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What is a Certificate of Insurance (COI) for moving, and do you need it?

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Ross Sapir

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Whether you’re moving to the other side of the country or only to the other side of New York City, moving is no fun. It’s no surprise that 45% of respondents described moving as the most stressful event in their lives, even more than marriage, birth of children or divorce. It can be even more if you don’t have the right moving company by your side.

The reasons are quite obvious as moving involves a lot of things that start way before you move and don’t get over weeks after it. Most of them are first-timers who have no idea of what they’re into and keep getting shocks one after the other. If you don’t want to be one of those people, you need to learn things in advance, and a Certificate of Insurance (COI) for moving is one of them.

First, let’s get under the hood of COI for moving.

Why is moving COI important? 

The primary reason for getting a moving Certificate of Insurance is that it’s an absolute necessity. Many buildings don’t allow movers to set foot in their premises if they’ve not received a moving COI. Many aren’t aware of it until the moving day, which ruins their months of planning. Nobody wants that to happen, and that’s why getting a COI is crucial.

A COI might look like a formality, but it exists for a reason. It’s a safety net for you and the building in case any damages are caused during the moving process. Wouldn’t you be at peace knowing that you have a $10 million safety net in case any big damages are caused? 

You might also be wondering if you need a COI if you already have your apartment under insurance. Well, you need to. That’s because the apartment insurance will not cover the scope, or dollar amount, of what a COI policy would cover. It gives protection against building common area damages such as elevator damage or pipe breakage. 

Additionally, a COI protects against injury to workers. Without COI, the moving company would blame the building management and vice-versa. The battle could turn legal, and you might get stuck in between. A COI in such cases assures the moving companies and provides coverage to them as well. In short, COIs are a win-win for all.

What is a moving COI?

Whether you are a long distance NYC movers or a local NYC mover, moving from or into an apartment building or condo, it’s highly likely for the building management company to ask you for a moving Certificate of Insurance (COI) from your moving company. It is a legal document from an insurance company that protects you and the moving company in case any damage is caused. 

COIs assure building management companies that the moving company you’re hiring is insured to handle all potential damages during moving activities so that they won’t be held liable for anything inside their property. At the same time, your things are getting moved to your new unit.

Certificate of Insurance (COI) legally protects buildings in case of damages with the moving company’s general liability and umbrella coverage. If a worker gets injured during the moving process, the insurance company pays a worker’s compensation for the absent days. 

What information is inside a moving Certificate of Insurance (COI)?

COI acts as an official document consisting of important information that the building manager needs to check before granting any move. Here’s what is inside a COI:

  • Building Manager Details: The COI is addressed to the authorized person of buildings you’re moving from and to. Thus, it consists of their name, office addresses, and contact information such as email addresses, office phone numbers, and fax numbers.
  • Insurance Confirmation: The COI specifies that the movers are insured, specifically for that particular building.
  • Building Address: The COI will have the address of the building you’re moving into and the building or place you’re moving out of.
  • Coverage Details: The COI will mention how the certificate should be used and how much the certificate covers.

Apart from these, a moving COI will also consist of the following details:

  • Date when the form was issued
  • Details of insurance agent or broker that produced/issued the certification
  • Name and address of the person or business covered by the policy
  • Policy number along with their effective and expiration dates.
  • List of insurers
  • Coverage provided by each policy
  • Description of operations, locations, and vehicles.
  • Cancellation notice
  • Signature of the agent, broker, or authorized representative

What does a moving COI cover?

A Certificate of Insurance can cover various aspects of the moving process, and some buildings require this insurance to cover a specific amount. Here’s what and how COIs provide coverage:

  • Types of Coverage: COIs usually cover umbrella coverage, cargo insurance, workers compensation, automotive liability, and liability insurance.
  • Coverage Amount: Most COIs have coverage of around 1-2 Million USD per move. However, the amount can go higher depending upon the building and the stuff you are moving. 

Some buildings require much higher coverage. For instance, commercial spaces often need larger insurance coverage. That’s why we suggest checking with your building manager how much coverage they need a COI to have and verifying with your moving company to make sure that they have a COI for this specific amount.

We Roadway Moving, our COIs cover up to 10 million USD to meet moving company insurance requirements and give you peace of mind amid chaos.

When do you need a Certificate of Insurance in NYC?

Most buildings in NYC require COIs to ensure that their property is also protected during the moving process. This applies to the building you’re moving to. Thus, it’s always a good thing to have a COI from your moving company, especially if you’re planning to move into a building or a condo. 

Here are some things you might want to consider:

  • Check-in with your current and future building property management to know if they’re going to request a COI from you before you move.
  • Check your move-in paperwork to see if there’s any mention of a COI in the documents. Sometimes, these move-in papers also include a required template, so make sure to keep an eye on this.
  • Check with your moving company if they can fulfil the requests the building property management is asking about the COI.

In the unlikely scenario where either of the building management companies doesn’t require a COI, we would still suggest you get one as moving can be unpredictable at times. Accidents can occur at any time and damage your stuff or the building.

How to get a Certificate of Insurance (COI) to move in NYC?

Now that you know the nuts and bolts of a Certificate of Insurance, it’s time you take notes of steps to get one for your move. The process of getting a COI might sound like a tedious one, but it’s not. You don’t need to do almost anything except hire a good moving company. Once they’re on board, they’re the ones who will do all the heavy-weight lifting.

The process of getting a COI is straightforward and involves three simple steps. Let’s go through them one-by-one:

Step 1: Hire a Mover Offering Highest Insurance Coverage

You should prefer an NYC moving company that gives you additional insurance coverage, as we stated above. Like, we at Roadway Moving provide you protection up to $10 million that covers umbrella coverage, cargo insurance, workers compensation, automotive liability, and liability insurance.

Step 2: Ask for Sample Documents for Building management 

Building management companies that require COIs provide a sample document outlining everything they need. This includes details of the additional insured area and the name and contact details of the building management representative. This information is essential as you cannot send a COI request to your moving company with it. 

Step 3: Submit a Certificate Request to Your Mover

Once you have all relevant information, you must submit a COI request to your moving company. It would help if you did that at least a week before your move date, as it will take time for them to process your COI request. Don’t procrastinate and leave it to the last minute, as it could ruin months of effort and leave you in despair.

At Roadway Moving, we stay on top of your COI movers’ requirements. We get our COIs issued directly from our partner insurance company and provide them to you at the earliest. Plus, our teams always carry a hard copy of the COI on the day of moving, thus allowing us to cover all bases and avoid any unexpected hassles in terms of paperwork.

What happens if there’s damage on moving day?

Good moving companies have years of experience and know where things could go wrong. That’s why they take precautions to ensure the entire process is done without causing any damage to the stuff or the building. However, not everything is in their hands and accidents can happen. 

That’s where COI comes in. In case of any accident, the moving company should meet the minimum state moving company insurance requirements for liability, and they should immediately get in touch with the building manager.

Our top-quality movers at Roadway Moving have the right kind of skill set, training, and expertise to avoid any damage as much as possible. In the case of accidents, we’re always on top of the situation and immediately proceed with the proper procedures for the insurance coverage to take effect. You don’t need to pay a cent, as we submit an insurance claim on an immediate basis or even decide to pay ourselves. We don’t leave a single stone unturned to compensate for the damages and get your moving done without any delay.

What happens if I don’t get a NYC moving Certificate of Insurance (COI)? 

If you don’t get a moving COI for whatever reason, you won’t be able to move from your building to the new one. That’s because most building management companies cannot even grant permission without getting a COI. 

If you forgot to get a COI from movers, you must inform the moving company to reschedule. If not done, the crew will show up at your place but won’t be allowed to touch a single thing. This will lead to the postponement of your moving day and will cost you some money. Not to mention the disappointment of seeing your months of preparations ground into dust.

Now, let’s think about the second scenario where either of your buildings doesn’t require COI. In such a case, you won’t face the disappointment of your moving day getting postponed. However, in case of an accident, the liability of the damage will be yours. Even though chances of accidents are slim, we suggest you don’t take chances and get a COI for moving.

The worst thing that could happen is movers damaging your building and themselves during the process. In such a case, you will be held liable for all the damages and their hospital fees. Surely not something you’re looking for, isn’t it?

Additional tips before you go for a moving COI

To avoid any hassles during the move, you want to watch out for particular red flags when it comes to securing COIs. Here are some of the things you need to stay on top of:

  • Avoid moving companies that ask you for a fee to produce the COI. Remember, most NY insurance companies don’t charge moving companies for COI production, which means customers shouldn’t pay anything to get their copy.
  • Always ask for a copy of the COI to be sent to you so that you can give your building manager a copy if they don’t receive an email from the moving company.
  • Always check the COI coverage to ensure they cover the minimum amount needed by the building you’re moving from and into. Some luxury buildings and commercial spaces require coverage as high as $10 million. 

Apart from these, you should also note the restrictions coming with some buildings, especially luxurious ones. Such companies have restrictions in place, such as not allowing people to move over the weekend. 

Our two cents

If you’re in the process of moving, you will surely be under a lot of stress. We can understand this as we have helped thousands of people in the situation you’re in. In the middle of all the planning, listing, and coordinating, something like a moving COI might seem like a pesky and trivial thing that adds to your frustration. However, it’s not the case.

Although COI is a requirement, it is much more than a piece of paper. It not only gives you protection against potential damages, but it also avoids any issues arising between the building and your moving company. In case an accident takes place, it’s good to have the backing of an insurance company. 

Considering it all, a COI is an investment that you should make, even if it’s not a compulsion for you. You might have to spend a bit, but you never know when Murphy’s Law would show up. 

Roadway Moving: most trusted moving company in NYC

Moving might be the most stressful experience for most people, but our customers have a different story to tell. We are on a mission to give the best moving experience to people and make it one of the best experiences of their lives. Our people move with heart, remove the stress, toss the anxiety, and leave you with an awesome experience. 

Roadway Black, our premier white-glove moving service, provides you with a zen-like moving service as we pack, unpack, call ConEd, connect cable, hang the TV — do whatever you need. We protect your fine art and wine collection in our climate-controlled trucks. There are many reasons why people have rated us as the best NYC movers. The most important is our love to help people start their new life in the best possible way.

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