Ing + McKee

How To Stop Porch Pirates

February 15, 2023

Online shopping is one of the little joys of modern life: A few clicks on your computer or smartphone and, like magic, the package appears at your door a few days later.

Unfortunately, it’s not just shoppers who enjoy the convenience of online ordering. Porch pirates are a growing problem. These criminals swoop in and steal packages from the front porches and doorsteps of the intended recipients.

What to do if your package is missing

If your package is stolen, follow these steps to seek a replacement item or reimbursement.

1. File a police report. If you suspect something has been stolen, call the police. If others in your neighbourhood report similar problems, they may be able to launch an investigation and find the thief.

2. Contact the delivery carrier. Depending on how the package was shipped, you may have protections provided by the carrier.

3. Contact the seller or retailer. Report the missing package to the seller and request a replacement or refund.

4. Check your credit card for purchase protection. Many credit cards offer purchase protection. If the one you used to pay for a stolen purchase does, your credit card company may reimburse you for the value of your loss.

Home insurance coverage

Most renters and homeowners insurance policies cover stolen packages. However, whether or not you have coverage for an incident like this varies greatly. If you have questions about your coverage, the best thing to do is ask your insurance broker.

Home insurance may only be helpful if you’ve made an expensive purchase that’s worth a lot more than your deductible. And even if the lost item is worth more than the deductible, you’ll need to weigh the possibility of an increase in premiums after the claim.

If you’re ordering something very valuable, plan to be home during the delivery window or have a trusted neighbour sign for and hang on to the package for you.

How to prevent package theft

Here are some good ways to deter package thieves:

  • Make it look like you’re home. Package theft (and burglary in general) is less likely if it looks like someone is home. Leave your TV on and use a timer to turn your interior and exterior lights on and off. Draw the curtains or blinds to prevent peekers, and keep your property well-lit.
  • Insure your package. If you’re ordering a high-value item, such as a new smartphone or laptop, paying a few extra dollars for package insurance is a good idea.
  • Install a security camera or video doorbell. Many home security cameras and video cameras are easy to install and sync with a phone app, so you can check in on packages left throughout the day and receive delivery alerts. The mere presence of a camera may help deter porch pirates. But if you are targeted, the camera can provide evidence for a police report or an insurance claim. It may even get you a discount on your home insurance.
  • Use a lockbox. Have packages delivered to a secure third-party recipient, such as Amazon Locker. Local grocery and package delivery stores may also offer this service. For smaller items, you can buy a sturdy lockbox that sits outside and protects your packages until you get home.

If you receive frequent package deliveries, talk to your insurance broker about available options to minimize potential losses and eliminate aggravation.

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