|If you plan on moving and not renting, packing, and driving a moving truck on your own, then a moving company will handle your valuables and ship them to your new location. This creates a complicated situation in terms of liability. Replacement Value Protection is basically a moving-company-specific insurance plan that states that you will get any damaged or lost item replaced or paid for by the moving company.
Replacement Value Protection vs. Released Value Protection
The alternative to Replacement Value Protection is Released or Depreciated Value Protection. This is usually the free level of protection for your possessions but it offers very little in the way of true insurance. This level of protection only compels the moving company to pay you 60 cents per pound of whatever item they destroyed or lost. That means that they'll only give you $30 for a 50 pound TV that they broke. This protection is free because it is the minimal amount of insurance on items that moving companies legally have to offer.
Different coverage in different circumstances
Not all items are covered in the same way under most moving company's Replacement Value Protection plans. Certain highly fragile items that are made of material like glass may not be covered. These items could fall under the specialty item category that would require a third party professional packer in order to be covered.
Things that you have packed yourself may also be covered differently, if at all, under some protection plans. If your shipment has a combination of self-packed and company-packed items, then it may be best to keep an accurate inventory of what was packed by whom in case anything gets damaged. If you packed what got lost or damaged, the company may try to hold you responsible to avoid liability. Usually the company will be liable for self-packed items but at a diminished rate.
Not all items are valued the same way
Moving companies also need to estimate the value of your objects, so you should review what they value your items. Weight still is key to how they measure value, so you may want to check or dispute the value of costly smaller items like jewellry. Regular items are typically valued by multiplying the number of pounds in your entire shipment by 10.
"Items of extraordinary value" are defined as anything that costs more than $100 per pound. If you're shipping those, you should try to come to an agreement with your moving company on the accepted value of these items. If they were counted as part of the $10 per pound plan, you would be getting covered at one tenth of the value for a $100 piece of jewellry. There usually is a form to fill listing all these items, but expect a fight from the moving company if they decide that your valuation of certain things is unrealistically high.
Make sure you know how to make a claim if something does go wrong
If you have to make a claim, there may be a specific time frame and process to follow according to your moving company's Replacement Value Protection plan. Before the move you should ask the company to explain that or even put it in writing if they haven't already. Canadian law requires that moving companies provide pamphlets to customers that include insurance information inside them, so hopefully you already have some documentation of these policies.
Replacement Value Protection is the default protection
When moving companies give you an initial estimate, they are supposed to assume that you want full Replacement Value Protection. That means that if you want to opt for the free Released Value protection, then you must inform them. It is in your best interest to review the company's Replacement Value Protection plan anyway since the value of certain items can be disputed.
Replacement Value protection is the safe bet for transporting your goods. When contacting your moving company, be sure to ask them about their Replacement Protections policies in order to get the specifics of the coverage and valuation processes that they offer.