Insure exhibits when shipping to avoid loss due to damageThere are hundreds of things that can go wrong when you exhibit at a trade show, but perhaps the one that can make you feel the most helpless is when something goes wrong with your booth in transit. When you put your crate onto a trailer or hand that parcel to your FedEx or UPS driver, you trust that it will end up where and when you expect to use it. Every so often though, the crate or package does not arrive. How can you protect your investment if the worst is to happen?

The first step is always to check with your business insurance agent. If you ship things frequently, there may be an endorsement you can add to your business policy to protect items while in transit, or your agent may be able to sell you a separate policy that covers freight. Keep in mind that most policies you own will not cover theft if the item is not in your “care custody and control;” in other words, if it’s on a truck that is owned by a shipping company. However, if your item is damaged in transit, it is a good idea to have it covered on your end. Disclaimer: This article contains some basic information gathered from our business partners. You should always check details with your own vendors and partners before purchasing insurance.

Get insurance for your trade show display shipment to avoid theft lossTo ensure maximum protection for your items in transit, we recommend buying insurance from your freight company every time you ship. Generally you will pay a certain dollar amount per $100 of declared value. If there is a loss, it is important to have all your paperwork in order so that you can prove how much you paid for your items, what the items are constructed of, and how long you have owned them. If you have more than one crate or package, you need to specify the value of each if they are different.

If you are using a parcel service, like UPS or Fed Ex, they will reimburse $100 for each package if you do not buy insurance. So if you are shipping an item that is worth more than $100, you should buy insurance from the parcel service or be prepared to accept the loss if the item is missing or damaged.

I interviewed our freight company sales representative and she told me that only about 1% of her trade show clients insure their freight. We can understand that; it is a bit complicated to document the value of an exhibit, and it is quite rare that something gets stolen, lost, or damaged in transit. However, we had a first-hand experience lately of an entire trailer of trade show freight being stolen! It would cost the companies involved over $100,000 to replace all the items in the trailer, and, without insurance, that is a big loss for anyone. As my insurance agent likes to say, “It’s not very often that your house burns down, but that’s no reason not to buy homeowner’s insurance.” At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you understand the risk you are taking, and are not caught off-guard if something goes wrong.

In regards to portable exhibits, as you see here on Displays by Area Exhibits, you should treat each item with the same level of importance. Though the example above was a cost of $100,000 for the loss, your portable exhibit is just as important to you and your marketing success. Replacing a $500 or $2000 display can be equally as painful to your bottom line when you consider all the costs of exhibiting and the tight timelines for transporting to your next event.

Certainly a damaged or lost shipment doesn't solve your immediate needs if you are standing on the show floor waiting for an exhibit that isn't going to arrive or isn't functional. But, for your future events, you should have a plan in place to cover that loss so you can get back to successful trade show marketing.

We hope this information assists your planning for your shows in 2018 and beyond. Contact us if you have any questions, or to let us know how we can help.