May
22
2009

Can I Insure This ‘Safe’ for Its Unknown Contents? TLF #1

Our first article in the TLF series, we want to discuss a question that was recently asked by one of our mail & parcel center customers. The question will be paraphrased as it came in via telephone.

Question:

I have a customer that wants to ship a safe. We cannot open it, and they are not sure what is in it, but they want to insure it for $75,000.00 because there might be jewelry in it. Can I insure it with you for $75,000.00?

Answer:

In short; No.

Without writing for hours on this subject, we will try to point out the problems with this. Some answers will actually be rhetorical questions. Some of the questions were actually asked by Shipsurance to the caller and their corresponding answers will be included.

  1. If you do not know what is in the package (in this case, the safe) how  do you intend to insure the contents?
  2. What happens if the package is lost in transit? How will you determine the value of the contents is you don’t know what it is? – Answer from caller – I will file a claim.
  3. Did the customer have any proof of value for the contents of the safe? – Answer from caller – No. They are not sure what is in it. They believe it might contain jewelry.
  4. If the package have never been opened, it is impossible to be sure the contents (if there was any in the first place) are packed sufficiently to survive the rigors of transit. E.G. If the safe contained a glass vase that was unprotected, it should not be shipped in the first place.
  5. If the customer wanted to insure the safe for the actual cash value of the safe, that is a different story. As long as the safe was sufficiently packed, it can be insured.

This question is an outlier and in no way a representative question of the questions we receive on a daily basis. Perhaps the caller was having “one of those days” and wanted to bounce the question off of someone.

Maybe this is a question to learn from…

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