Moving Company Dispute Resolution
The saying an ounce of prevention is better than 10 pounds of cure certainly applies to insurance dispute resolution with moving insurance companies. The insurance industry in necessarily a paranoid one; consider that you pay an insurance company a sum of money for protection in the form or a much larger sum of money paid to you in case the event you are protecting against actually occurs. The insurance company gambles on a customer not encountering any unfortunate happenstance. There is an undeniable conflict of interest inherent to the insurance business: it is in their best interests to not approve any claims. To get your claim approved the most important thing is to have all your bases covered before you even make it.
Insurance companies can’t simply keep taking everyone’s money. There is a balance they need to strike. There are laws that protect consumers from dishonest insurance companies, but more to the point, is that it isn’t good business to take everyone’s money. Insurance is a business based on trust; an insurance company gets more business if they gain a reputation of being fair and trustworthy. The more generous they are with their payouts, the more likely they are to attract clients. Ultimately, insurance companies must walk a very delicate tightrope: They need to keep the appearance of being fair and generous, but they also need to turn a profit and protect themselves from those who would scam them.
In dispute resolution you can rely on an insurance company to know all the rules, after all they wrote them, and you can rely on an insurance company to look out for their best interests, that’s just the way life is. So you need to know the rules too, in the case of moving insurance, you need to know the rules even before you begin planning your move, as there are many things you should do during a move to make sure that the cards are stacked in you favor in the event that you need to file a dispute.
First and foremost choose the right kind of insurance. Insurance policies are varied in scope, some cover only moving and storage, some will only cover certain named perils, if you are not getting insurance from a third party provider, then you are probably getting simple basic liability coverage which offers very little protection. It is a good idea to check your existing homeowner’s contract for moving insurance, a lot of homes come with replacement value moving insurance bundled in.
Should you choose to purchase replacement value insurance for your move make sure you have declared the value of all of your more expensive items. Generally, these would be items with a replacement value of $500 or more. Take note, replacement value is not the same as current value, as an example: You purchased a flat screen TV two years ago for $1000, today, after two years of use, you probably can’t get more than $500 for it. However, a brand new one of the same model goes for about $800. The replacement value of that TV is thus $800. Make sure that high value items and their corresponding prices are listed individually on the bill of lading.
Make sure to carefully read all documents concerning the move before signing them. If it is a big move and you are moving a lot of high value items, you may even want a lawyer to take a look at them. Watch out for any clauses which may free the movers or the insurance company from any liability. When you see such as “waive”, “release”, “free”, “responsibility”, “liability”, or the like, it is time to read more slowly and carefully.
Make sure you inspect valuables before and after the move, it is best to inspect for losses and damages while the movers are still around, that way, you can put in for a claim immediately. As a matter of law, you have nine months to file a claim, and the insurance company or the mover has 30 days to respond, and 120 days to settle your claim or to make an offer; however, the earlier you can put in a claim the better.
Finally, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork is in a safe place where you can access it readily. The process is tedious and bothersome enough without having to deal with missing paperwork. All your other measures could go to waste entirely if you misplace your papers. In the end the best way win a dispute is to avoid it, but once in it, know your rights, and know your policy.
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Moving can be a very stressful event when you don’t plan ahead, so don’t waste more time and get started planning your move