Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

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    Default Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    I just shipped my tenor off for an overhaul today and was surprised to learn of new (to me) insurance limits for "musical instruments" at FedEx.

    According to the FedEx attendant, if an instrument is older than 10 years, the insurance limit is $1000. She shared that if an instrument is older than 10 years, and valued greater than $1000, that the owner should insure their instrument via their homeowner's insurance or some other third party.

    If this is true, and you are shipping a vintage horn that gets damaged, you may get caught by the rules when you try to make a claim.
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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Wow, good to know. Thanks for posting. FedEx is my preferred private firm, so I use it when I can. I've always paid the extra for the upper insured level but this puts a whole new twist on things. For example, having to insure it additionally might cut further into your profits. Again - thanks for posting.
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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Yesterday I received a Yani curved sop shipped to me by FedEx. It was just outside this new age limit (manufactured in 2003, I believe), and well above the $1,000 value limit. Neither the shipper/seller nor FedEx informed me of any insurance shortfall while the package was en route. I suppose it's possible the shipper supplemented the insurance through some other means, but I very much doubt it. Fortunately, the sax arrived in perfect condition.

    FedEx must have a problem with excessive insurance claims on instruments (excessive in number and/or in magnitude) that's gotten so bad the company no longer believes it can address it by increasing the premiums charged to shippers. Either there's increasingly frequent fraud by claimants or increasingly poor package handling by FedEx.

    Note that FedEx's instructions to the "owner" of the sax to use homeowner's insurance or the like may not be feasible, depending on the terms of the policy and/or the state's version of the Uniform Commercial Code. This type of shipment is typically part of a seller-buyer transaction, not a sax-shipping joyride by a single owner.

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Quote Originally Posted by LostConn View Post
    Note that FedEx's instructions to the "owner" of the sax to use homeowner's insurance or the like may not be feasible, depending on the terms of the policy and/or the state's version of the Uniform Commercial Code. This type of shipment is typically part of a seller-buyer transaction, not a sax-shipping joyride by a single owner.
    Good observations regarding the use of homeowner's insurance. That, too, concerns me. I had an "issue" last year, and called my insurance to discuss whether I should consider filing a claim. I was told by my agent that my carrier would cover the claim ($1500), but would likely cancel my policy. The agent said that they were having problems getting people a new policy, once there was a claim - even though I have been claim-free with the same company for 15 years.

    BTW, my horn is on such a joy ride - to Matt Stohrer for some tender loving care and fresh pads. I've been patiently looking forward to this for some time.
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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    I know it cost more but I let my UPS Store package the few saxophones I have shipped. I do the inside the case prep and let them handle the rest. They always verify my inside the case prep and never have issues even when insuring for several thousands of dollars. In my area, UPS service is far better than FedEx.

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Here it is - effective date of January 6, 2014. It looks like my shipper was wrong on the age - it's 20 years (not 10 years, as I cited above).

    http://images.fedex.com/us/services/...nd_US_2014.pdf

    See "Declared Value and Limits of Liability" on page 6.

    E. Except as limited below, the maximum declared value per piece (single handling unit)
    in any FedEx First Overnight Freight, FedEx 1Day Freight, FedEx 2Day Freight or FedEx
    3Day Freight shipment is US$50,000.

    F. Shipments (packages or freight) containing all or part of the following items are
    limited to a maximum declared value of US$1,000:

    12. Guitars and other musical instruments that are more than 20 years old, and
    customized or personalized musical instruments.

    BTW, it also exempts jewelry and coins.

    I wonder what the details are for other carriers.

    Bottom line: It doesn't matter if your shipper fails to inform you of the rules. The rules are printed, available, and enforceable.
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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    Here it is - effective date of January 6, 2014. It looks like my shipper was wrong on the age - it's 20 years (not 10 years, as I cited above).
    That's somewhat more reasonable in general, although with vintage saxes, it doesn't make a difference.

    2. Guitars and other musical instruments that are more than 20 years old, and
    customized or personalized musical instruments.
    Aha! "Guitars and other musical instruments." Guitars are notoriously fragile. I wouldn't be surprised if they were the impetus for this policy change, with an extension to other instruments deemed prudent.

    Bottom line: It doesn't matter if your shipper fails to inform you of the rules. The rules are printed, available, and enforceable.
    If by "shipper" you mean the person sending the horn to you, it very much matters what the shipper states. For example, "price includes shipping and insurance," a common sort of provision, implies insurance for the full value of the purchase price. It's then the shipper's obligation to provide appropriate coverage, whether FedEx will sell it to him or not. The shipper can either purchase a separate policy or use another carrier. It's no excuse that the FedEx coverage limit is unduly low.

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    ...
    Bottom line: It doesn't matter if your shipper fails to inform you of the rules. The rules are printed, available, and enforceable.
    Pretty much always the case, from PayPal through EBay through any contractual service you choose to purchase.

    For musical instruments over twenty years I'd think that many of the claims were starting to fall into the "value in the eye of the consignor/consignee" category... akin to the "priceless" album of family photos. "Irreplaceable" perhaps, "priceless"? Not so much. Value on so many instruments is so hard to affix. Even a , "I just bought it for" only establishes that one person was willing to pay that price- not exactly the statistically supported pricing model that a company paying claims likes to use. The discrepancies between the lunatic high-end "never to be sold at that price but to a well heeled and really naïve buyer" prices sometimes found on EBay and the value assigned to the same horn at the local garage or estate sale are simply not something that a carrier can gracefully incorporate into their allowance for claims due to damage in carriage accounts unless they were to try a model of different insurance rates by category ETC- something that they probably view as a bridge too far for the moment. The kicker would be at the shipping package acceptance point where you'd need really well trained and consistent personnel.

    And, hard as it may be to credit, there ARE other potentially pricey older musical instruments- none of any particular significance of course- besides saxophones.

    If that "limit list" becomes an issue for enough consignors though, you can count on some commercial entity springing up sooner or later at shipping points offering additional insurance... for a price and with terms embedded in "printed, available, and enforceable" forms you sign without reading or could have read had you taken the time and asked for same when purchasing the coverage.

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Quote Originally Posted by LostConn View Post
    If by "shipper" you mean the person sending the horn to you...
    No, by "shipper", I was referring to FedEx, UPS, et al.
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    I just shipped my tenor off for an overhaul today...
    Good news - I just heard from Matt that my tenor arrived safely. I hadn't realized how tense I was about that.

    And now I'm past tense.
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Does anyone know offhand if UPS has similar limits?

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    Does anyone know offhand if UPS has similar limits?
    This document is a little wordy for a quick read - see the sections regarding "liability". The short (non-binding) answer is "It doesn't look like it has the same restrictions as FedEx."

    http://www.ups.com/media/en/terms_service_us.pdf

    There is similar document regarding international shipping.
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Thanks Doc. I shipped a horn fairly recently with Fed Ex and their instrument exlusion was nowhere to be found, nor was I notified of it by the shipping company. Next time it's UPS.

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    You're welcome. I'd hate to be the first one stung by this. I can imagine shipping a Mk VI tenor and finding out, after the fact, that they won't cover damage/loss.

    Someone's gonna get burned. It's just a matter of time.

    We should check all the carriers for changes in policy. I can imagine that not all the personnel working the counter, get the time or inclination to read the new document updates. I got lucky.
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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Has anyone ever had to claim off UPS or FedEx insurance and been successful ? I ask because UPS broke a piece of electronics last year that I shipped (very well packed). Their "insurance" turned out to be worthless. They offered to try to repair it, which I knew they would be unable to do, but this required the recipient to take a day off work and wait around for their insurance guy to come and collect and inspect it.

    I concluded that the shipping insurance is worth just about as much as the piece of paper it's written on.

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Quote Originally Posted by seant View Post
    Has anyone ever had to claim off UPS or FedEx insurance and been successful?
    Yes, I had a Continental tricone that was buggered in shipping (poorly packed and then abused) some years ago. UPS covered the claim quickly and without contention.
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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Just thought I'd chime in here as a frequent saxophone shipper. Your options as a non-commercial shipper are now as follows:
    1. USPS "Priority Mail Express" - 1 or 2 day service with good tracking and cheap insurance up to $5k. Claims for smaller amounts tend to be easy to negotiate.
    2. UPS - does insure vintage and antique and fragile items. They will require that you packed it really well. Crappy packing will void your claim. Sometimes you have to use "styrofoam sheeting" inside the box in order to meet their packing requirements for fragile items. (This is to line the box to make it more rigid, and applies more to shipping pottery than saxophones, but it will make your life easier to include some.) An important UPS caveat: The UPS Store franchise runs its own insurance through each store, and it charges about 3x more than UPS itself does for its insurance coverage. This means that to get actual UPS coverage you have to go to the hub in person or create a label online.

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Rather than dealing direct with the couriers, it's often better both financially and re: customer support to ship via an agency. In the UK I use P4D, they then give you several quotes based on various couriers and the quotes are usually cheaper than if you went direct to the courier as someone without an account.

    So then whatever courier they use you get insurance via the agency and this will then over-ride the courier's policy, so even though it may be a Fedex or TNT van that calls round, you are not dealing with those companies at all..

    In this case P4D will insure normally up to £5000 and above that by special order. There are similar services in the US and most countries that are worth considering rather than going directly to a courier or main post office service.
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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    +1 on what Pete says

    in the UK parcel2go.com are also very good and offer their own insurance for up to £10,000 with most of the carriers they use (including FedEx)

    it's also very simple to use, enter the pickup, the destination, the dimensions, then on the next page choose a carrier based on price

    For info, I recently had a delivery via FedEx and found them very good - when I phoned to give directions, they put me straight through to the driver

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    Default Re: Concerns regarding FedEx insurance limits

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    http://www.ups.com/media/en/terms_service_us.pdf

    There is similar document regarding international shipping.
    Whatever their insurance policy, UPS charges massive customs brokerage fees to recipients of international shipments--up to 50% of the item's value in the case of shipments to Canada, in my experience. I strongly urge everyone to avoid UPS when shipping internationally.
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