Freight forwarders will usually offer you insurance for whatever items you’re shipping. You may be hesitant or even inclined to turn down the coverage because you think it is just to increase the profit for the company.

This is far from the truth. Shipping companies don’t make money on offering insurance. They aren’t insurance providers. Instead, they partner with third parties that provide insurance coverage as an added part of their service. In reality, they don’t care if you buy it or not, except that it benefits you and them to have it.

Why You Need Insurance

Consider what is happening with your package. Whether it’s a small package that can literally be carried by hand or a large freight shipment in a shipping container or crate, your package will pass through many hands before it reaches the final destination. During that time, it will either cross bumpy seas, face turbulence in the sky or travel over rough roads.

Your package will travel hundreds or thousands of miles in various situations where it may be slammed, dropped, thrown or tossed around. Even the best packing method doesn’t guarantee it will arrive in one piece. If the unthinkable happens and your items are damaged in shipment, an insurance policy will cover the cost of repair or replacement.

Even if the items you’re shipping are personal and won’t matter to anyone else, they will matter to you. You will want them replaced or at least to be reimbursed if they are unreplaceable.

What to Consider with Insurance

If you decide to purchase insurance for your items, you’ll want to compare rates or at least find out the cost for the basic policy. You may have the option to purchase additional insurance for specialty items or to cover the item from the time of drop-off to delivery.

Know what is covered on the policy, including the limits of replacement value as well as any liability you may have if damage occurs to other property. You should also know the requirements to ensure you are covered. For instance, you may be required to pack the item a certain way or choose a certain shipping method. You’ll want to know what situations void the contract so you can avoid the issue.

Insurance is such a serious aspect of shipping that many carriers require you to sign a document stating you denied the coverage offered to you. This prevents the company from being held liable for damage to your shipment.  While carrying insurance coverage on your items in shipment is often a personal decision, it’s one that shouldn’t be made lightly. Talk to your freight forwarder to find out your options and make the decision based on safety and not just cost alone. Focus on the worst-case scenario and not just the added cost of carrying insurance for your package.