Insurance Rant

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Mike Jackson
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Insurance Rant

Post by Mike Jackson » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:11 pm

Both the Post Office and UPS are charging a lot of money for insurance for shipping packages.

Something about that drives me crazy. They tell us how much they need to ship a package from point A to point B and we agree. Then they suggest we buy insurance.

Let me get this straight....you want ME to pay YOU a fee "in case" YOU drop, break, or lose my package I willingly paid YOU to ship?

Or, IF YOU ship this package properly, without dropping, crushing, breaking, or losing it, YOU get to keep all of the insurance money for doing YOUR job correctly?

And of course, if YOU ruin or lose the package, you will first off tell ME the I didn't package it properly and at least attempt to deny the claim.

I'd love to be able to sell UPS a sign and agree on a price, then suggest they buy insurance in case we lose or break the job in the process, misspell it, or get it off level. Of course they'd need to pay up front, but if they didn't pay for insurance, if anything went wrong, I couldn't be held responsible for the undelivered project.

I sometimes wonder if I am the only one seeing this issue from this angle?

Mike Jackson
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joe cieslowski
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Re: Insurance Rant

Post by joe cieslowski » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:46 pm

Nope.......i never thought of it that way.

Hmmmmmmmmm

Doesn't UPS insure your package for $100 for free?

Joe
Makin Chip$ and Havin Fun!

Mike Jackson
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Re: Insurance Rant

Post by Mike Jackson » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:41 pm

The first $100 of insurance is free at UPS. I shipped a $6000 lens back to Nikon. Shipping was around $38 which was high enough. I paid an extra $10 for shipping on the next $1000, but opted not to pay for the insurance on the remaining $4900. That would have cost me another $78 for them to do their job on the first $38.

The US Post Office doesn't cover any of the insurance. I know they are constantly bitching about losing money, but I can't even imagine all of the money they make daily for simply delivering a package undamaged. It'd be different if they refunded the money to me if they didn't damage or lose the product and only used the money if they actually broke something.

I dropped a $5000 lens just before New Years Eve. It it cost me $68 to ship it by FedEx. I didn't add a lot of insurance on the lens going out since it was already damaged. Nikon must have some special deal with UPS because they were able to ship it back to me for $12. I had a loaner sent to me from Nikon that came Fed-Ex overnight. I haven't seen the bill on that one yet. So, the shipping today was for the loaner going back to Nikon.

$38 to send the package by UPS ground was bad enough. Adding close to $100 to insure it while they were in charge of delivering it is my beef.

Mike
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Dan Seese
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Re: Insurance Rant

Post by Dan Seese » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:21 am

Mike, what you site is pretty frustrating.

A few years ago I had a "professional" packaging company pack a couple of signs I was shipping, thinking it would be best to have someone who knows what they're doing take care of it. Well, the signs were trashed in the shipping. Finding the responsible party was not a clean process. I was reimbursed and able to remake the signs & ship them but that didn't really cover the loss of confidence the client had in me or the fact that the rebuilt signs were now late as well as all the hassle.

But back to your point - Do you think one factor could be that we've become such a litigious society that insurance rates have skyrocketed in every area. I understand your beef but on the other hand the shippers needs to protect themselves from those of us who are readily inclined to blame or sue for damages - often in excess of tangible damage? And of course the costs of those human errors that are bound to occur are spread out through insurance. It would be interesting to see the actual figures on what is collected through insurance and what they pay out.
Dan
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Mike Jackson
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Re: Insurance Rant

Post by Mike Jackson » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:06 am

Dan,
I understand if I ship a $65 item that fits in the same box and weighs the same as a $6500 item, there has to be a difference in the cost of shipping it. I get dizzy thinking about how many packages are shipped daily by both the Post Office and UPS that have insurance added to the service. Really, how many do they break or loose daily? There has to be some damages daily, but how does that compare to the income they make on the ones they deliver without a claim? In the end, it seems to me we are paying up front, extra fees for their incompetence, or least their potential incompetence.

I thought of it another way. Let's say I offer to mow your yard for $100 and you say okay. Then I say I need to be paid up front, and ask if you want insurance. You ask how much the insurance will be and why you'd need to pay for it. I tell you that I need the extra $40 to cover to possibility that I might hit one of your sprinkler heads, and that if I hit one and you don't buy insurance to cover it, I won't be responsible for fixing or replacing it. In most other businesses, the contractor needs liability to cover such damages and it is figured into the original quote.

It seems to me the better alternative would be for the Post Office and UPS buy their own liability insurance. All shipping might be a litle more, but the Insurance company would be a watchdog trying to keep them shipping safer and more responsibly. Right now, if you don't buy insurance at the PO, if they screw up, all they do is say "Sorry about that, you should have bought insurance". Somehow they get away with it.

From the other standpoint, I could have paid the extra $78 and if they did break or loose the $6500 lens, my $80 insurance would feel like nothing.

I have all of my camera equipment insured. The question for my agent is whether I needed to insure the package at all. In many cases, when we rent a car at the airport, our regular vehicle insurance covers rental cars while we are responsible for them. In my case, I would be responsible up until the time the lens is delivered back to Nikon.

I can always complain at the PO or UPS store, but none of that would ever get to a responsible party. No need to kill the messenger, I guess.

Mike Jackson
Mike Jackson / co-administrator
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Vintage Ornamental Clip art
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Mike Jackson
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Re: Insurance Rant

Post by Mike Jackson » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:40 pm

Follow Up:
I called my claims agent about insurance on the lens when I shipped it back.

With the equipment policy I have, loaner and rental equipment is covered while I am the responsible party. In this case, When Nikon receives the lens, my connection with the lens ends, but if UPS were to lose it or drop it, State Farm and possibly Nikon's insurance would cover it.

Good info!

Mike Jackson
Mike Jackson / co-administrator
Golden Era Studios
Vintage Ornamental Clip art
Jackson Hole, WY

Photography site:
Teton Images
Jackson Hole photography blog:
Best of the Tetons

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