What can be more frustrating than finding out your holiday packages to family and friends are damaged, or worse, lost in transit? Every holiday season, with the millions of packages being processed, more people than you might imagine face this prospect. There are ways to beat the odds and in the process, even save money.

    “One of the biggest causes of damage is improper packaging,” says Bliss Landon, Founder and President of U-PIC Insurance Services in Agoura Hills, CA. “Start with a strong box,” Landon continued. “You’d be surprised how many people skimp on box quality with disappointing results. Boxes that don’t have enough cushioning so your gifts jiggle and the box isn’t supported well from the inside is an accident waiting to happen. Use of a strong security tape around all your seams creates a strong, tamper resistant seal that easily shows if the package has been tampered with.”

    Loss, theft or pilferage are problems which grow with holiday shipping volume. All carriers attach a barcode to each package which is used to track package movement. It serves as a proof of delivery and a means to investigate a package that is misplaced or mis-delivered. It’s also needed for adjusting any insurance claim. “All the carriers, be it the USPS, FedEx and UPS have sophisticated tracking systems and great delivery reliability, but it all depends on the integrity of that barcode. We see claims for lost packages where the barcode was never scanned when dropped off, or where the barcode can’t be read because it’s been taped over, so make sure the package is initially scanned in your presence and not just dropped off,” stated Landon.

    “Theft by random people from one’s doorstep or apartment lobby has been well documented on television. Protect yourself and your family by requiring a signature confirmation, especially for higher value packages. It’s a bit more effort for the recipient, but it ensures your package gets right in your recipient’s hands,” said Landon. “Be alert not to advertise a package’s contents, either,” Landon continued. “Simply placing a shipping label on a laptop in its original branded packaging, practically screams, Steal Me! Put such boxes in a larger unmarked, well packed and sealed box. Lastly, if you choose not to use signature confirmation, leave shipping instructions to leave the box in a secure place other than the front door. A screened porch, side door or other spot not visible from the street are all good alternatives.”

    There are also ways to save money in choosing an appropriate carrier based on value and weight. Landon opined, “The USPS offers some great rates with flat rate Priority Mail shipping boxes and parcel post is usually less expensive than UPS or FedEx Ground. Heavier or larger packages are the sweet spot for UPS or FedEx Ground and they do an excellent job with both rates and delivery. If shipping high value packages or internationally, UPS Air or FedEx are great choices because the package is very well tracked and internationally, stays within their system door to door, unlike the USPS who must hand off the package to the national carrier once it clears foreign customs.”

    Package insurance is available from the major carriers against loss, damage or theft, but few people know that they can obtain the same coverage through third party specialty insurers such as U-PIC at a substantial discount. “U-PIC has enjoyed strong growth over the years because we are insurance experts, unlike the carriers who are shipping experts. Insurance is a very profitable side line business for many carriers. As our main business, we purchase insurance on the wholesale market and can offer rates online, per package that are up to 85% lower than what carriers charge. For example, FedEx would charge you $8.50 to insure a $1000 package, while we would charge $3.50. During the holidays, that can add up,” stated Landon.

    So, this holiday season, armed with these tips, you can have greater piece of mind and save money in the process.

    Copyright: Henry R. Mandell
    U-PIC 800 955-4623
    www.u-pic.com 
    What can be more frustrating than finding out your holiday packages to family and friends are damaged, or worse, lost in transit? Every holiday season, with the millions of packages being processed, more people than you might imagine face this prospect. There are ways to beat the odds and in the process, even save money.
     

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