What is a Certificate of Insurance for Moving, and why do you Need COI?
If you’re like most people and have moved house at least once, you probably have heard about moving insurance. What you may not be familiar with, however, is something called a certificate of insurance for moving.
Abbreviated as COI, a certificate of insurance for moving (or movers COI) is not a must-have, although anyone who has moved into or out of any newer apartment in NYC in the recent past is likely conversant with the phrase. Question is, is a moving certificate of insurance just another form of moving insurance or what does it entail exactly?
What is a COI for Moving?
In simple terms, a certificate of insurance for moving is a legal document meant to show proof of insurance coverage by the moving company you’re using.
Also known as a certificate of liability insurance or proof of insurance, the whole point of a moving COI is to legally absolve building management firms of liability in case of damage inflicted during the moving process.
Accidents do happen, and in the unfortunate event you find yourself embroiled in one, building management doesn’t want to find itself in a pickle, whether it’s an injury to the moving company’s crew or damage done on the premises.
In other words, in case a member of the moving company’s team is injured on the job, the property management company will not incur any medical fees or be liable to legal prosecution should things take that turn as a COI also includes worker’s compensation. It also means you – the person moving – won’t be caught in the cross-hairs.
As well, the moving company’s general liability and umbrella coverage protect the building management against any damages. This means in case of damage to the building’s common areas – elevator damage or pipe breakage, for example – the building will not be held liable. Neither will you.
However, it is not the moving company per se forking out the compensation or legal damages should a mishap happen: it is the insurance company the mover is working with.
A certificate of insurance for moving, therefore, is a win for everyone involved.
Why Do You Need to Get a Moving Certificate of Insurance?
While it might sound like a humdrum terms and conditions document, a moving certificate of insurance is not that complicated and is actually a great form of protection from moving scams provided you’re working with a trusted mover that offers the right level of coverage.
If the mover is taking you round in circles, there’s every reason to believe you are dealing with a dubious company. Even when you receive your COI for moving, it pays to confirm whether the name appearing on the issued moving insurance certificate matches the moving company you’ve signed up with. Some do provide fake documents just to meet requirements.
You can apply for a moving insurance certificate either through the moving company’s website or have the building management issue you with a sample COI which you then need to have the moving company you’re using sign upon.
A COI for moving is not mandatory in some buildings but the majority of the newer ones and most luxury buildings will ask for one.
Before moving out, always check on the building’s documentation to find out if the property manager of the building you’re moving into requires this form – assuming this has not been communicated. Just to be sure, you can always call the property management company if this is unclear. It’s for your own good.
That’s because without the insurance for moving certificate, some building managers will not even grant the moving company access to the building. Others require a moving COI to reserve the elevator at a given timeframe so you and the movers can go on about your business uninterrupted.
Reserving the elevator in advance is a good idea as there will be no unnecessary hold-ups on either end.
That simple move can save you huge costs that could potentially run in the hundreds of dollars. For instance, it’s worth noting that moving companies charge extra fees if they have to wait for the elevator. The same case applies when the moving crew has to take the stairs – there is usually an additional charge for stairs beyond the first flight.
What’s more, moving after hours attracts additional fees, so having the elevator reserved in advance means the movers will be able to get the job done within the agreed timeframe, saving you some avoidable extra costs.
What Information is Included in a Moving COI?
A certificate of insurance for moving is the creation of a nonprofit organization known as ACORD (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development) that deals in producing standardized documents for insurance companies, agents, and brokers to use.
A move insurance certificate usually carries the following key information:
- Insurance confirmation – shows that the moving company and its crew are insured, specifically for that building.
- Building manager details – the addressee on the moving insurance certificate is the entity that oversees the buildings you’re moving from and to. This section consists of their name, office address, and other contact information such as office telephone number and email addresses.
- Building address – a moving COI should also indicate the place or building you’re moving out of and the address of the building you’re relocating to.
- Coverage details – the COI form also shows how much the moving insurance certificate covers and how it should be used.
Other information you can expect to find in a typical certificate of insurance for moving includes:
- Date certificate was issued;
- Details of insurance agent or broker that produced or issued the form;
- Disclaimer summarizing the COI;
- Name and address of the person or business the policy covers;
- The policy number with the effective and expiration dates indicated – this section could also indicate the liability insurance coverage of the insured party (general liability, worker’s compensation, umbrella liability and commercial auto;
- Amount of coverage each policy provides;
- List of insurers;
- Operations, locations and vehicles description;
- Notice of cancellation;
- Agent, broker, or authorized representative signature.
What Happens if I Don’t Request a NYC Moving Certificate of Insurance (COI) When I Book My Move?
Well, the failure to request a certificate of insurance for moving in advance when relocating in NYC could not only leave you stranded, but it could turn out to be a bad mistake.
A moving COI is becoming a basic requirement when moving into buildings within urban areas such as the boroughs of New York City. Without it, you cannot even be granted entry permission by some building management companies.
Just because your current building didn’t ask for one does not mean the certificate will not be needed at your new place, especially if you’re moving into a newer building or an upscale establishment.
In fact, failure to inform your mover about the moving insurance certificate provision ahead of time could force you to reschedule your move. Should it get to that, it means you’ll have to pay the moving company when its crew shows up, in addition to going through the pains of planning another move date and the complications that come with that – lease expiry and all that.
There are many things that could go south when relocating you see. Your items could get damaged in the process, a part of the building might also suffer damage (even if it’s scratched walls), or a member of the moving crew could get injured on the premises while on the job.
Should something like that happen, a moving certificate of insurance ensures that neither you nor the building manager will be held accountable. Any associated costs will pass on to the moving company.
As we mentioned earlier, a movers insurance certificate can also prove a time – and by extension, moneysaver. Not forgetting, it’s always a good way to avoid moving scams as a legal valid COI can help you weed out serious moving companies from unscrupulous characters.
Even in the case of legit movers, it doesn’t hurt to check with them whether they’re able to meet the requests the building management is asking for in the COI.
How to Get a Certificate of Insurance for a Move?
The process of obtaining a certificate of insurance for moving may seem complicated from reading this, but it’s actually a pretty straightforward one. The key lies in hiring a reputable mover who’s more than happy to facilitate the document for you. A moving COI is free, so beware of anyone who charges you for the certificate.
To get a certificate of insurance for moving, you can either apply for one directly from us or simply request a sample COI from the building management and then share it with us. We recommend gathering all the information the building management representative needs first because you can’t send a COI request without these details.
Once that’s done, proceed to submit a COI request to the moving company and that’s it: task = complete. We’ll take care of the rest from this point.
We recommend requesting a certificate of insurance for moving from the moving company at least a week before Moving Day, if not a fortnight. This gives the mover ample time to process the request ahead of time.
A moving COI is an often forgotten aspect, so it would help if you could slot it in your moving checklist to eliminate the risk of undoing months of effort and leaving you frustrated at the last minute when you find that you cannot proceed with the relocation without this basic document.
The best thing about it (other than the fact that it’s free), is that you don’t need to bog yourself down with the details: simply ask for a sample document from the property manager of the place you’re relocating to, then submit the COI request to us and that’s it.
The information you probably need to be aware of is the insurance policy limit, which is the main differentiating aspect when it comes to COI’s offered by the different movers.
The coverage limit will vary amongst companies, just as different buildings will require a different coverage limit. A high-end building will, for instance, require a policy with maximum coverage of say, $10 million. You need to cross-check with your mover if this is something they can offer.
At SEKA Moving, we offer sufficient coverage to satisfy the requirements of most buildings in New York City. So, with us, you can always take comfort in the fact that no matter what happens, you won’t have to fork out a penny or have legal issues to contend with.