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I'm repatriating from the U.S. to Canada. My apartment is ending my lease on the day I fly out, then I'll be staying in a hotel for a while before moving to permanent housing.

I have some antiques that I'm planning on taking in my carry-on. It seems like all travel insurance is pretty limited in what it will cover. I don't think my homeowners insurance will cover me outside of my current apartment.

Is there a way for me to insure my items in case of airport theft?

(Secondary question: My other option is to ship the items to relatives who can drive them across the border, but they might have to pay duty and I won't. In this case I think the shipping company would reimburse any loss - is that correct?)

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  • What if you ship them to someone in Canada?
    – RonJohn
    Dec 24 '20 at 20:57
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    This sounds like a job for a proper moving company, whose fee would include storage of the item in Canada until you can reclaim it.
    – chepner
    Dec 24 '20 at 21:43
  • @RonJohn They would have to pay duty and then I would have to dispute it. I also think this increases the probability of losing the items due to package theft - given the choice between better insurance and better chance of the items arriving safely, I'd pick the second. This isn't an issue in the US because I could have them shipped to a work address. Dec 24 '20 at 21:47
  • @chepner My moving company won't move antiques. I could look into a second one. Dec 24 '20 at 21:48
  • "(between permanent residences)" this is misleading, since you don't yet have a permanent Canadian residence.
    – RonJohn
    Dec 24 '20 at 22:03
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I assume that if you can take these antiques in your carry-on when you fly to Canada then they are reasonably small. If so, you can buy USPS insurance for up to $5,000 to protect against loss or damage. You can view the cost of the insurance here.

There are also provisions for Special Handling for fragile shipments including unusual items like bees, animals, cremated remains, and perishables.

The recipient must provide appropriate identification.

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  • B, are you saying to not fly with them but rather just send them by USPS (and use their insurance??) (Or do you mean, there's some sort of insurance one can buy from USPS, when one is carrying something??) Merry Xmas all ...
    – Fattie
    Dec 25 '20 at 14:51
  • @Fattie - The USPS only insures items that it delivers. Shipping insurance is available from other sources but I have no first hand knowledge of them. Dec 25 '20 at 15:01
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You are correct the basic insurance that an US customer has won't cover the act of moving your possessions between homes.

The basic insurance that a moving company offers is based on weight, which makes it a terrible option for valuable items because if they lose/break a 5 lb antique, the amount they reimburse will be the same as if they lose 5 lbs of t-shirts. They do have other policies that might make more sense.

Your issue is made even more difficult because of the border crossing making the insurance even more complex, and your concern about duty. You will have to address the duty issue regardless of the method of the item crossing the border. A shipper will have to know how to handle the paperwork, and you will have to declare it.

For the insurance issue, talk to an independent insurance broker/agent, they may have more options available to offer you. Since you will need coverage for a while in Canada, you might start with an insurance company there.

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