We've had three reports lately from clients who've had trade show freight go missing in transit with only two out of three recovered. It will cost the companies involved over $75,000 to replace the items and without insurance, that's a huge loss.
There are numerous potential factors that can go wrong when you exhibit at a trade show, but perhaps the one that can make you feel the most helpless is when something goes wrong with your booth in transit. When you put your crate onto that trailer or hand that parcel to your UPS driver, you trust that it will end up where and when you expect it to. Every so often, the crate or package does not arrive. How can you protect your investment if the worst is to happen?
The first step is always to check with your business insurance agent. If you ship things frequently, there may be an endorsement you can add to your business policy to protect items while in transit, or your agent may be able to sell you a separate policy that covers freight. Keep in mind that most policies you own will no cover theft if the item is not in your “care custody and control;” in other words, if it’s on a truck that is owned by a shipping company. If your item is damaged, though, it is a good idea to have it covered on your end.
Disclaimer: This article contains some basic information gathered from our business partners. You should always check details with your own vendors and partners before purchasing insurance.
To ensure maximum protection for your items in transit, we recommend buying insurance from your freight company every time you ship. Generally you will pay a certain dollar amount per $100 of declared value. If there is a loss, it is important to have all your paperwork in order so that you can prove how much you paid for your items, what they are made out of, and how long you have owned them. If you have more than one crate or package, you need to specify the value of each if they are different.
If you are using a parcel service, like UPS or Fed Ex, they will reimburse $100 for each package if you do not buy insurance. So if you are shipping an item that is worth more than $100, you should buy insurance from the parcel service or be prepared to accept the loss if the item is missing or damaged.
I interviewed our freight company's trade show coordinator, and she told me that only about 1% of her trade show clients insure their freight. We can understand that; it is a bit complicated to document the value of an exhibit, and it is quite rare that something gets stolen, damaged or lost in transit.
As my insurance agent likes to say, “It’s not very often that your house burns down, but that’s no reason not to buy homeowner’s insurance.”
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you understand the risk you are taking, and are not caught off-guard if something goes wrong.
We hope this helps you plan for your shows in 2015. Call us if you have any questions and let us know how we can help.