Insurance when moving home

It’s important to protect your belongings when you’re moving home. Find out what type of insurance you’ll need and if removals cover is included in your home contents policy.

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 30 January 2023  | 3 mins read

What insurance do I need when moving home?

It’s said that moving house is one the most stressful experiences to go through in life.

So, you can do without any extra worries, like whether you’d be left out of pocket if your possessions were damaged, lost or stolen on the way to your new home.

That’s where home removals insurance steps in. It covers your goods if they’re lost or damaged while they’re packed, loaded and transported from your old property to your new home.

Key points

  • Many contents insurance policies include cover for your possessions when you’re moving home
  • DIY moves aren’t generally covered by removals insurance though. Policies usually stipulate that you need to use the services of a professional house mover
  • Check exclusions carefully. Insurers may not cover theft of or accidental damage to valuable items like jewellery or watches during a house move

Do I need removals insurance if I already have home contents insurance?

Luckily, many home contents insurance policies include cover for loss or damage of your possessions when you’re moving home.

Out of 331 contents insurance policies on Defaqto, 76% cover possessions during removal as standard, so long as you use a professional moving company to transport them.[1] Check to see whether that’s the case for your policy.

Look for headings in your policy such as ‘contents cover when you’re moving home’, ‘goods in transit cover,’ ‘household removals cover’ or similar.

If this cover isn’t included as standard, you may be able to pay to add it as an optional extra.

Contents policies that include household removals cover will usually stipulate that possessions will only be covered if you use a professional removals contractor. DIY moves aren’t generally covered.

There’ll also usually be exclusions that you need to be wary of. For example, damage to china, glass and fragile items may not be covered unless they’re professionally packed.

And valuable items like money, important documents, coin or stamp collections, jewellery containing precious stones, watches, pedal cycles and gold may not be covered. If this is the case, you’ll need to cover them separately with a standalone policy.

Your policy may also include cover for your belongings if they’re being held in temporary storage by the removal firm. Cover will usually be restricted to a certain number of days (from three to seven days, for example). Again, if it isn’t included as standard, you could add storage cover to your policy.

What if I’m using a professional removals company - won’t their insurance cover my possessions?

If you’re using a professional home removals company, they should have liability insurance in place to cover any loss or negligence on their part. But any claim you make will likely be limited to a fixed amount, which may not be enough to adequately cover your possessions and replace them as new.

Because of this, removals companies often offer customers the chance to buy a more comprehensive standalone insurance policy through them, but it can be expensive. So, it might be cheaper for you to organise a home removals policy independently if you don’t already have cover through your home contents insurance. It’s always worth comparing prices.

What your home moving cover should include

Check that your policy covers your possessions against loss and damage during the move caused by things like:

  • Storm or flood, water damage due to bad weather
  • Fire, smoke, explosion, earthquake and lightning
  • Theft and attempted theft
  • Collision and crashes with another vehicle
  • Falling trees, branches and telegraph poles
  • Malicious damage
  • Accidental damage - This may not be offered as standard in a contents policy, but it’s worth considering it as an optional extra in case a box or two gets dropped during the move

How much cover might I need?

That’ll depend on the total value of the possessions you’re moving.

Walk around your home, making a list of what you’ll be taking with you. You’ll need to include everything from your furniture, rugs, ornaments, and clothes to your bedlinen, books, TVs, gadgets and kitchen equipment.

We've got a contents calculator that can help you tally it all up.

Don’t forget to tot up the value of things like garden furniture and items kept in your outbuildings and garage, like tools and barbecues, too.

Will my existing home insurance policy cover me for my new home?

You may be able to transfer your existing buildings and contents policy over to your new home, but there could be an admin charge and a change in price, too.

A lot of different factors can affect your policy premium, including the value of your new property, the amount of claims made in the area, the crime rate, plus things like whether or not your new home is in a flood-risk area.

In some cases, your current insurer will decline to offer you cover for your new address, so you may have to look elsewhere.

Whatever the case, you might want to compare policies for your new home anyway. It’s a chance to see if you can get a cheaper deal at your new address.

Bear in mind that if you cancel your current home insurance policy, you may have to pay a fee. You’ll need to do your sums to see if it’s still worth switching if that’s the case.

Home movers checklist

As well as arranging insurance, there’s an overwhelming list of things to do when you’re moving home. Our handy ‘moving house checklist’ can help make sure that nothing gets forgotten. It’s got a full rundown of what needs to be done, including:

  • Letting your current energy suppliers know you’re moving and taking final meter readings
  • Organising a new broadband deal
  • Notifying your car insurer (your premium may change)
  • Getting your post redirected
  • If you have a microchipped pet, updating the database with your new address

Can I cover all my contents for damage when moving house?

It depends on the total overall limit and the single item limit in your policy’s terms and conditions.

You should ensure that the sum insured is high enough to replace all your possessions as new.

And if you have valuables that exceed the single item limit set by the policy, you’ll need to specify them to the provider and insure them separately.

In some cases, removals policies won’t cover certain possessions at all, like jewellery and money. If this is the case, you’ll need to transport these items to your new home yourself, taking care to always keep them with you and not leave them unattended. You could take out separate standalone insurance to cover them if you’re particularly concerned.

Should I use a professional removals company?

Most insurance policies will stipulate that your possessions are only covered during a home move if you use a professional removals company.

Check your policy to see what they mean by a ‘professional moving company’ and whether the company needs to belong to a specialist organisation, such as the British Association of Removers (BAR) or the National Guild of Removers and Storers.

It’s also usual for insurance providers to state that breakable, fragile items will only be covered by the policy if they’re professionally packed.

Will my contents be covered if I use a ‘man with a van’ or do it myself?

If you use a so-called ‘man with a van’, check that they’re a licensed remover, otherwise your contents insurance is unlikely to cover the move. Providers will usually only insure your home contents when they’re transported by a licensed, professional company.

Similarly, if you’re moving yourself by enlisting the help of family and friends, your provider is unlikely to provide cover if any of your contents get damaged or lost. So always check the policy carefully.

In such cases, you may need to buy a specialist policy that agrees to cover DIY moves.

When do I need to get home insurance for my new home??

You’ll need to ensure that you have buildings cover for your new address that’s scheduled to start on the day you exchange contracts, as that’s when you become legally responsible for the property. So if there was any damage to your new home from that date, you’d be covered as long as you’re insured.

This might mean that you’ll need to insure both your old and new properties at the same time for a short period, so discuss this with your provider.

You should arrange to have removals insurance in place while your possessions are being moved from your home (if it’s not covered by your contents insurance) and for contents insurance to kick in at your new address on the day your items arrive in your new property.

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Page reviewed by: Jasmine Hembury

[1]Last checked 24 May 2023