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Thread: shipping insurance Q

  1. #1
    persikoff
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    Question shipping insurance Q

    Hi everybody,
    I'm new to this forum. The question I have is: How do you send camera for service or repair? UPS? The main question is do you buy any special insurance? I've called UPS and they charge $2 per $100 value. So it seems very expensive option. Why one should pay $400 shipping insurance particularly if your camera still under warranty. How do you go about it? Any advice would be appreciated.
    Many thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: shipping insurance Q

    Yeah, in almost all other cases, insurance is underwritten by a company to cover you from loss from yourself or a third party, due to uncertainty. Paying a company "insurance money" to do their JOB (aka not lose your package) seems fraudulent to me.

    "Um, it's $5 to ship it, but if we break or lose it, it's not our fault. If you want us to be careful not to drop or riffle it, you can give us a bounty of 200-1000%. We appreciate your business".

    Wish I could get that gig.

    In any case, they still stay don't insure what you can afford to lose. I only ensure things over $500.

    For small packages, USPS Priority Mail is cheapest and gets the best handling. The only things I have had broken in shipping were either shipped Parcel Post (and ironically marked "Fragile) or one of the other ground companies. As the weight goes up, they get cheaper, but the insurance seems almost as pricey.

    Greg

  3. #3
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: shipping insurance Q

    Although I have twice shipped very valuable things (an ALPA camera with lens, a Phase One back) without insurance, I'd never recommend it to someone else.

    But if you consider the chances of something happening to a properly packaged item, you can see how expensive shipping insurance is. At a dollar a hundred, UPS makes a profit on the insurance if they can deliver more than 99 percent of their packages undamaged. I'd guess they successfully deliver more than 99.9 percent.

    Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, was once asked about whether his company insured his life. He answered, "We sell insurance, we don't buy insurance."

    As to the UPS vs. USPS question, I usually use UPS because they have reliable package tracking. USPS packages sometimes don't get scanned, and their tracking webiste then shows nothing.

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    Re: shipping insurance Q

    As mentioned, the problem with shipments is not always about the damage, but the theft of the package. Theft occurs by vehicles being robbed while a driver is delivering other packages; by relabeling packages to misdirect them; and unscrupulous drivers, especially during seasons when temporary drivers or warehouse workers are employed. This makes it tough to ship a digital back comfortably with no additional coverage.

    I have an advantage in that I use a third party to ensure U.P.S. packages of high value (or FedEx, or U.S.P.S. in some cases), but otherwise would include full insurance coverage for most shipments if I cared about the chance of loss. Now, I am one who tends to run away from insurance coverage where possible, and I don't choose to insure luxury items at all, but because of my primary business I ensure shipments.

    I just ran a quick check of U.P.S. regular rates via their website on a fictitious package weighing 8lbs, 14" on all sides, and valued at $12,000. The cost for California to New York (just using MAC Group address) was $121.31, of which $108 was the insurance charge. This includes a small surcharge for dimensions of the package (they use a higher weight for pricing because of size).

    The same package using my third-party coverage cost $66 to ship. Once again, insured for $12K. However this method also includes Next Day service, while the former was only UPS ground. To clarify, the $66 fully-insured package is a Next Day air package, while the $121 package takes a week to go ground. This method is not likely available to everyone, but it illustrates that options are out there. And frankly, I'd pay the $121 as well, to insure against theft and damage, though damage is less of a concern if I'm the one packing it.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 13th May 2009 at 14:01.

  5. #5
    Super Duper
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    Re: shipping insurance Q

    Shipping something that expensive, it may be worth looking into registered mail. Basically, registered mail means each USPS employee that handles the package signs for it during the entire trip (a chain of custody.) The cost is for the registration as well as the insurance for loss or damage. For a $12K package the registered mail charge is $29.30.

    More info here:

    http://www.usps.com/prices/registered-mail-prices.htm

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    Re: shipping insurance Q

    Monza, we use registered mail a lot too, up to $25K, but there will a bit more expense involved with the first class postage rate addition. Still, not as much as U.P.S., but the tracking is miserable and the service is often slow coast-to-coast. It used to be half the time that it is now for the coast-to-coast shipments.

    It's a good point to bring up, that I should have mentioned as well. It's just that we've stopped using registered mail for anything more than two states away because it's too slow for our business. This may not matter for a repair, etc.

  7. #7
    Super Duper
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    Re: shipping insurance Q

    That's interesting to hear. I ship nearly every day with USPS and even first class (with delivery confirmation) rarely takes more than a couple of days, even to Hawaii...maybe the registration process slows things down somewhat?

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    Re: shipping insurance Q

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    That's interesting to hear. I ship nearly every day with USPS and even first class (with delivery confirmation) rarely takes more than a couple of days, even to Hawaii...maybe the registration process slows things down somewhat?
    Yes, the registered service really slows it down. It has to be signed for at each "handoff". We get lucky sometimes and a package will make it from California to Philadelphia in about six days. It used to be 3 to Minneapolis and 4 or 5 to NYC. During busy times it take up to 14 days to NYC, but more commonly 8 or 9 business days. Now we just skip registered for the long distance stuff because it's gotten so slow. Paying the extra fee for Priority on registered mail does not affect speed, only cost. The counter salesman may argue this, but we have tested it extensively.

    Still, it's an option for insuring higher values.

  9. #9
    persikoff
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    Re: shipping insurance Q

    Thanks a lot for the info, I will look into USPS registered option.
    UPS appears helpless here, although central UPS office gives me the quote as $182 for 20K value, all local stores ask $2 for each $100 value (franchise surcharge) which jumps the cost to 400$.
    Third party looks great too, but how to find one?
    I'm wondering if home insurance can be used for that matter.

    Many thanks again

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