How to determine if items are of extraordinary value

Jim Berge

By Jim Berge Business Development at King Solutions

When shipping items of high value, there is little room for error. Between the liabilities of such items, the insurance that should be in place and the high priority of such shipments, supply chain professionals take extra precautions when it comes to moving valuable freight.

It’s a bit of added protection that any shipper would want on their high value items, but it’s not always taken into consideration when a bill of lading (BOL) is formed because of one fact:

Not all shippers know what constitutes high value freight.

Because of this, many items are shipped that do not carry the necessary insurance, tracking and handling that they deserve. So, how can shippers determine if the items they are shipping are of extraordinary value?

Start with a simple ratio
The most simple way to determine whether or not an item is of high value is to take into consideration its weight to value ratio.

Items that weigh more tend to cost more, this much is true, but carriers don’t determine value through weight alone. Just because an item is large or oversized doesn’t mean it is of extraordinary value.

Sometimes the best things come in small packages.

Because weight isn’t the best indicator of value, at least when taken alone, it has to be formed into a ratio with its value. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), items reach the classification of “high or extraordinary value” when their weight-to-value ratio exceeds $100 per pound.

Some common items to be extra mindful of are:

  • Computer equipment/systems
  • Flat-screen monitors
  • Lightweight machines
  • Furniture and fixtures

Other things to consider
Getting high value items covered depends upon the carrier that shippers are working with. Some carriers have specific limitations and/or exemptions on payouts for freight that they consider to contain “prohibited items” or “limited liability items.”

Some items that can fit into this classification are:

  • Firearms
  • Furs
  • Marble figures
  • Monitors
  • Dies/molds

Get it in writing
The only way to be sure that these items will be covered while in transit is to review each carrier’s tariff, which must be provided to shippers by law upon their request.

Once the complete terms of the tariff, item’s freight classification and value are established, everything must be declared on the BOL. This will ensure that each item has the proper value declaration and coverage before shipping.

Want to simplify the process?
Working with multiple carriers to get the best rates and coverage on freight can be cumbersome and even downright confusing. Whether you are unsure about the entire process, or just want to focus on other aspects of your business, a third-party logistics provider can help you sort out the entire process. Contact King Solutions today and let us get you the best rate, coverage and carriers in the industry.