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Insurance

Make sure you are properly insuring your packages in case of unforeseen circumstances. We can discuss the risks and situations where insuring is a viable option.

If the contents of your package are worth $100 or less, you already may be covered.

Each domestic UPS parcel is covered automatically up to a value of $100 against loss or damage. FedEx does the same. The U.S. Postal Service, however, only provides an automatic $100 of coverage on Express Mail.

All three carriers offer declared value coverage, not insurance. A declared value on a package or good represents a carrier’s maximum liability for that package or good in the event of loss or damage.

That means you have to declare the value of your package if it is more than $100. If you do not, the carrier’s maximum liability is $100, even if the parcel is worth $1,000.

If you want extra protection for your shipment, you will have to pay for it. In other words, if you declare that your package is worth $100.01, and want that extra 1 cent of protection, you have to declare it and purchase the extra coverage.

Make sure to read all of the fine print before you ship your parcel. Consumers need to make sure they know what is not covered. For example, UPS will not cover coins, cash or precious stones — just to name a few items. Both FedEx and USPS have similar exclusions.

Carriers do not necessarily cover everywhere you want to ship, either. If you are shipping internationally, find out which of those destinations are not covered.

In addition, some items might be limited to a certain declared value. FedEx, for instance, limits the declared value of items such as artwork, plasma-screen TVs and antiques to $1,000.

Packing requirements can be another sticky area. Carriers will not cover a package that is not packed properly. Don’t stick a vase in a plastic bag and ship it. Packing requirements can be found in the fine print and at carrier locations.

Make sure you have supporting documentation for any claim you file. You’ll need to tell them what you’ve shipped, prove the value and go through their process.

Generally speaking, it’s also wise to keep diligent documentation of goods at both the origin and destination, as well as a series of photos of the item to make sure it arrives in the same condition.

For example, in order to file at USPS, you will need a completed claim form, evidence of insurance, evidence of value, and proof of damage or loss of contents.

Some instances require a repair estimate as well. If something can be repaired, the carrier won’t give you the full amount of the item. If a computer’s video card is broken during shipping, the carrier probably will give you cash for the video card but not for the entire computer.

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