Case study 1 – from our own experience
A firm was re-locating its business from Wellington to Auckland and wanted transit insurance for employees. There were approximately 33 staff involved moving on a variety of dates over a 6 week period. Consequently, it was both cheaper and simpler for us at ezimove.com to insure each person/family under a separate Move NZ policy, than have a single contract covering them all. Not only that, we provided 2 months free storage insurance on all policies to cater for those who had not found a home to move into on arrival in Auckland.
However, although the removal firm contracted was very well known both in NZ and overseas, it left much to be desired in handling our customer's household goods. Around one third of those insured had to claim due to damage in transit. Our ezimove claims service guarantee was put to the test and passed with flying colours.
If you think this is exceptional, consider this - around 20% to 25% of all household transits in our experience end up making a claim on their moving insurance.
Case study 2 – from our own experience
A married couple moved to an adjoining suburb and used a professional carrier to undertake the move. They agreed to goods being “at owner’s risk”, but took out a restricted insurance which covered losses caused by;
“accidental loss, physical damage or destruction of The Property Insured as a direct result of fire, flood and/or accident to, or overturning of the conveying vehicle” You are also covered for burglary following violent and forcible means (or threat thereof) of The Property Insured from any professional storage facility or securely locked vehicle whilst in the ordinary course of transit.”
Unfortunately, on arrival at their new home a few kilometre's away, a marble table top was fractured and other furniture scratched and dented. Because the damage had not occurred from any of the perils insured against, they had no claim under their moving insurance policy. Secondly, because the couple had agreed to their goods being carried at owner’s risk, there was no cover under the Carriage of Goods Act.
Fortunately, the carrier agreed to an ex-gratia payment, which reduced the actual loss to the couple. Our advice is to fully insure when moving your possessions, even if not moving very far. That means you have primary insurance cover, and should the carrier damage your goods, your insurer can sue them up to the limits provided for under the Carriage of Goods Act.
Case study 3 - from our own experience
A customer contacted us regarding the insurance of household goods and personal effects from the UK to NZ. The caller had already arrived in NZ, but the goods had not yet been packed for shipping to NZ. The caller's problem was that the sum to be insured was well over the policy limit of $250,000. However, with agreement from Vero Insurance, we were able to issue two policies to cover the entire household move. We also insured a motor-cycle under a separate policy.
Case study 4 – From an actual decision of the Insurance Ombudsman, 2000. Unrelated to ezimove.com
C was moving his contents in a rented trailer from one location to another. During the journey, an accident occurred in which the trailer tipped and damaged C’s contents. C made a claim under his Contents policy. However, the insurer declined C’s claim, relying on an exclusion for contents, which had been permanently shifted away from the situation of risk.
The complaint was not upheld, and demonstrates the mistaken belief many people have that just because their personal possessions are insured anywhere in NZ, that when they move house permanently they are insured. However, most contents policies issued by insurance companies in NZ exclude cover for possessions being permanently moved to a new location. In a few instances, very restricted cover is provided for permanent removal, but accidental damage, scratching, chipping and denting are not insured.
Case study 5 – From an actual decision of the Insurance Ombudsman, 2002. Unrelated to ezimove.com
C was asked by friends to ship some household goods overseas (“the goods”). C requested a moving company to inspect the goods. C insured the goods with P. The goods were collected from the house and, about a month later, C asked for 2 items, including a marble-topped table (“the table”) to be held back from the shipment and delivered locally. C was asked to sign a revised proposal, which backdated cover from the date the 2 items were collected from the house. C also signed a docket for the local delivery, which did not provide any insurance for the journey.
Between the date goods were collected by the moving company and the local delivery, the marble top on the table was cracked. C made a claim to P, which declined the claim on the basis that there was no cover under the policy. P said C had the right to a settlement of $1,500 per item under the New Zealand Carriage of Goods Act 1979 from the moving company, which P would pay C. However, C refused the offer of settlement.
There was no evidence to show how or where the damage occurred. It was clear that the table was not insured for the local delivery. C signed the docket for the local delivery, knowing there was no insurance cover. It was also clear to C that the table was not listed on the second proposal.
The Case Manager found that the table was not covered under the policy and, therefore, recommended that C accept P’s settlement offer of $1,500. C accepted P’s offer of settlement.
Result Complaint settled
This decision demonstrates that when moving furniture and personal possessions within NZ, unless goods are moved “at owner’s risk” (the owner would have to sign a docket agreeing to this), terms provided for in the NZ Carriage of Goods Act 1979 will apply. Some removal companies will say that their cost for moving your possessions includes insurance, but this is really more about their limits of liability rather than providing insurance for you.
Full insurance is usually available from a moving company, but the premium quoted is generally far more expensive than that offered online through ezimove.com Limited – visit www.ezimove.com for a quote.
Case study 6 – From an actual decision of the Insurance Ombudsman, 2002. Unrelated to ezimove.com
C’s vehicle and contents were insured with P. C’s vehicle was broken into and personal effects were stolen. C made a claim for the loss under the contents policy. P declined C’s claim on the basis that her contents policy did not provide cover for contents away from her house. However, the policy did include a bonus transit cover, which provided limited insurance for contents while being permanently removed from the house to C’s next permanent residence.
C maintained that when her personal effects were stolen, she was in the process of moving permanently to a friend’s yacht moored at a local marina.
To cut a long story short, there was considerable debate about whether or not the move was permanent and insured under the bonus transit cover. However, the complaint was upheld and P agreed to pay the claim.
This decision demonstrates the fine line between being insured or uninsured when self moving permanently. Full moving insurance is generally unavailable if you move yourself. However, we still recommend that self movers insure.
The ezimove.com policy for self moving in NZ is restricted to “accidental loss, physical damage or destruction of The Property Insured as a direct result of fire, flood and/or accident to, or overturning of the conveying vehicle” You are also covered for burglary following violent and forcible means (or threat thereof) of The Property Insured from any professional storage facility or securely locked vehicle whilst in the ordinary course of transit.”
Case study 7 – From an actual decision of the Insurance Ombudsman, 2005. Unrelated to ezimove.com
C held contents insurance with P. The situation of risk was the flat she rented with her partner.
On 12 August 2004, C’s vehicle was loaded with “personal and more valuable items” belonging to her and her partner (“the contents”) in preparation for their shift from the flat.
On 13 August 2004, C’s partner discovered the vehicle had been broken into and the contents stolen. C made a claim to P for the contents. A loss adjuster interviewed C.
P declined the claim on the basis that the contents “were stolen whilst being shifted”, which was excluded under the policy.
The assessment was lengthy and revolved around which day was the actual permanent shift taking place. This was finally assumed to be 14 August, and the complaint was upheld because the goods were not deemed to have moved from their normal residence.
This decision highlights an insurer’s willingness to decline any claim for contents lost or stolen if in the course of a permanent removal, although in the above instance that finally was not the case.
Case study 8 – From an actual decision of the Insurance Ombudsman, 2001. Unrelated to ezimove.com
C and her husband B went on holiday. Before going on holiday, C placed her jewellery on the floor under her dresser. On her return, C put her engagement ring with the jewellery under the dresser. Approximately one week later, C and B shifted house. That night, C and B noticed that the jewellery was not with the rest of their possessions. After searching for the jewellery at the house and making enquiries with the removal company, C made a claim to P for the loss.
P declined the claim on the basis that the loss was excluded under the policy. On the balance of probabilities, the loss occurred while the jewellery was being permanently shifted away from the house. P also stated there was no evidence to suggest the loss occurred prior to the shift. C argued P had no basis to assert that the loss occurred during the shift.
The complaint was upheld because the loss was deemed not to have occurred during the shift. However, the important point to note is that moving insurance policies generally exclude “cash, notes, bonds, securities of any kind, documents, watches, jewellery and the like.”
Always read the policy wording before taking out a moving insurance policy to ensure you are aware of what is and what is not insured.