Why Insure Shipped Goods?
It doesn't happen often but if you can't afford to replace your shipment here's a reason to purchase insurance:
"TORTOLA - A 130-foot barge, MV Island Seal, carrying six containers and 1,500 gallons of diesel capsized by Hog's Valley Point, west of Brandywine Bay on Friday...The vessel was transporting four 20-foot and two 40-foot containers filled with general cargo from St. Maarten to Port Purcell. "
In the same vein, a friend who has lived here for two years and is slowly settling into permanency recently shipped some cherished collectibles to STT from CA via USPS . Several boxes in the shipment were totally trashed and the contents smashed. Because she took out insurance she'll be covered for her losses and, even better, has gone onto eBay and found replacements.
I used to be rather so-so about moving insurance, as nothing bad had ever happened to me in the past, but I am now a very firm believer in insuring goods when moving long distances and/or over water.
I shipped a small number of essential furniture items when I first moved to STT earlier this year and my dining table was completely "totalled" during the long journey. Thankfully I had purchased insurance. Even though it took some time, a whole lot of paperwork, and several emails and phone calls, I was reimbursed fully for my loss -- including the additional shipping expense for my replacement table.
I also have a "feeling" (albeit completely unscientific), that putting insurance on packages sent through the USPS reduces the chance of that package being stolen or lost, as the package becomes more easily traceable with this additional protection.
For USPS shipments, I agree that you should get insurance and/or delivery confirmation. Otherwise, you stand a good chance of getting pilfered.
But for whole container shipments, I think it depends more on the quality of the container, and of the movers, as to what condition your contents arrive in. If both are good, and a loss would not be catastrophic, I would skip the insurance.
I posted quite a long thread on this about a year ago - but please know that Lloyd's of London insured our load - we were instructed to pack everything to withstand an 8 foot fall or drop of the container! (Makes you wonder how often they get dropped, huh?) Some friends that moved back to the states a year or so ago had a HUGE hole punched in the top of theirs...it rained...they lost a lot of stuff. They were also eventually reimbursed, but it took a while.
There are some weird maritime laws in effect for loads that are not insured. It's really not a whole lot of money in the scheme of things. The ship may not go down, but your load could have to be jettisoned for some reason...well, the end result would not be pretty, I wouldn't think. Also remember that items you pack yourself cannot be insured as highly as those packed by the pros. Lee Fleming with Managed Freight www.managedfreight.com can put you in touch with the people who can explain it best. All of my info is from a year ago, but if you do a search by author under my name it should be sometime around July or August of 2005 that you will find the post on the maritime laws. Thank God for online bill payment....
We had one item broken in transit, a $4 wooden picture frame, and we packed ourselves. Even though everything went perfectly from start to finish, there was some peace of mind just knowing we had some recourse if it got ugly. We came down in hurricane season - that also factored into our decision.
Totally agree with the USPS thing - if it has insurance or signature required or comes priority it generally makes it. Everything else is in a grab bag in Puerto Rico....our mail hasn't been right since we got here.