(ARA) - The average American makes 11.7 moves during a lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That's about one in six people pulling up stakes each year.
With so many on the move to new homes, new cities and new opportunities, it's important to protect household items while in transit or in storage before arrival at the new location, according to Charles Valinotti, head of product and underwriting with insurer QBE.
Your homeowner's insurance policy will protect your personal possessions, whether they're located in your home or in a moving truck. However, Valinotti cautions that there may be a time limit attached to the coverage, such as a 30-day period, and your policy may only cover up to certain dollar limits on property being moved or stored.
"Ask your agent to explain the level of coverage, what exactly is covered and confirm that your items are insured if you have to store them," he says.
Other points to keep in mind as you hit the road:
* If you're using a professional moving company or shipper, verify that they're insured and bonded to cover damage they may be responsible for. Valinotti says to keep in mind most movers limit their responsibility to basic damage amounts. "You may want to check into buying additional insurance to make sure you're adequately covered during your move."
* If you're packing and moving yourself with a rented truck, take a look at your auto insurance policy. Many policies will cover rental trucks, but only up to a certain weight. "Don't assume your policy covers you when you're behind the wheel of a 26-foot, 13,000-pound moving truck," he says.
* In a self-move, careful packing is critical, as well as keeping your property locked up and secured along the way.
* Note the condition of your items being relocated. Then if you have a claim, the condition of your possessions will be documented.
* Know the value of high-dollar items that will be making the move. "Make a complete list of everything," Valinotti suggests. "Take photos and, if necessary, get appraisals of these items before the move."
Valinotti says before a move is a good time to review your overall insurance coverage to make sure you're adequately covered and whether you need to increase your limits. "A good look at insurance coverage every couple of years is something everyone should do," he says. "And you don't have to wait until you're ready to pack up and relocate."