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Why do I need insurance when moving home with a professional removals company?

30 Mar 2023

Why do I need insurance when moving home with a professional removals company?
Why do I need insurance when moving home with a professional removals company?

Insurance can be an awkward subject to raise in the home.

You can almost sympathise with a removal company’s surveyor, who after spending an age extolling the virtues of their removal company, to have a slight reluctance to then move onto the question of “What if…”, or give any impression that their crews in any way, lack the necessary skills to move a whole house load without breaking at least something.

The truth is that the offering to arrange Insurance cover, is no reflection on the skillset of an crew that turn up on the day. The truth is that anything can happen. - A perfectly packed, wrapped and loaded consignment may be damaged in an accident on the way to the delivery address. A crew member could sneeze at an inopportune moment and bash a wall, or trip over an uncontrolled dog, slip on a patch of ice / comedy banana skin, who knows? Murphy’s law decrees that if something can happen, it will, and chances are it may have nothing to do with how experienced the crew, or how carefully a move has been planned.

In fact, if your salesperson does talk about Insurance and can give you a few easy to digest bullet points about a policy that they can arrange, you should be assured that at the very least, that their company has processes in place and your best interests at heart.

Surely insurance is something that I don’t even need to be think about?

The fact is, without Insurance cover, a removal company (or any “budding entrepreneur” with a van calling themselves a removal company) will have a limit of liability for damage or loss for items handled or transported by them. Even for most British Association of Removers (BAR) registered companies, unless a value has been given, may be limited to around £40 or £50 per item or box.

A professional removal company should offer to arrange Insurance cover, to cover financial recompense above that limited figure and when you know why, you’ll probably be pleased to see that they do.

A limit of liability is not a company saying that it takes no responsibility for handling your goods, but is in essence it’s limiting its own liability against accidental damage or loss to a figure that won’t bankrupt them in the unfortunate event of a claim.

Some firms will offer a contractual liability up to a certain stated value, but you (the client) may have to prove and the company accept, negligence.
On the over hand, if an Insurance cover is taken and paid for in advance of the move, there is no reason for a removal company to stand in the way of a claim being settled according to its terms & conditions, and have every reason (to have the least painful outcome) of having the matter settled as quickly as possible.

If you’re a professional company you should have this as standard. Why should I have to pay extra for it?

Is a variation of a question that gets asked over and again, and the simple answer is that most companies would like to be able to build this into the cost of the removal and simplify a quotation. However, every move has a different replacement value, with different levels of risk, so there could never be a single “fix all” cover, meaning that every move has to have a cover that reflects its own replacement value.

Furthermore, the Insurance Ombudsmen disagrees with companies including Insurance within their price, and in previous mediation has decreed, that a client should have the right to shop around for Insurance elsewhere, and choose accordingly.

If my Home Contents Insurance policy already covers my goods for a removal, can’t I just use that?

Not all home contents policies will cover goods whilst in transit, but if so, the simple answer is yes. But the devil is in the detail and whether you should is subjective and only found in the T&Cs of your policy. Items to consider would be: Will there be repercussions on your next years policy cost (will they raise the cost next year, following a claim) and is there an excess to pay towards making a claim? – Using a specific transit insurance policy means that you can keep your home contents policy sperate and not have to worry about next years bills, or have to front money themselves towards a claim.

Will insurance replace an item like for like?

Some Insurance covers will take into account wear & tear and age when settling a claim. This is known as a “Indemnity Insurance”. Other covers, known as “Replacement Insurance” will replace as new if the items can’t be repaired to as good a standard as it was pre-move, or a like for like replacement can’t be sourced.

The phrase “Repair, or replace or compensate” is often used for this (replacement) type Insurance.

Anything else?

Yes, if a client decides to pack their own boxes, even with Insurance cover in place, the contents of the “Owner packed box” shouldn’t be assumed fully insured as standard, and will usually have a limit of cover per box. – This is because the issue of ‘owner packed boxes’ is a bit of a grey area, in that it is difficult for an insurance company to identify if a damaged item was: Packed in a damage condition, damaged due to the way it was packed, or by the way it was handled.

The solution?

Please ask your move manager during your free home survey to supply a quote for Bishop’s Move to pack at least your fragile & breakable effects, or even for a Full Packing service, where they pack all of your effects on your behalf.

However you include it in your plans, Bishop’s Move recommend that you have an Insurance policy in place before the move begins.



For clarity: AGM Bishop’s Move group can arrange Insurance cover for your move* through their own Master policy. This is replacement type, and as standard, offers Insurance cover up to £50,000. (Although additional cover can easily be arranged on request) There is no excess to pay towards making a claim and you have up to 7 days after the move has been completed. Please ask us for more details.