Protecting Packages with Universal Parcel Insurance Coverage

If you think that printing your own postage is slick, you're gonna love Universal Parcel Insurance Coverage (U-PIC), a service that automates the post office insurance hassle. U-PIC has been in the package insurance business since 1989, mainly insuring packages for large shippers. U-PIC has expanded its business to the online auction arena, and you can insure packages that you send through USPS, UPS, FedEx, and other major carriers. If you use its insurance on USPS-shipped packages, you can save as much as 80 percent on insurance rates. If you use U-PIC, you can stop purchasing package insurance from your carriers.

The U-PIC service also enables you to print your postage through an online postage service and, if you have just a few packages, give the packages directly to your USPS mail carrier. (You don't have to stand in line to get your insurance form stamped.) If you have a ton of boxes, you'll need to drive them to the post office and shove them over the counter. No waiting in line, no hassle!

To apply for the U-PIC service, you must fill out a Request to Provide (RTP) form. Go to their Web site at www.u-pic.com and click the Apply link (see Figure 14-5). You must answer questions about who you are, how many packages you send, how many insurance claims you've filed in the past two years, and your average value per package.

After you fill out the online form and agree to the policy (Evidence of Insurance), a U-PIC representative will contact you within forty-eight hours. The representative will answer your questions and help you decide which of their programs will work best for your eBay business. (I give you some details about these in just a bit.)

Your U-PIC sales representative will explain to you exactly how to declare value with U-PIC based on your present system. At the end of each shipping month, you fax, e-mail, or snail mail your shipping reports to U-PIC.

To place a claim with U-PIC on a USPS shipment, you must do so no sooner than thirty days after the date of mailing, and you must supply the following:

i A signed letter, stating the loss or damage from the consignee i A copy of the monthly insurance report you turned in to U-PIC reflecting the insured value i A completed U-PIC claim form (one claim form per claim)

i A copy of the original invoice or the end of auction form

Because you're paying for private insurance, U-PIC suggests that you include in the package a copy of your insurance policy (or at the very least a note explaining that you have an insurance policy covering your shipments) so that your buyer doesn't think you're overcharging (which makes some folks a bit cranky).

Table 14-2 compares USPS and U-PIC insurance rates. UPS charges $0.35 cents per $100.00 package value (after the initial $100.00). U-PIC charges only $0.14 per $100.00 UPS shipment value. FedEx charges $0.50 per $100.00 value with a $2.50 minimum. By using U-PIC, you can insure your FedEx packages for $0.20 per $100.00 value.

Table 14-2 compares USPS and U-PIC insurance rates. UPS charges $0.35 cents per $100.00 package value (after the initial $100.00). U-PIC charges only $0.14 per $100.00 UPS shipment value. FedEx charges $0.50 per $100.00 value with a $2.50 minimum. By using U-PIC, you can insure your FedEx packages for $0.20 per $100.00 value.

Table 14-2

USPS and U-PIC Domestic Insurance Coverage Rate Comparison

Standard

U-PIC with USPS Delivery Confirmation

$0.01 to $50.00

$1.10 $0.75

$0.50

$50.01 to $100.00

$2.00 $0.75

$0.50

$100.01 to $200.00

$3.00 $1.50

$1.00

$200.01 to $300.00

$4.00 $2.25

$1.50

$300.01 to $400.00 $5.00 $3.00 $2.00

U-PIC will also insure international shipments. The cost to insure international USPS parcels is only $1.00 per $100.00, with no deductible.

If you're a high-volume shipper, you can negotiate an even lower rate with U-PIC. To reach U-PIC, call toll-free at 800-955-4623 or visit their Web site at

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