How to File a Package Insurance Claim: A Step-By-Step Guide
by Olivia Qin
Shipping mishaps are the worst. After meticulously packaging your precious cargo, carefully addressing and labeling it, and navigating the crazy logistics of the shipping process, it’s beyond disheartening when it gets lost, stolen, or ruined. Luckily, if you purchased insurance, you’re already one step ahead of the game. In this article, we walk you through the process of filing insurance step-by-step and highlight some of the differences between using carrier insurance vs. EasyPost Insurance.
Step #1: Understand coverage, exclusions, and requirements.
Whether you choose a carrier's insurance or a , understanding your policy is critical. Every provider has its unique terms, conditions, and evidence requirements. For instance, some carrier insurance policies do not cover theft, while most don't cover shipments originating outside the U.S. It's crucial to read your policy thoroughly and ensure you fully understand the coverage, exclusions, and claim requirements. Here are some of the exclusions and requirements of different options to get you started.
- United States Postal Service (USPS):
- USPS insurance covers loss or damage for domestic shipments. Stolen packages are typically not covered, but USPS will occasionally conduct further investigation.
- For select service levels (USPS Priority and USPS Priority Express), $100 insurance is included.
- United Parcel Service (UPS):
- UPS offers up to $100 insurance for all its shipments. It’s declared value insurance allows customers to declare value up to ($50,000) but UPS only pays up to $100.
- However, for additional insurance, you can purchase with “UPS InsureShield”. It is owned by UPS but also covers other carriers such as USPS and FedEx.
- FedEx insurance policy is unique to have limitations on coverage for specific items like firearms. It's important to check the specific terms and conditions of the FedEx insurance policy you choose.
- It has a “High-value jewelry shipping program” that allows a declared value up to $100,000 per domestic shipment and up to $25,000 per international shipment
- FedEx offers $100 insurance for all shipments with no extra cost.
- For fragile items or items of extraordinary value, the declared value is limited to $1,000 and so is the payout. The increase of declared value will cost extra.
- DHL provides insurance options for international shipments, including those shipped from outside of US
- The coverage may vary depending on the destination country and the type of shipment.
- EasyPost Insurance:
- EasyPost's insurance typically covers additional risks and offers enhanced protection beyond what carrier insurance provides.
- EasyPost offers the same pricing across all carriers and all destinations
- The policy may have different coverage limits, and claim filing processes compared to carrier insurance.
- EasyPost can help you bulk file select carriers’ insurance to avoid paying duplicate insurance premiums
Shipment originated outside of US
up to $15,000
up to $5,000
Up to $100
Up to $1,000
Jewelry (exclusions allowed) Negotiable instrumentsSpoilageLive animals
Negotiable instrumentSpoilageLive animals
Negotiable instrumentSpoilageLive animalsFirearms
$100 for Priority and Express
$100 for all shipments
$100 for all shipments
Step #2: Be sure to document damage, loss, or theft
For loss or theft, try to gather all evidence possible to prove the absence of delivery. Here are some tips to effectively document your damage, loss, or theft in order to strengthen an insurance claim:
- Capture Multiple Angles: When taking photographs or videos of the package, make sure to capture it from various angles. This allows for a comprehensive visual record of the condition of the package before it was shipped or upon delivery.
- Focus on Specific Damage: Pay close attention to any visible damage or signs of tampering on the package. Zoom in and capture clear images of dents, scratches, tears, or other noticeable issues. Providing detailed documentation of specific damage strengthens your claim.
- Include Packaging Condition: Document the condition of the packaging itself. If there are any signs of mishandling, rough handling, or inadequate packaging, capture images of those as well. This helps establish that the damage occurred during transit and not due to improper packaging.
- Record Unboxing Process: If you discover damage upon opening the package, consider recording the unboxing process. This can serve as visual evidence of the condition in which the contents were received and further support your claim.
- Note Serial Numbers or Unique Identifiers: If the items being shipped have serial numbers or unique identifiers, take close-up photographs of those details. This documentation can be crucial in identifying specific items and proving their value in case of loss or theft.
- Retain Receipts and Documentation: Keep copies of any relevant receipts, invoices, or shipping documents. These serve as evidence of the value of the items being shipped and can help streamline the claim process.
- Include Packing Slips or Contents Inventory: If there is a packing slip or an inventory of the package contents, make sure to include it in your documentation. This provides a clear record of what was supposed to be included in the shipment and helps assess any missing or damaged items.
Remember, it's better to over-document than to under-document. The more thorough and detailed your evidence is, the stronger your insurance claim becomes.
Step #3: Start the claim process
Once you have gathered all the necessary evidence, you can initiate the claim process. While the specific form might vary (see links to USPS, UPS, and FedEx claims forms below), the essential information required is largely the same. For EasyPost customers, our simple insurance form guides you through the process, requiring just about 15 minutes of your time. As an added perk, we often help file carrier insurance claims at no extra cost, so don't hesitate to reach out to your representative for assistance.
Step #4: Keep the conversation going
Submitting an insurance claim often involves several rounds of communication, particularly if it's your first time. You’ll want to stay on top of things and make sure the process is moving along. At EasyPost, we commit to a 24-hour Service Level Agreement (SLA), during which we might reach out for supplemental information. Ensure you track these communications and promptly provide any requested information. The faster you respond, the faster you get paid!
In contrast, most carrier insurance providers typically make decisions without additional communication. If there's a need to appeal, you should reach out to a representative or present the evidence directly at their office or station.
Step #5: Receive and review your compensation.
Just because your claim got approved, doesn’t mean that the process is over! Make sure you review the payment method and amount carefully. If there are any discrepancies, it is key that you address those before a claim is closed for a timely and correct payout. Here at EasyPost, we default your payout to your EasyPost wallet (unless otherwise specified). So even if you fall off the last part of communications, we still got you/your customers covered!With most carriers, only the sender can receive payment, which could complicate matters in the case of return shipment insurance.
Navigating the insurance claim process for shipping mishaps can be a challenging task. However, armed with the right knowledge and understanding, you can effectively protect your shipments and maximize your insurance coverage. By thoroughly reviewing and understanding the coverage, exclusions, and requirements of your chosen carrier's insurance or utilizing additional options like EasyPost's insurance, you can make informed decisions and ensure proper protection.