5 Tips for Shipping Valuable Items

5 Tips for Shipping Valuable Items Getting you package damaged or lost while in transit is always unpleasant, but when this happens to a high-value item, it can be nothing short of disastrous. This is why you should take all precautions imaginable to ensure that your valuable items arrive at their destination undamaged, or that at least you get compensated for your losses if they don’t. Let us offer you a few tips for shipping valuable items that might be helpful.

First and foremost, let’s figure out what qualifies as valuable items. The exact definition may vary by carrier, but generally expensive items costing more than $500–1000 (electronics, jewelry, precious metals and stones, artwork, collectibles, luxury items, musical instruments, etc.) and items that are irreplaceable or very hard to replace (family heirlooms, important documents) are considered high-value items. In other words, your should treat anything that would be expensive, difficult, or impossible to replace in case of loss or damage as a high-value item.

Pack Properly

Although valuable items aren’t necessarily fragile, taking a few extra steps to ensure additional protection from the elements and mechanical damage won’t hurt. Guidelines for packing different types of high-value items might slightly differ but a few general recommendations are applicable to all or at least most of them:

  • Ship unused items in their original packaging.
  • Protect each item with cushioning material such as bubble wrap.
  • Ship items in a sturdy box made from corrugated cardboard which is neither too big nor too small for its contents.
  • Fill all the empty space inside the box with cushioning material.
  • Use reliable packing tape to seal the box.
  • Make sure to properly label your package (even if your valuable items are not fragile, you can add a “Fragile” sticker so that your package is handled with more care). However, you shouldn’t label it as “Expensive” or specify what’s inside to minimize the chance of theft.

Choose the Right Carrier

Since you definitely don’t want your valuables to get lost or damaged, it is important to choose a shipping carrier that will make their safety a priority. We recommend that you compare different carriers’ policies regarding the delivery of high-value items and go with the one that you think you can trust.

Purchase Additional Insurance

Insurance is extremely important for high-value items, because if something happens to them you would want to be properly compensated. Yes, additional insurance costs money, but when it comes to dealing with expensive or irreplaceable items, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Start with checking out what your carrier has to offer. For example, the USPS allows to purchase up to $5,000 indemnity coverage for your mailpieces, and Registered Mail items can be insured for up to $50,000 (note that in the latter case you will have to purchase insurance personally at your Post Office). If you’re not satisfied with your carrier’s insurance options, you can purchase third-party insurance.

Pay for Extra Services

You shouldn’t be stingy when shipping high-value items; like we’ve already said, it is a situation where it’s better be safe than sorry. Make sure that your shipping service of choice includes tracking (it should if you haven’t gone with the cheapest shipping option, which your really shouldn’t do, but it’s always good to double-check) and consider paying a little extra for a delivery confirmation service such as USPS Signature Confirmation or UPS Signature Required. If you are determined to save on shipping, the best way to do this is to print a discounted shipping label instead of saving on tracking and delivery confirmation services.

When Shipping Internationally, Make Sure to Read All the Rules and Regulations

Shipping high-value items abroad can be tricky, because each country has unique import rules for valuables. In addition, the IATA (International Air Transport Association) has certain rules and restrictions regarding some categories of expensive items such as electronics (because they often contain batteries) and perfumes (because they are a flammable liquid). This is why it is so important to research all applicable rules and regulations to ensure your valuables can be delivered to their destination country.

It is also crucial to fill out the customs declaration form accurately, correctly, and truthfully because lying on a customs form (for example, undervaluing the goods to avoid fees and taxes, which is considered fraud, by the way) can result in the seizure of goods and significant penalties.