Do you need to get shipping insurance for your eBay packages?

How I lost a $200 camera lens

Before I knew the shipping insurance rules, needlessly wasted hundreds of dollars in items damaged or lost during shipping.

I love selling camera lenses because they’re high margin items.

Last year, I spent $90 at my local Goodwill on a Canon camera lens. ‘I’ll at least double my money’¬†I thought to myself.

I listed the lens, and it sold for $190 a couple weeks later. I shipped it to NYC with Priority Mail through eBay, and printed the label. A couple weeks later, I got a refund request from the buyer. They said the camera lens never got to them.

I checked the tracking number, and it said the package tried to be delivered, but the building was locked. I called the Post Office and they said they couldn’t find the package (after all it was New York City).

So I ended up ignoring the request because I didn’t know eBay always sides with the buyer.

The buyer ended up winning the case, and I had to give them a full refund.

I told myself that I’d contact the post office and see if I they would cover the cost of the lost lens. I wrote this down on my to-do list for the day after, and the day after, and the day after, and the day after, and…

When I finally got around to researching the USPS insurance, it was 3 months later. After a simple Google search I learned that USPS Priority Mail has $50 of included insurance, but you need to file a claim within 60 days of mailing the package.

And even better, Top Rated Sellers get $100 of insurance with each Priority Mail label they get through eBay. I was, and still am, a Top Rated Seller!

My package was worth $190. I could have bought additional insurance, but I didn’t think of it. Even if I wanted to file a claim, I couldn’t because I had waited too long. A simple Google search would have saved me $100. Procrastination’s expensive.


With USPS Priority Mail you get an automatic $50 of insurance (unless your a Top Rated Seller):

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You can also buy additional insurance if your using Priority Mail (Flat Rate or your own box). The other mail services (like First Class mail and Media mail) don’t include insurance, so you need to buy it if you want to insure your package.

And like you read above, if you’re a Top Rated Seller you get $100 of insurance with each Priority Mail shipment.

UPS and Fedex

UPS and Fedex both offer $100 of coverage for their shipments (unless you’re shipping Fedex Smart-post).

Sometimes I use Fedex in my Amazon business, and also if I’m shipping something huge from eBay like this dehumidifier I sold a couple weeks ago:

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The Fedex Home Deliver is usually cheaper for me than the USPS for packages that’re over 50 pounds. Thankfully, you can also print Fedex labels directly from your eBay account.

In my 3 and a half years of reselling, I’ve never used UPS in my eBay business or Amazon business because it seems to always be the most expensive option.


So if you’re shipping things over $100 ($50 for USPS if you’re not at Top Rated seller) it’s a good idea to buy extra insurance.

And remember, there are a lot of places where you can get free shipping supplies.




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