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Shipping insurance policies

I have spent the afternoon checking into the postal policies and UPS
policies in case a package of handmade jewelry is lost in shipment.
Here’s what they tell me.

UPS: UPS will only reimburse you for handmade jewelry up to the
value of the stones and metal, which must be documented by receipts
showing how much you paid for these materials. They will not pay for
any labor regardless of the amount of insurance you buy. The only
exception is if you have an appraisal by a professional appraiser. I
can’t find anyone here in Midland, TX who can appraise one of a kind
jewelry except by placing a value on the stones, the metal, and a
"reasonable" amount of labor–their minimum fee is $75.00.

USPS: The post office has very vague policies, which they have read
to me, concerning anything handmade. Basically, they will reimburse
the same as UPS, regardless of how much insurance you buy, and
nothing for your labor unless you have had it appraised.

Bottom line: We are wasting our money buying insurance for the
retail value we have placed on handmade jewelry over the cost of the
stones and metal. The best I can tell, the safest thing is to send
Registered mail because they can track a package every step of the
way and one is rarely lost, according to the people I have talked
to. Also, maybe divide the shipments into multiple boxes to decrease
the likelihood of losing a whole bunch at once.

Any experiences or thoughts to share?

J.S. Ellington

P.S. There seems to be some greater chance of getting paid the retail
value that an artist has placed on the work if the receiver has
actually bought (i.e., if it is not being sent for consignment) the

J. S. Ellington

J. S. - When I ship cut stones I insure them for the amount which my
customer has paid for the work. If the stones “go missing” (they
never have yet, in over 10 years) my customer can produce the
receipt showing how much they paid for them, and file the claim. All
shipping agents treat artisans and crafts people like the IRS does -
the only way you can claim more than the cost of materials is if you
have incorporated, pay yourself a salary, and hence have a paper
trail showing value added to the merchandise: evidence of “true cost
of materials”. It ain’t fair, and it ain’t right, it simply IS!

Jim Small
Small Wonders Lapidary

Check out Parcel Pro’s services and benefits. They do insured
shipping especially for jewelers and their prices are reasonable.

They have just switched to UPS as their carrier (was FedEx) to avoid
raising our shipping rates.

Just a satisfied customer for about 3 years.

As for value insured, we have been given the option to insure at
retail or wholesale value.

When shipping consignment merchandise I insure for wholesale which
is what I’d receive after the retail sale of the merchandise. When
shipping merchandise which was purchased at retail, I insure for the
retail value shown on the invoice.

Pam Chott
Song of the Phoenix

Pam, have you actually made claims and been PAID the insured value

 consignment merchandise I insure for wholesale 


merchandise which was purchased atretail, I insure for the  retail
value shown on the invoice. " 

THAT would be useful info. for Orchid folks to know. David Barzilay,
Lord of the Rings

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718

   THAT would be useful info. for Orchid folks to know. David
Barzilay, Lord of the Rings 

You’re right David.

My volume is small but all of my shipments have been satisfactory to

I read about Parcel Pro here on the Orchid list. I didn’t expect
them to accept a really small fry but they said there was no minimum
usage required and have been very good to work with.

Pam Chott
Song of the Phoenix