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Courier Insurance Hack


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There's been quite a lot of chat recently about Courier prices and particularly insurance costs.

I recently sent a couple of packages that I wanted insuring and baulked at the couriers prices.

Had a hunt around and came up with a dedicated courier insurer, Secursus. The cost for £250 insurance was only £4ish. 

If there is a problem with items going missing, not that I have had one, they take over and sort it out with the courier.

You book the courier first and enter the reference when sorting the insurance.

https://www.secursus.com/en-gb/?gclid=CjwKCAjwn6GGBhADEiwAruUcKiUhTq2SehKWvrQQnTvIS2tWn0C7JsuuQxGBayo0YL7mjAoq5JFyyhoCTNMQAvD_BwE

Edited by BassBunny
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31 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

What a world we live in, still insuring against a courier... when the liability should really rely with the courier and their own insurance.

Indeed! It seems such a shady deal. While the package is in their care, it is their responsibility. I'm surprised they've been allowed to continue down this route for so long, to be honest.

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If a courier carries a box with contents that weigh 5Kg, and are worth £10, should it cost the same as another box of the same size, weighting the same, that is valued at £10,000? It’s the same volumetric weight from the courier, but the payout in case of damage or loss is 100 times more. This is why couriers add enhanced cover. If they didn’t then they’d just charge based on declared value anyway as the risk to them is still 100 times higher. 
This is how risk and the entire insurance industry works. Couriers to not take parcels into their “care”, they move it from one place to another at the lowest possible cost. I recently paid UPS £34 to move a £1200 bass for me - and that’s including full insurance cover at a £5 premium. Hardly a shady deal, is it?

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2 hours ago, FDC484950 said:

... I recently paid UPS £34 to move a £1200 bass for me - and that’s including full insurance cover at a £5 premium. Hardly a shady deal, is it?

Perhaps not, if they pay out £1200 if it gets busted or 'lost'. How would one know..? That's the problem, really; many shippers apparently don't pay up. :/

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I had a hell of a game on a £1100 claim. Put it like this, absolutely everything is stacked against you. Bouncing emails, out of office messages with no forwarding addresses, their own valuation figures based on items that have no resemblance to those lost etc etc...

Absolute hell.

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Agreed, trying to get a courier to pay is a nightmare, they ask for unreasonable information and evidence that you'd have needed to obtain before sending the item such as photos of the packing process, what tape you used, etc. all in an attempt to weasel out of paying. It's my experience that the first answer they give is always "No, sorry this isn't eligible to pay out" in the hope you won't argue it, if you do argue it and if they think they have no choice but to pay, they attempt to low ball you, only if you reject the low ball, and keep pushing will you maybe get something close to the right value of compensation, to be raised via a cheque that takes 6-8 weeks to arrive... They have this process in place because out of 100 claims, 10 to 15 people will give up during the process and they've saved themselves the money of having to pay out these claims. 

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Hmm, looks like a good idea but I would be wary. 

Firstly, the company is based in France, so if they don’t pay out, you could end up in a real fight. The contract is governed by French law, and any disputes must be dealt with in France. This will now be more difficult as a result of the B-word 👀

Secondly, they have pretty prescriptive rules about packaging.

Thirdly, you have to ensure you note any damage with the courier on delivery I order to make a claim - not always possible.

I suppose the proof of the pudding is in the eating - you will only know whether they’re any good when something goes wrong,  but I wouldn’t rely solely on them paying out. 

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8 hours ago, Dad3353 said:

Perhaps not, if they pay out £1200 if it gets busted or 'lost'. How would one know..? That's the problem, really; many shippers apparently don't pay up. :/

The point was it’s apparently a scam for insurers to charge extra if the goods are worth more. It’s not. Now, whether they actually pay out or not… that’s an entirely different ball game, but couriers are not alone in trying to wriggle out of a claim; most types of insurance are exactly the same because the entire business model is founded on not paying out - any business insuring something worth £1200 for effectively £5 wouldn’t last long if they had to pay out on even a tiny percentage of shipments. 

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12 hours ago, FDC484950 said:

If a courier carries a box with contents that weigh 5Kg, and are worth £10, should it cost the same as another box of the same size, weighting the same, that is valued at £10,000? It’s the same volumetric weight from the courier, but the payout in case of damage or loss is 100 times more. This is why couriers add enhanced cover. If they didn’t then they’d just charge based on declared value anyway as the risk to them is still 100 times higher. 
This is how risk and the entire insurance industry works. Couriers to not take parcels into their “care”, they move it from one place to another at the lowest possible cost. I recently paid UPS £34 to move a £1200 bass for me - and that’s including full insurance cover at a £5 premium. Hardly a shady deal, is it?

Fair points, and I think that 'care' and 'shady' may have been overly subjective word choices.

The real issue for me though is that of responsibility- the idea of risk with a courier is key, as the risk lies entirely in the hands of the company's process and employees. These aren't acts of god, or similar to playing stocks or betting on the horses. At no point does the item become the property of the courier, and if a properly packed and labelled parcel is lost or destroyed that is completely the fault of the company or it's employees.

To suggest that couriers are too cheap or should take value into account in pricing might very well be valid, but offering their own insurance policy against their own failure to provide the service they offer seems a little off. The last plumber I hired moved an immersion into a loft, and damaged the hatch in the process. As a tradesman he was insured for his own actions and rightly considered it part of his job to make good any damage he caused in the process. I can't see how couriers are in a different position.

"You paid up knowing I might screw up" isn't a satifactory defense for a poor outcome.

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This thread pretty much sums up why I lost out on a sale this week. The buyer wanted the bass, but was too far away to collect. I wasn’t willing to ship, so it fell through. On one hand, you would think if the bass made it from the USA to the UK without issue that the extra 350 miles in this country wouldn’t make any difference. I wish that were the case.

I often think about how many instruments Bass Direct much ship in a year and what percentage they have go missing.

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2 hours ago, binky_bass said:

Agreed, trying to get a courier to pay is a nightmare, they ask for unreasonable information and evidence that you'd have needed to obtain before sending the item such as photos of the packing process, what tape you used, etc. all in an attempt to weasel out of paying. It's my experience that the first answer they give is always "No, sorry this isn't eligible to pay out" in the hope you won't argue it, if you do argue it and if they think they have no choice but to pay, they attempt to low ball you, only if you reject the low ball, and keep pushing will you maybe get something close to the right value of compensation, to be raised via a cheque that takes 6-8 weeks to arrive... They have this process in place because out of 100 claims, 10 to 15 people will give up during the process and they've saved themselves the money of having to pay out these claims. 

In my case, the goods were lost at the airport. The claim was with Parcel Force. They tried to weasel out of it saying that it was FedEx and I should take it up with them. I simply said, I don't have a contract with FedEx, no tracking details or anything for them... no contact details or anything. They even said that it was probable that one of their staff walked out of the airport with it - and they don't cover that. Some of the things that they were saying to me was just plain ridiculous.

Fortunately for me, I had a bad feeling about it all from the start, so documented the whole wrapping process. In the end of it all, I was out of pocket to the tune of an excess and Peli case. Just took me 5 months to see it through to resolution. God only knows how many days (yes days worth of hours) it took me going backwards and forwards.

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13 minutes ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

I often think about how many instruments Bass Direct much ship in a year and what percentage they have go missing.

I would wager it's very low.

Most people do one off shipments of items of great value. Bass Direct will have a corporate account - that probably allows for a greater level of care.

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4 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

I would wager it's very low.

Most people do one off shipments of items of great value. Bass Direct will have a corporate account - that probably allows for a greater level of care.

Businesses do lose a lot, they just send in such high numbers that it represents a small loss and in many/most it's probably covered by wider business insurance anyway. 

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And that’s the basic lack of parity with business vs private seller. BD can send a £2K+ bass out via DX Direct for £10, whereas as a private individual using a decent known courier it’s more like £40. But then it’s a volume business and a volume contract. 
 

The problem with the courier industry is that it’s long been a race to the bottom - there are many competing businesses and margins are tight  I’ve had chats with our local UPS delivery drivers and their job conditions and pressure to complete a route on time are ridiculous. Added to the crap salary it’s no surprise if it attracts the kind of people who may “walk off” with valuable goods. No wonder Amazon ended up creating their own shipping dept and warehouses…


The tradesman point is well made, however personally I’ve had no end of grief with builders etc. coming to do work, not showing up, then turning up unannounced, doing a poor job and vanishing without accepting responsibility. As many are sole traders or small businesses and very busy with lots of paid work they never answer the phone or reply to voicemails or emails. So not so dissimilar to couriers trying to wriggle out of a payout! :)

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5 minutes ago, FDC484950 said:

As many are sole traders or small businesses and very busy with lots of paid work they never answer the phone or reply to voicemails or emails. So not so dissimilar to couriers trying to wriggle out of a payout! :)

If you've got a problem, and if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... the Outlaws MC.

I hear a kneecapping can be had for a very reasonable price. 

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46 minutes ago, Jus Lukin said:

he last plumber I hired moved an immersion into a loft, and damaged the hatch in the process. As a tradesman he was insured for his own actions and rightly considered it part of his job to make good any damage he caused in the process. I can't see how couriers are in a different position.

But you (the customer) do pay for that insurance - that's one reason that plumbers are expensive.  If a courier had comparable insurance i.e. which covered even the most expensive items by default, the cost of sending a package would go up for all customers, the majority of whom are just after the cheapest option and so would go with a competitor.

There does exist a completely different tier of couriers: same-day couriers, who take your item directly from A to B; but as they generally only take one item at a time, so this cost works out at more like a couple of quid per mile, which only makes sense if your item is worth many £1000s+.

Unfortunately there is no in-between model, so I think people who send £500-£1500 items (e.g. bassists) are stuck somewhere in the middle.

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1 minute ago, jrixn1 said:

But you (the customer) do pay for that insurance - that's one reason that plumbers are expensive.  If a courier had comparable insurance i.e. which covered even the most expensive items by default, the cost of sending a package would go up for all customers, the majority of whom are just after the cheapest option and so would go with a competitor.

There does exist a completely different tier of couriers: same-day couriers, who take your item directly from A to B; but as they generally only take one item at a time, so this cost works out at more like a couple of quid per mile, which only makes sense if your item is worth many £1000s+.

Unfortunately there is no in-between model, so I think people who send £500-£1500 items (e.g. bassists) are stuck somewhere in the middle.

And then there's Amazon Prime. (granted it's one way... but it's only a matter of time)

Edited by EBS_freak
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EBay initiated their global post service a few years ago, fairly unannounced which at the time had me and my buyer caught off guard as they lost the parcel somewhere in their new midlands warehouse but..... I got to keep my money and the seller was reimbursed and someone got a free MarkBass LMK! The whole courier business has altered it seems in recent times and I’ve had a 50% success rate of my full wine and beer deliveries coming through in one delivery, not over a few days after I’ve contacted the supplier who have twice said ‘courier problems’.

Edited by mybass
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41 minutes ago, jrixn1 said:

Unfortunately there is no in-between model, so I think people who send £500-£1500 items (e.g. bassists) are stuck somewhere in the middle.

There is, Shipley https://www.shiply.com/  who I have used a lot and with whom I've never had a problem. You have to be on your toes to get the best deal as drivers will bid en-masse, but I've found it a great way of moving things that I either wouldn't trust to Parcelforce, or Parcelforce wouldn't take anyway. A good example is a studio desk I bought from Hampshire, 3.5 x 2.0m, weighed a tonne also, cost around £80 to be delivered and the guys happily bought it through the house and into my garden studio. 

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