By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready
You know it’s that time of the year when packages of all shapes and sizes begin to litter your porch. This year, C + R Research reported that over 230 million US digital buyers would be shopping online, making it a busy time for package theft. With 43 percent of Americans citing themselves as victims of porch piracy, it’s safe to say that being aware is half the battle. The other half is doing something to prevent it.
With 8 in 10 Americans shopping online in 2021, Oklahoma does have some protections with a three-strike system for criminals stealing packages from homes and businesses. In 2020, the Porch Piracy Act was signed into law, enforcing stricter penalties against porch pirates with punishments of up to two years in prison or up to a $5,000 fine. Despite the law, it still largely falls on homeowners to protect their packages from thieves. Taking the proper precautions can prevent theft from occurring. Here are four tips to keep your holiday deliveries safe:
- Consider Shipping Insurance Shipping insurance is sold by postal services, courier companies and shipping insurance companies. Not all insurers will cover all goods. However, if you’re ordering high-value items online, you may purchase shipping insurance to ensure delivery.
- Give Specific Instructions Instead of having deliveries left unsecured at your front door, you can instruct drivers to leave a package at a back door, with a building superintendent, in a coded lockbox or with neighbors. You can also have deliveries placed on hold and request a specific delivery time. Most, but not all, of these services are free.
- Install Security Camera or Doorbell Camera Security cameras or video doorbells can also come in handy. The mere presence of these cameras or smart doorbells may be enough to ward off the potential package thieves. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll at least have evidence for a police report. Bonus: installing these cameras may qualify you for a homeowners insurance discount.
- Sign Up for Tracking Notifications Most carriers offer package tracking services and text or email alerts to know when a delivery will be made so that you can adjust your schedule accordingly. Sign up for text or email notifications to check your delivery status.
Finally, if your package is stolen, here’s what you can do.
- Contact the Seller — File a claim with the seller and ask for a replacement.
- Contact the Shipping Company — File a claim with the postal service that shipped your package. FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL and Amazon have a claim-filing system to help you track down your package.
- Check Your Credit Card — Many credit cards have purchase protection covering lost or stolen items. Make sure you use a credit card to purchase the item.
- File an Insurance Claim — Your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance may cover mail theft. Remember that filing a claim only makes sense for high-value packages worth more than your policy’s deductible.
For more insurance information, please contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov.