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Household Removals Insurance for International Shipments

07 Apr 2016

When comparing our terms with those of the remover check out if the rates are inclusive of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) or whether this is another 'add on'. With IPT at 9.50% and, being increased to 10% in the Autumn,it is considerable additional charge.

At Insure Your Move Ltd, all our rates quoted are INCLUSIVE of Insurance Premium Tax. 

However carefully your chosen removal company takes in packing your household goods and personal effects, there is always the inherent danger of loss or damage occurring during the course of a long voyage to Australia or New Zealand.

However carefully your chosen removal company takes in packing your household goods and personal effects, there is always the inherent danger of loss or damage occurring during the course of a long voyage to Australia or New Zealand.  This is particularly so, if your consignment is a groupage shipment - this is where you share a container - where the risk of loss or damage is increased.

Quite obviously, it is important you choose a removal company who has the ability to undertake international moves.  However, many removal companies purport to be able to carry out international moves but, in essence, many of these will sub-contract the move to an international carrier. Check out if they belong to an international association such as FIDI or Omni - where membership criteria dictate they have to operate to certain standards and service levels which are regularly audited by the relevant association.  Also enquire as to the moving agent who will be appointed at destination, as they will be responsible for hauling your container from the port of entry to your new residence, as well as the unpacking of your household goods and personal effects.

Unfortunately the rigours of an international move are such that losses and damage can occur and it is important you purchase All Risks insurance on a ‘door to door' basis. Most removals companies can provide such cover as part of the overall move package but it is expensive and it is certainly worth seeking alternative quotes from a number of independent insurance providers which can be found on the Web. Many removers use the insurance as a means of uplifting their profit margins and the cost can be quite significant.

Recent statistics indicated approximately 1 in 6 international moves resulted in a claim being lodged with Insurers.  This could be just for some minor breakages to the entire shipping container being washed overboard. Equally, most consignments entering Australia and New Zealand are inspected by Customs and, unfortunately, their consideration to your household goods leaves much to be desired.

You may remember the grounding of M/V Napoli on Branscombe Beach (Lyme Bay) in February 2007 when 110 containers were washed overboard. Fortunately, the vessel's cargo was only electrical appliances, engine parts and the like.

However in November 2002, the M/V Hanjiin Pennsylvania, sailing from Hong Kong to the UK, caught fire and several hundred containers were totally destroyed.  Not only was the ship carrying a number of containers with individual's household goods and personal effects which were totally destroyed but there were two 40ft containers full of fireworks.  The resulting firework display was spectacular to say the least. 

These two examples demonstrate what can happen at one end of the claims spectrum whereas the majority of claims are generally for breakage where the household goods  have moved around within the container or where they been badly handled either at the packing stage or at destination during the unpacking process. All this clearly demonstrates is the need for your household goods and personal effects to be nothing less than fully insured.

It is also important to insure your shipping and packing charges. These are the costs you pay out to the removal company to pack and ship your consignment and the charges incurred at destination to haul your goods from the port to your new residence. If your goods are lost at sea or are destroyed in a fire prior to reaching your final destination then, unless you have insured these charges, they are not recoverable under your insurance claim.

Unfortunately loss and damage does occur all too frequently and the consignee will want reassurance their claim will be dealt with expediently.  If you do buy insurance through the removal company check with them how your claim will be managed. Quite often they will act as the conduit between yourself and the Insurer but this can cause delay and frustration.  If you are buying insurance independently then, apart from the significant premium saving, you will have also have direct access to the insurance company or their intermediary. If the claim is of a great severity the Insurance Company will immediately appoint a local Loss Adjustor who will assist you with the entire claims process.

There are a number of other moving tips which need to be considered. Ensure your consignment is insured for the full replacement value at destination. Some Policies allow you to simply state a lump sum replacement value rather than complete a time consuming detailed valued inventory.  If you are asked to complete a detailed lengthy application form (valued inventory) then if you do omit any item from the Form, then it is deemed not to be insured. Whereas if you are permitted just to state an overall lump sum value - very much like your home buildings and contents insurance policy - then the entire consignment is deemed to be insured, rather than what is simply listed on the  valued inventory.

Also check for additional cover such as Pairs and Sets, Mould and Mildew protection are included automatically within the Policy as some insurance schemes still surcharge for these extensions.

Clearly it is important to insure your goods at all times and to obtain the best cover and premium it is strongly recommended you seek terms not only from the removal company but also from the number of web sites now offering bespoke removals insuranceprogrammes where the extent of cover and the premiums tend to be significantly more competitive.