How to Calculate Shipping Insurance

Shipping companies charge extra to "insure" packages.

Ask around and you are liable to hear a variety of shipping horror stories. The well-packed carnival glass that reaches its destination in a thousand pieces. The mystery dent in the box, right over the Blu-ray player's busted housing. The disappearing package. No matter how obvious it may be that a shipper is to blame for damage, most will not offer restitution unless the customer pays in advance. The major shippers in the United States offer extra protection for packages, although it is not necessarily labeled "insurance." They make it easy to calculate the total cost through their websites.

United States Postal Service

Step 1

Securely pack and address the item. Weigh the package in pounds and ounces and measure the length, height and depth.

Step 2

Go on line to usps.com and click on "calculate postage." On the next screen, select whether you are trying to calculate "domestic postage," "international postage" or "business postage."

Step 3

Work your way through the boxes requiring information about your package, starting with the ZIP code from which the package will be shipped and the ZIP of where it is going. The mailing date is optional information. Select the shape of your package. If any dimension is more than 12 inches, choose the "Large Package" option. Enter the package's weight in pounds and ounces. Click on "Continue."

Step 4

For a large package, enter the length, height and width, then click on "Continue." Select your preferred shipping method, then click on "Add Extra Services."

Step 5

Click the box next to "Insurance" in the "Protection in Transit" boxes, then type the amount of insurance. Click on "Add" to find out the price to insure your package. You will also see a total price to ship your package.

United Parcel Service (UPS)

Step 1

UPS automatically covers all shipments up to $100 in value. It offers additional protection of up to $50,000 per package through its Declared Value program.

Step 2

Securely pack and address the item. Weigh the package in pounds and ounces and measure the length, height and depth.

Step 3

Go on line to ups.com. Select the region from which you will ship your package, then place your pointer over the "Shipping" menu to see the options. "Calculate Time and Cost."

Step 4

Select the "Detailed Time and Cost" option, then start from the top of the screen, filling-in information. Make sure to include the value of your package in the "Declared Value" box.

Click on "Next" to see the price of extra protection and other shipping options.

FedEx

Step 1

FedEx automatically accepts a liability of up to $100 for each package unless a greater value is declared and coverage is purchased.

Step 2

Securely pack and address the item. Weigh the package in pounds and ounces and measure the length, height and depth.

Step 3

Go online to fedex.com. Put your pointer over the "Ship" heading, then click on "Get Rates & Transit Times."

Step 4

Fill out the information in the "Ship From/To" boxes, then click on "Get detailed quote." On the next screen, filled out the "Package and Shipment Details." Make sure to declare the full value of your package.

Step 5

Click on "Continue" to see your shipping options, including coverage for the package's value.

Tip

Most major shipping services allow registered users to purchase and print postage at home for a slightly lower price. In addition to saving money, this can save time waiting in line at the shipper’s office.

Things You'll Need

  • Postal scale

  • Computer with Internet access

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