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Kenneth Corbin on Linkedin
Kenneth Corbin
Kenneth Corbin
Kenneth Corbin is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He has written on politics, technology and other subjects since 2007, most recently as the Washington correspondent for InternetNews.com, covering Congress, the White House, the FCC and other regulatory affairs. He can be found on LinkedIn.

6 thoughts on “What Online Sellers Should Know about Shipping Insurance”

  1. “You pay us to deliver your package? Pay us more if you think it will help. Don’t count on it.”

  2. If I pay to insure a package, I am a small business use USPS exclusively for a couple hundred packages per year. Since 1998 I have had fewer than six packages I sent on which I had to file an insurance claim (damaged in shipping), and there was NO problem getting a refund on any of them. I HAVE had insurance claims denied for items that arrived poorly packed – I would not pay out on those, either ! IMHO most insurance claims are caused by shippers who do not pack defensively. I pack defensively and am comfortable tossing any of my packages out of a third story window. I

    As this track record started becoming clear to me, I stopped buying paid insurance and simply guaranteed my customers their money back (out of my own pocket) if something arrived damaged. Which just doesn’t seem to happen, and since 1998, nothing has been lost – delayed, yes, WAY delayed during the pandemic, but in the end always delivered. On high value shipments, though, I DO buy USPS insurance, just because it would be a big chunk of money to have to pay out.

    In the beginning I opened an account with one of the courier companies and used it until I read the terms on the back of the waybills as to what they would NOT cover (antiques, glass, etc.) I canceled the account and have used USPS almost exclusively ever since.

    I use Stamps.com but have never investigated theirs or any other third-party insurance; one big problem for me is that apparently at least some of them will NOT reimburse for postage, only for the item value. (Maybe this has changed?) USPS insurance refunds value AND postage charges (but not the insurance fee).

    Also, I can see a problem in that USPS has changed and requires that only the Shipper can file an insurance claim (same as courier companies have done all along). That means shippers must rely on customers to help out getting the claims filed and paid. It used to be that either USPS shipper or recipient could file a claim; so easy (actually seemingly more sensible) to have the customer do the filing/give the package to their post office, but not any more.

  3. If shipping a long distance via USPS I buy insurance.
    Rarely feel the need to buy insurance with UPS or FedEx.
    Payout from USPS … 4 Stars.
    Payout from UPS & FedEx … 5 Stars

  4. USPS is horrible, if they lost a package you get refunded in full, item and postage, if they break it only refund for the item. They still get paid for breaking the item. EVEN worse, they are requiring an inspection on every claim, so now I have a mad customer because their item was busted up and I mean snapped in half, but I have to ask them to take time out of their day to run to post office to get inspected. Since selling thru ebay, they don’t have to take to the PO, they just have to file for a return and I have to refund back or get a defect. Or pay for them to return but still can’t file/complete a claim because its not in the original package. I’ve filed more claims in the last year then the prior 10 years combined. OH and there is NO way to contact anyone in USPS claims.

  5. Up until this year, I rarely had to file a claim with USPS. I always ship Priority and I used their boxes to ship artwork. Not anymore. I have a 40% damage rate with using their shipping triangles. So I switched to high density tubes and very sturdy flats for smaller items. Without fail, a postal worker attempts to shove a 38 inch long tube into a standard mailbox and the tube, along with the artwork is mangled. The change over to high density tubes dropped the damage rate to 30%. Still unacceptable, so now I ship through UPS only. Since the switch, I have not had a single package containing artwork get damaged. Postal workers need better training or reading skills as all tubes were clearly marked in black sharpie “Artwork – do not bend or fold”/

  6. I’m a little late to the party here but I am a big fan of the independent insurance companies.
    They have saved me hundreds of dollars when packages have gone missing or have been pirated.
    The cost of insuring my shipments is included in the cost of shipping.
    This insurance covers and assuages my fear of shipping almost anything. The only problem I have encountered is the rare customer who refuses to sign the online affidavit. I try to make it easy for them – assure them that it actually IS easy; tell them that they have only to choose from a short drop down list; and then if English is not their first language, I let them know which options are best for the situation.
    Honestly, the most valuable part of Insurepost or Shipsurance is my own personal peace of mind.

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