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Send Your Goods at Your Own Risk

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Send Your Goods at Your Own Risk
Nirmala Konjengbam - 09 May 2019

Life moves on and at any given point of time, we might be compelled to move out of our comfort zone for a new beginning. But, there are few possessions which matter to us regardless of their price or value, and we would like to carry them with us wherever we go. Transit insurance comes handy in such cases that can be bought for shipments done via sea, air, or road for domestic as well as overseas relocation. It gives financial backing as well as a sense of security against various risks or potential damages of your favourite piece of article.

Kolkata-based Sayantanee Choudhury, speaking of her experience while shifting from Patna to Kolkata, said, “The packers and movers gave us a discount but asked us to share the shipment with another customer in the nearby locality. We received our goods in the best condition and it was a good experience.” However, not everyone is as lucky as Choudhury.

Individual, corporates and manufacturing companies can buy transit insurance. The premium varies depending on the type of goods. Sasikumar Adidamu, Chief Technical Officer, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, said, “The premium is determined depending on factors like types of coverage or risk associated. If the goods are fragile or high-end electronic items, premium charges are more. Whereas, for household items like utensils, plastic or metallic items, garments, the premium is lower.”  Once a rate is arrived based on the risk, it is applied to the total value of goods and the premium is calculated accordingly, he further informed.

There are numerous packers and movers firms across the nation, and sending household goods, furniture, electronic goods, bikes and cars are quite common.

One can send their goods through air, sea or road according to their requirement and availability of facilities. Most of the transporters offer options of individual transportation or a shared shipment along with a valid insurance cover.

The wisest way to choose the right facility is to check the reviews, compare the prices and service provided by various firms. However, the outcome might not be as promised every time.

Nihal Thondepu had booked, a high-rated service on UrbanClap, for shifting his household goods and a bike from Delhi to Vijayawada on August this year. The service provider charged three per cent of the total household goods and 1.5 per cent for the bike as the insurance premium and promised to deliver it in a week. He said, “Even after 10 days, I didn’t receive the shipment. When I called the service provider, they replied that it got delayed and will be delivered within two or three days. A week later, I got a call from them stating that the other customer who had shared the shipment, received her goods but some of them were damaged and asked them to hand her the insurance policy documents, which they were unable to provide.” Even after two months, Thondepu is still awaiting the arrival of his shipment.

On this, the other customer got angry and kept all Thondepu’s goods with her. The service provider failed to intervene. “When I asked for the papers, they said it’s included in the receipt. They charged for insurance separately. But, when I found that the goods are damaged,I could not claim it,” recalled Thondepu.

It is important to declare and make a list of goods before dispatch, explained Amitabh Gupta, Chief Underwriter Officer, Reliance General Insurance, adding, “Premiums are charged depending on types of goods, value of goods, distance and types of road or terrain. For instance, Delhi to Pune, Kolkata to Shimla and Bhopal to Srinagar cannot be charged at the same rate.”

Adding to this, S Vishwanathan, Head (Commercial Lines Underwriting), SBI General Insurance, said, “Marine transit insurance can provide the owner peace of mind besides ensuring the safety of the goods transported during relocation.”

Most of the transporters charge three per cent of the total value as the insurance premium. So, it is necessary to ask for the insurance policy document when it has been charged. “Assuming the household goods include costly furniture, crockery, high-value electronics or electrical appliances and automobiles, the cost of goods transported could be running into few lakhs,” said Vishwanathan.

 

What Cause The Damages

In several cases, the driver instead of taking the mentioned route, prefer to take a short-cut or an unknown road which might be accident-prone. Jaipur-based Ashwani Pandey had a terrible experience with a fake Agarwal Packers and Movers on May 26, 2016, while shifting from Yamuna Nagar in Haryana to Jaipur.

Pandey recalled, “I received a call from the transporter asking me to list the details of how many items I had shipped. An hour later, I  got another call from them informing me that the vehicle caught fire somewhere between the states of Haryana and Jaipur.”

He travelled by car for four hours to reach the spot. “I realised, though I chose an individual transportation, but it was shared with another customer. The accident took place in an isolated place as the truck took a different route. After a month, I received `55,000, where as  the value of the goods was more than `two lakh,” he complained.

Once your shipment is delivered make sure to check that all the goods are in perfect condition before signing the received document. In case, any goods are damaged or missing mention that in the remark. Remember you cannot claim for any damaged goods, once you have signed the papers.

There are a few simple steps to follow. Rakesh Jain, CEO, Reliance General Insurance, explains, “Antiques, paintings, sculpture and high-value goods can be insured based on the Agreed Value Policy. In an Agreed Value Policy, an authorised valuer will do the valuation and based on that their insurance premium will be decided. In case of the Agreed Value Policy, if a claim arises, it will help to settle the claim quickly.”

As antique items and other similar pieces such as statues, paintings, collectibles and artefacts are of higher intrinsic value, the insurance premiums are also generally high, and underwriters insist on adequate and suitable packing which is required for their normal course of transit. It is a must that professional valuation is done for such antiques or works of art and insured accordingly, as it may be required to be produced in the event of transit damage claim, added Vishwanathan.

Adidamu further added, “There are two types of transit insurance - All Risk and Basic Risk Transit Insurance. Customers who have multiple shipments can opt for an annual insurance cover which is commonly known as an Open Policy. Those who need transit cover for a specific shipment can take a single transit policy.” It is very painful when it comes to filing a claim. Many insurers avail online claim to settle things faster.

Experts suggest, it is always advisable to immediately check your goods on taking delivery. In case you find any discrepancy, immediately file a claim and intimate the company. After registering a claim, the company appoints a surveyor who will inspect the case. On receipt of loss assessment report, insurance company will process the claim. 

Your goods reached your place but were severely damaged or few articles went missing. Or you did not receive your goods within the stipulated time; in such cases, you can always contact the authorities. Just keep the papers handy.

Never pay insurance premium blindly, else you will send your goods at your own risk.

nirmala@outlookindia.com

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