Protecting Your Shipments: Declared Value vs. Shipping Insurance

Exploring how to protect goods during transit has become crucial due to the surge in global and e-commerce shipping activities. Let’s delve into two key methods: declared value and shipping insurance, understanding their unique features and significance in securing shipments.

Declared Value

Declared value, contrary to a widespread misconception, is not insurance. It refers to the carrier’s maximum liability in case the shipment encounters damages or loss during transit. When a shipper declares a value on a package, they are essentially notifying the carrier of the package's worth and limiting the carrier’s liability to that specified amount.

Key Characteristics of Declared Value:

  • It represents the maximum reimbursement amount a shipper can claim from the carrier in case of lost or damaged goods.
  • The shippers might be required to pay an additional fee if the declared value exceeds the carrier's standard liability.
  • It may not provide comprehensive coverage for all potential risks during shipping.
  • It is fundamentally a self-insurance by the carrier rather than a policy by an external insurance entity.

Shipping Insurance

Shipping insurance is a policy purchased by shippers to protect the value of their goods against loss, damage, or theft during transit. Unlike declared value, it’s not a liability limitation but an extensive protection mechanism provided by an external insurance company.

Key Characteristics of Shipping Insurance:

  • It typically offers broader protection, covering various incidents, such as theft, loss, or damage due to various causes (depending on the policy’s terms).
  • Claims are handled by insurance companies, providing a potentially more straightforward and objective process.
  • The premium is determined by the value and nature of the goods, as well as the shipping route and method.
  • Policies can sometimes be customized to cater to the specific needs of the shipment.

Declared Value vs. Shipping Insurance

  • Coverage Scope: Declared value offers limited coverage based only on carrier liability, whereas shipping insurance provides broader protection against various unforeseen incidents.
  • Cost Implications: The cost for declaring value is usually lower compared to purchasing a comprehensive shipping insurance policy, which provides extensive coverage.
  • Claim Process: The claim process can be more cumbersome and restrictive with declared value since the carrier sets the terms. Conversely, insurance claims, while also meticulous, tend to provide more transparent terms and conditions.
  • Risk Management: Shipping insurance is generally more effective in managing a wider array of risks due to its comprehensive nature, while declared value is suitable for shippers looking to safeguard against specific, minimal risks.

Making an Informed Decision

Choosing between declared value and shipping insurance essentially boils down to understanding the nature and risk associated with your shipment. Here are some considerations:

  • Evaluate the Risks: Understand the risks involved in the shipping route and method.
  • Assess the Value: Determine the monetary and sentimental value of the items being shipped.
  • Budget Appropriation: Consider your budget and decide whether a higher premium for comprehensive coverage is justified.
  • Claim Process: Be aware of the claim process and requirements for each option.

Final Thoughts

Shipping goods inherently involve risks, but shippers can strategically navigate through these by opting for declared value or shipping insurance, each offering its unique set of benefits and limitations. Making an informed decision involves meticulously evaluating the nature, value, and risk of your shipment and aligning it with your budget and risk tolerance. 

Whether choosing the fundamental coverage offered by declared value or opting for the extensive protection provided by shipping insurance, understanding and leveraging these concepts proficiently is pivotal in safeguarding your goods on their journey across the seas and lands.

In the dynamic realm of retail and commerce, the secure delivery of your shipments represents merely one facet of business protection. Safeguard every element of your enterprise with bespoke insurance solutions from Oyster. Engage with our specialists today to identify coverage for all your commercial pursuits.

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