the time.
Standard Repair Coverage Insurance is underwritten by GSIS Inc. Customers do not interact with GSIS at all, HireAHelper handles all the coverage and claim work before and after the move. Any customer wishing to file a claim can do so at http://hireahelper.com/complaints-claims/ within 7 days of the job completion. Note: The policy number for a Standard Repair Coverage Insurance policy is the same as the order ID number.
HireAHelper has teamed up with MovingInsurance.com to offer a higher level of coverage to our customers. This custom Full Value Coverage policy, not available to the general public, can be purchased by any customer who hires a mover with an average review rating of 4.5 or higher. This extra moving insurance covers:
- “goods while they are being handled by the movers”
- “goods while in transit in a storage container if the container is loaded & unloaded by movers hired via the HireAHelper marketplace.”
But: Goods are not covered while in transit in a rental truck, even if HireAHelper does both the loading and unloading.
To qualify for this additional level of coverage the customer must hire a mover with an average review of 4.5 Stars or higher. The cost will depend on the customer’s estimated valuation of their belongings and which type of coverage they desire. Moving Insurance.com offers an exhaustive list of FAQs. Here are a few highlights:
- Several types of moving insurance coverage are available, for individual items or for a customer’s entire shipment.
- Rates vary depending on whether the coverage is needed just while the movers are handling the items, or while the items are being transported in a moving storage container.
- Several levels of deductibles are available.
- Depending on the type of coverage the customer may have to complete an inventory list of their belongings. This can be done online and does not have to be done all at once.
- Certain types of coverage must be purchased ahead of the move. Others can be purchased at any time during the move.
There truly is an impressive amount of information on the MovingInsurance website. Take some time to familiarize yourself with their policies and requirements, and encourage your customers to do the same. When they are ready to submit a quote request, this is where they go.
Coverage For You, The Mover
While most of HireAHelper’s movers participate in paying a standard fee on each order in return for assistance in covering damage claims on their orders, a few choose to have slightly lower HireAHelper fees on each order by covering all damage claims on their own. If a customer has the standard $0.60/lb coverage and the movers are set up with HireAHelper’s standard coverage then they are responsible for a portion of the damages (normally the first $150 of the deductible). If the movers self cover they are responsible for all damages.
If a customer purchases full value insurance, MovingInsurance can subrogate up to $0.60/lb of the damages to the $0.60/lb policy. So movers who have HireAHelper’s coverage assistance can use it to help cover this subrogation. Movers who self cover are responsible to cover the subrogation on their own.
High Value Inventory
Along with the regular inventory sheets, we always (right?) give the customer a High Value Inventory Sheet to fill out. The how of filling out this form is clear: have the customer list each to-be-moved item that exceeds $100 per pound. This would include things we encourage the customer to keep with them – jewelry, watches, precious stones and gems – as well as items we are more inclined to handle, like electronics, furs, silverware, china, crystal and fancy-schmancy figurines.
The explanation at the top of many HVI Sheets we’ve seen contain some variation of ‘This form should be filled out so the driver is aware of which items should be given special attention’. This, of course, might make the customer wonder what sort of attention the rest of his or her things will be given.
The why of the High Value Inventory is what is important. Sure, we do want to know there’s a Tiffany lampshade somewhere around here that we don’t want to get loaded under a packed file box. But the real reason for the HVI Sheet is – you guessed it – liability.
For any extraordinarily valuable items the customer must not only list them on the HVI but, in the event of loss or damage, provide proof of the monetary value of the item. Failing to do either or both of these limits the mover’s liability to $100 per pound per item, based on each item’s actual weight.
So when it comes right down to it, this HVI is a valuable document for both customer and mover. It is valuable to the customer because it ensures their most expensive and precious items will be properly and fully covered by their moving insurance, as long as they adhere to the documentation rules. And it is valuable to the mover who is not only made aware of what expensive items he will be moving but indicates, at least in a general sense, how much he’ll have to cough up if he doesn’t take care of the customer’s things.
Note: If a customer chooses the basic and free $0.60/lb. coverage items listed on the HVI Sheet will be covered at the same $0.60/lb. The only purpose of the HVI would thus be to alert the movers to these items.
Remember! Letting the customer know all of this is critical for maintaining a transparent and responsible stance on the issue of damage and claims.
Occasionally a customer will ask: “Does my homeowner’s (or renter’s) insurance cover my belongings in case of damage or loss? If so, is it 100% coverage?” The blunt but correct answer to this is “Sir (or Ma’am), that is for you to find out.”
Of course, we want to use nice words but seriously, there are more terms and conditions for more policies than there are insurance companies – or insurance agents probably. We are in no position to understand or give advice on anyone’s personal insurance policy. Our job is to explain only what we can offer, and under what terms.
After that, we simply do our best to avoid having to deal with any liability issues, in any way, for the rest of the move.
Naturally, we want to avoid having to deal with moving insurance claims and coverage and valuation in the first place. And on many moves we perform no issues ever arise. But occasionally things do happen. And we are all committed to proper and professional handling of each situation that occurs.
This starts long before anything ever happens. It starts before anyone lifts a finger.
It starts by knowing – and explaining to the customer – the rules and responsibilities for all involved.