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What’s covered when you insure a parcel?

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Written by: Emma Lunn
03/02/2021
Parcel and package insurance covers very little with some delivery companies, according to Resolver.

If you’re one of the millions of people who sent or received a parcel last year, you may have been tempted to buy package delivery ‘insurance’ as a last minute add on.

But many of these policies have so many exemptions, they’re virtually useless. In fact some aren’t even insurance, and on others you’re not the one who’s insured.

According to independent resolution service Resolver, package delivery insurance is one of the fastest growing areas of complaint with cases increasing to 1,989 in 2020.

From the complaints data, the bulk of complaints are about rejected claims and goods that were ‘excluded’ from the cover.

Yet Resolver’s users say they had clearly stated what was in the parcel when they filled out the form – but the delivery company failed to warn them that the goods were excluded, often leaving them with a nasty surprise and expensive bills.

Among the many things not covered by package delivery policies are:

  • musical instruments
  • paintings and prints
  • plants, seeds, flowers and plant derivatives
  • spectacles and optical equipment (e.g. telescopes or binoculars)
  • cigarettes, cigars and other finished tobacco products

Resolver also found many clauses that are so vague or broad they could exclude most things, such as “items which can be exchanged by themselves or with any other item for money or goods or services”.

Other exclusions include important documentation (such as medical, employment, property or commercial records), items which have been strapped together, and household goods and personal effects.

It’s also worth noting that some of these policies aren’t technically ‘insurance’ – so you have no protection or right to go to the Financial Ombudsman if something goes wrong.

Alex Neill, Resolver’s CEO, said: “People are increasingly reliant on delivery companies for sending gifts to loved ones and arranging the safe delivery of vital supplies. It’s only natural that people will want to make sure their package arrives safely, and should the worst happen the contents are covered.

“So, it’s disappointing to see big name firms with pages of sneaky exclusions that render this cover virtually useless. Businesses should be providing services that instil confidence should something go wrong, not charging us extra and not paying out.”

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