A move from one state to another involves extensive planning because exposures are possible every step of the way. That’s why you should mitigate the risks that may lurk in an unfamiliar part of the country by being proactive in all avenues of your research.
Obtaining sufficient coverage is especially critical for accomplished individuals who own valuable possessions and who are moving to high-end homes with unique features. To help ensure a smooth transition, it’s also wise to obtain the right insurance policies and to do so ahead of time.
So, if you find yourself preparing for a move, what are the most pressing details to consider?
For starters, review how your homeowners insurance policy may change in the other state. Multiple factors can affect policies, such as neighborhood crime rates, hazardous weather patterns and the materials used in the construction of your new home. Your current carrier may not be licensed to write in this other state, so speaking with or finding a new insurance broker is a critical first step.
When choosing and comparing moving companies, consider how possessions will be insured under your homeowner’s policy and how a deductible would apply to claims made for items damaged or lost along the way. Strongly consider a Valuable Articles policy for especially precious personal property, such as fine art and antique furniture; this type of policy covers many risks and may not even have a deductible.
If you’re relocating before you sell your current home, inquire about obtaining a Vacant Dwelling policy until you’re able to sell your residence. If you don’t have proper coverage, events like fires, explosions and other injuries or fatalities occurring on your vacant property put you at tremendous risk.
And what about the weather? Moving to a state with severe weather requires significant risk preparation. Insurance carriers will review the condition of your new home and its ability to survive a storm. They’ll assess the home’s overall durability, including the materials used in its construction and any subsequent upgrades. These details will affect the degree of coverage and policy cost.
In particular, those who move to a locale where wind may cause catastrophic damage will likely see a wind/hail insurance deductible that’s separate from their All Other Perils Deductible. In hurricane-prone states, your deductible can be a whopping 2 percent to 5 percent of the home’s insured value.
And for those purchasing a home in California, or wherever wildfires are common, new transplants should understand the prevalence of wildfires for their potential insurance implications. Look for homes made of composite materials, and be sure to remove any brush within 30 feet of a structure. These key steps will have a positive impact on the policy and minimize potential damage.
Individuals relocating to Midwestern states shouldn’t rest any easier. Homes there could be situated over abandoned mines, and mine movement could cause significant damage not covered by a standard homeowner’s policy. Sinkholes, also common, are frequently excluded from homeowners policies.
Beyond the home you buy, there are auto insurance requirements to consider. Auto insurance varies from state to state, so review the laws unique to your new area. For a move to a state with a high proportion of uninsured drivers—such as Texas, which has the highest rate of uninsured drivers, at 16.6 percent, or Florida, coming in second with 12.5 percent—it’s crucial you consider how you’ll fare financially if you’re involved in a collision.
The reality of a relocation is that any U.S. location holds some sort of insurance caveat. As an accomplished individual, you must go the extra mile when insuring your new home and its unique features. The devil is in the details, so eliminate as many exposures as possible before your move in order to avoid these common pitfalls.