When a product leaves your business and is loaded onto a mail truck, what happens next is out of your hands—but in many cases, customers still hold you liable for ensuring that their package arrives safely.
Fortunately, shipping insurance is available to fill this coverage gap and protect you when something goes wrong.
This form of insurance will reimburse you if a package is stolen, lost, or damaged on the way to its destination. For anyone looking to send a package, the two major considerations are as follows:
- Is it already protected? Many packages are already insured by shipping companies—often automatically. However, coverage is not universal and depends both on who carries the package and what type of mail it is. In particular, shippers should familiarize themselves with the regulations of the USPS, whether or not they plan to use it—both FedEx and UPS frequently utilize the Last Mile service, and knowing who is responsible for the package helps ensure that it's fully covered at all times.
- How much is it worth? Most forms of shipping insurance have a relatively low cap on what they'll pay out (typically several thousand dollars, sometimes as low as one hundred). If you're sending items worth more than the cap, you may still suffer a loss if something happens to the package, and will want to purchase additional coverage. If you do not properly declare the value of the package when it's being sent, you'll be liable for any losses beyond the standard limit.
Domestic Shipping Insurance
Domestic coverage for shipping is often available for as low as a few dollars per-parcel. If you're planning to ship anything that goes above and beyond the protection that carriers normally provide, talk to a Insurance First Inc. agents about how many packages you'll be shipping, and they'll work with you to find a rate that matches what you're doing.
International Shipping Insurance
Shipments being mailed internationally are often more expensive to insure, especially if they'll be passing through the hands of a local carrier with a poor reputation. Since fees can vary so widely, based on a combination of factors, it's usually best to get a quote well before you send the package. Tools like the USPS International Price Calculator can be used to get a quick estimate of postage and basic insurance coverage for any given package.
1. "Last Mile Service." Accessed April 14, 2016. http://www.usps.com/lastmile/.
2. "International Price Calculator." Accessed April 14, 2016. https://ircalc.usps.com/.