Does my contents insurance cover me while I’m moving house?

For many Australians, the thought of moving places is likely to elicit a collective groan. Between rounding up all your belongings, packing them in boxes, and lugging them from your old place to your new one, there’s plenty that could go wrong.

But at least if someone drops your TV as it’s making its way to you new abode, you can count on it to be covered by your home and contents insurance, right? Well, you’d be surprised. Policies differ across the board, and it’s not always the case that cover extends to damages that occur in transit.

That's why it pays to take a close look at your policy. Sometimes contents are covered but only in specific circumstances, such as if they’re damaged in a motor accident (and not if they’re simply dropped as they’re being loading into the van). And in most cases the job needs to have been handled by professionals for insurance to kick in.

RELATED: Home and contents insurance tips and traps

This is something all Australians - and millennials in particular - should be aware of. The younger generation makes up up the biggest group of movers in the country, but few are thinking about insurance as they’re hopping between dwellings.

Peter Borain, founder and MD of MovePal, an app for hiring movers, urged Australians to consider transit insurance.

"Don't move without transit insurance,” he said. “Each move may require a tailored approach to transit insurance depending on the nature of the precious cargo, but it is well worth it."

So what steps should you take when moving to ensure you have peace of mind? Borain offered a few handy tips.

For one thing, if you hire a removalist, don’t assume they automatically offer transit insurance as part of the move. Even if they mention some form of it upfront, you’ll want to ask for policy documents or check the terms and conditions page of the company’s website. It might be available as an optional extra, in which case there will be an additional layer of forms and payments.

Sometimes, however, these policies can be limited, so you’ll really need to pore over the forms to get a clear idea of what exactly the insurance covers. If the policy on offer doesn’t leave you feeling particularly confident, you can always source your own transit insurance. Just make sure you pick a policy that provides replacement cost for damaged or lost items.

You’ll also want to make sure your policy handles claims or settlements fairly quickly. There are household items you don’t want to be without for prolonged periods of time, like, say, your fridge.

RELATED: Home and contents insurance guide

And once you’ve moved into your new place with all your belongings intact, you can start looking for a new home and contents insurance policy. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Make sure you get quotes from multiple providers, including your current one, so you’re not stuck paying more than you need to be.
  • Don’t neglect online providers, as they tend to offer cheaper rates.
  • And if you’re renting, bear in mind you’ll only need contents insurance, not full home and contents insurance.

Check out our home insurance comparison page to see what’s on offer.

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