Depository & Transit Insurance
Your mover may sell you all risk insurance or he may purchase it from an insurance company on your behalf to cover your shipment against loss or damage while it is in his custody. The premium you pay will be based on the value you declare and choice of deductible. If you store your goods, a recurring premium may apply each month until your goods are finally delivered. A policy or certificate will be issued and will explain the limits of coverage and any exclusions which may apply. You may opt for depreciated value coverage (often known as actual cash value coverage) or replacement coverage. Be sure you declare a value equivalent to the real value of your goods or any claim may be subject to a co-insurance adjustment. If you insure $10,000 worth of goods for $5,000, the insurance may only cover 50% of your loss.
Almost all insurance policies have standard exclusions. ‘Political Risks’ (riot, acts of war) are not normally covered on domestic shipments. Infestation, mold, mildew and rust are excluded by most transit or storage coverage. The customer is expected to prepare his goods for transit or for storage by properly treating articles so they may be handled with normal care. Appliances should be cleaned out with a dilute solution of water and bleach if they are going to be in storage or in transit for an extended period of time. Clothing, carpets and rugs with silk or wool should be treated to kill any stray insects or their larvae. You should avoid waxing or polishing furniture surfaces, especially in hot weather. When padded with cloth pads, many furniture items with excessive wax or polish may absorb pad fibers which will become embedded in the finish. Liability for damage may be denied if items were tendered to the mover in a condition which would result in damage when handled with normal care. If an article is cracked and, when subjected to normal road vibration, breaks in transit, liability for damage may be denied on the basis of a pre-existing ‘inherent vice’ in the article itself. Most coverage excludes liability for matching sets, so if a sofa needs to be recovered, the love seat may not match. If mismatching causes loss of value to a set, you may file a claim for the loss of value.
When the driver loads your goods he will make a written inventory of the furniture and the cartons. He will put a numbered tag on each item and describe its condition or contents on the inventory list. A special declaration must be made for any items valued at over $100 per pound of weight and if you want the contents of high value packed items to be covered for ‘mysterious disappearance’, you should request an inventory of carton contents called a ‘piece count’, for which a labor charge may apply. The mover will unpack those cartons and re-count at delivery to assure all enumerated items are present.
At delivery, it is up to you to check each item off the inventory list as it is received. If anything is lost or damaged, a notation should be made on the DRIVER’S copy of the inventory before you sign it.
Movers May Sell Insurance
(a) Whenever a shipment is released for transportation at a value not exceeding 60¢ per pound per article, and the shipper does not declare a valuation of $1.25 or more per pound and pay or agree to pay the carrier for assuming liability for the shipment equal to the declared value, any common carrier of household goods as defined in Sec. 375.1(b)(1), or any employee, agent or repre-sentative thereof, may sell, or offer to sell or procure for any shipper, any kind of insurance, under any type of policy, covering loss or damage in excess of the specified carrier liability to a shipment or shipments of household goods to be transported in interstate or foreign commerce by such carrier; Provided, that the shipper is issued a policy or other appropriate evidence of the insurance purchased, and a copy thereof be furnished to the shipper at the time the insurance is sold or procured. Carrier issued policies shall be written in plain English and shall clearly specify the nature and extent of coverage. Failure to issue a policy or other appropriate evidence of insurance pur-chased shall subject the carrier to full liability for any claims to recover for loss or damage attributed to the carrier.
(b) Any carrier offering or selling or pro-curing insurance as provided in paragraph (a) of this section shall provide in its tariff for the provision of such service. The tariff shall also provide for the base transportation charge to include assumption by the carrier for full liability for the value of the shipment in the event a policy or other appropriate evidence of the insurance purchased by the shipper is not issued to the shipper at the time of purchase.
[49 FR 16218, Mar. 11, 1981. Redesignated at 61 FR 54707, Oct. 21, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 49941, Sept. 24, 1997]