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A frequently encountered problem when planning to make a long distance move is determining the kind and amount of loss and damage protection to be placed on your possessions. With a million other concerns on your mind, the last thing you need to worry about is your coverage on moving day, reports an authority on relocations here.

There are three kinds of coverage for your household goods. The first is called Standard Protection, which is provided by the van line as a part of your moving cost.

According to John J. Palisano of Lincoln Moving Storage, Inc. of Buffalo, an agent for Atlas Van Lines, Inc., this name is a bit of a misnomer because most people opt for a more comprehensive plan.

Standard Protection provides coverage at a rate of $.60 a pound per article in your shipment, or a maximum carrier liability for the entire shipment of $.60 times the weight of the shipment. For example, a 5,000 pound shipment would have maximum coverage of $3,000.

However, the $.60 released value is on a per article basis. For example, if an 80-pound over-stuffed chair is damaged, you could collect $48.00 ($.60 X 80 lbs.). This certainly wouldn't be sufficient to re-upholster the chair, states Palisano. He points out that under this coverage the depreciated value, or $.60 per pound per article times the weight of the article, whichever is the lesser, would represent the carrier liability.

For more adequate coverage, you may choose Declared Value protection, at a value declared by you, up to the actual present-day value of your possessions or at a minimum value of $1.25 times the weight of the shipment. This option covers your possessions at their depreciated value.

For example, your three-year old $1,200 video camera may have a depreciated value of $800, which would be your compensation if it were lost or damaged beyond repair by the carrier. There is a charge for this increased coverage.

Finally, you can choose Full Value Protection, with an optional deductable, which covers the replacement cost, less the deductable amount if you choose that option, of an item that is unrepairable or lost.

In the case of the video camera, cost of a comparable replacement camera may run as high as $1,500, three hundred dollars more than the original. So, Full Value Protection is well worth the additional cost.

Full Value Protection, says Palisano, "takes into account the cost of inflation, thus, you may find this coverage the most desirable for you." Full Value Protection coverage may be purchased at reduced cost by selecting a deductable of $250 or $500.

In any event, it's a good idea to determine your protection needs prior to moving day, advises Palisano. The Atlas tariff on file with the Interstate Commerce Commission contains all the particulars of these programs and may change from time to time.

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