Most people equate insurance with declared value. They are different. When shipping the owner of the piece(s) being shipped declares the value of those piece(s) before shipment. There is a fee charged per $100 of value.
Lost items: From time to time all carriers loose packages. If a package is declared “lost” after an investigation period, a claim is filed and the customer receives a check for the full amount of the declared value along with shipping. If there is no declared value, the reimbursement defaults to the limits of the carrier. UPS for instance includes $100 of declared with each shipment. It is included for each box.
Damaged items: All carriers, no matter how well packed an item may be, experience damage. This may occur from water, falling from conveyors or crushing. If an item is damaged here are the steps that are taken:
- The receiver or owner of the goods being shipped declares the value of the item or items in the shipment before it ships.
- The receiver reports the damage to the shipper immediately after delivery. The receiver must determine whether or not the item is repairable.
- The shipper calls the carrier and starts the claim process.
- The carrier asks the receiver directly for an onsite inspection or photos of the item and packaging. If the piece is declared non repairable the carrier will pick up the package.
- The claims department of the carrier determines whether the packing was sufficient and may approve or deny the claim based on their findings.
- The claims department then sends a determination to the shipper.
- If the claim is approved, the shipper submits a credit card and shipping receipt along with a repair appraisal or declaration of “non-repairable”. The receiver is directly responsible to provide the repair estimate. This is where the declared value comes into play. When the receiver declares the value, it must be proven. Most often the value is determined by the price paid at auction. The other avenue is a private evaluation from an independent appraisal.
- Please note: A carrier will NOT PAY for repair, replacement or a non-repairable claim above the declared value. If no extra declared value is stated at shipment, $100 is the maximum payout along with the shipping reimbursement. ( in most cases ) Multiple items in a shipment is more difficult to determine and in the case of auction items the value is generally determined by what was paid for each lot. If there are three items in the same box the carrier may only reimburse the shipping cost divided by three.
- Recommendation: Given the fragile nature, age and value of most collectibles, every auction house and shipper recommends declaring the total value of the items.