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Tips for providing insurance claim evidence
Tips for providing insurance claim evidence

Understanding what qualifies as sufficient evidence throughout the insurance claim process on Pirate Ship

Updated over a week ago

When it comes to filing insurance claims, providing good evidence is the key to turning a bad shipping situation into a resolution. But what transforms a piece of information into a lifesaver for your claim?

Let’s dive into what makes a piece of evidence “sufficient" so you can help your case and sail your way to a satisfactory claim outcome 🚢

Disclaimer: These recommendations come as a result of our team's years of assisting the insurance claims process with Shipsurance and our carriers. That said, all requests by carriers and third-party insurance providers are at their sole discretion. Pirate Ship merely helps facilitate claim communication and advocates for you in the process, but we do not have a final say on claim requirements or outcomes.

When sending evidence files to Pirate Ship via email or claim form, our team can only accept the following filetypes:

  • PDF

  • PNG & JPEG

  • RTF

  • CSV

  • TXT

  • GIF

  • HEIC

  • MOV

  • WEBP

  • JFIF


An invoice is a very important piece of evidence because it provides a record of the item(s) shipped being sold and for how much. Invoices ideally include proof of the transaction and the related price(s). While some handwritten invoices may be accepted, it’s best if they’re generated through whatever transactional software was used.

If you don’t have an invoice, you may be asked for any pre-shipment correspondence with the other party that discusses the items shipped as well as the agreed-upon price to be paid. Or, you may be asked to provide proof of value for the item(s) shipped (see below).

Note: For filing Shipsurance claims, the transaction/exchange must have taken place within the past 60 days.

Proof of Payment

Proof of payment is important because the insurance company needs to know the scope of the transaction for the item(s) shipped. For instance:

  • What method of payment was used?

  • Has the item even been paid for yet?

  • Is there a screenshot showing that funds were exchanged, such as from PayPal, CashApp, or a bank statement?

  • Does the invoice or receipt list the method of payment?

Sometimes proof of payment can be easily found on the invoice or receipt, particularly for eBay, Shopify, Reverb, and Etsy transactions. Otherwise, screenshots from a payment processor—such as PayPal or CashApp—bank statements, and copies of a canceled check can also work 👍

Keep in mind that for Shipsurance claims, only items that have already been paid for can be claimed. Please see Exclusion E of the Shipsurance Terms and Conditions for more information.

Note: For filing Shipsurance claims, the transaction/exchange must have taken place within the past 60 days.

Proof of Value

Proof of value matters because it establishes the basis for how the insured determined the price for any item(s) shipped. It becomes important when corroborating the declared package value assigned to the shipment, as the two dollar amounts can sometimes vary greatly.

Examples of proof of value can include a variety of documentation, such as:

  • A copy of the original purchase receipt for an item–if something was being resold.

  • An appraisal of the item dated prior to when it was shipped.

  • Comparable sold listings of the item from eBay (usually not the first request and not the standard, but still acceptable in most situations).

Note: For filing Shipsurance claims, the transaction/exchange must have taken place within the past 60 days.

Messages with the Recipient

When it comes to insurance claims, messages between both parties contain a great origin story: how the transaction came to be and the pre-shipment negotiation process that can be extremely useful when determining the parameters/conditions of the agreement.

When providing these messages, dated details containing pre-shipment price negotiations are a great start, especially if there is no invoice and/or proof of value hasn’t been established in any other form. It’s important that the date stamp is visible so it’s made clear that the discussions took place before the item(s) shipped.

If an affidavit needed to be filled out (see below) and the recipient was unresponsive, messages showing that attempts were made by the insured to have this done (and also showing the lack of a response from the recipient) are great screenshots to have.

Keep in mind that insurance companies are only able to accept screenshots of messages, and they don't allow copied/pasted text. The more screenshots you can take, the better 😉

Similarly, phone conversations cannot be accepted as part of the claims process. If you do speak to your recipient on the phone, we recommend following up all phone convos with emails to confirm the details of the discussion.

Describing the Item

For missing package claims, detailed descriptions of the item(s) shipped make it easier to get a better idea of what was in the package. These descriptions also aid the insurance company in instances where a missing package tracer is requested for your claim.

When filing a damaged package claim, descriptions of the damage are helpful to indicate to the insurance company what specific part of an item was damaged, especially if it is made up of multiple parts. This detail also allows our team to assist with locating a repair shop if an estimate is requested for your claim (see below).

Here are some examples of sufficient item descriptions:

  • Brass Blackbeard spyglass was delivered with scratches on the lens and exterior

  • Jolly Roger pirate flag arrived torn in several places and covered in barnacles

  • Treasure map arrived tattered and soaked in seawater, which made the ink smudgy and illegible

Here are some examples of item descriptions that the insurance company may consider too vague:

  • Spyglass scratched

  • Torn flag

  • Gift arrived broken

  • Unreadable treasure map

Damaged Item Photos

Damaged item photos are important because insurance companies need to be able to see the full extent of the damage to the item(s) shipped. These photos also go hand in hand with packaging photos (see below) because, based on how the item(s) were packaged, the insurance company can get an idea about whether or not damage may have occurred during transit or before transit.

A good photo would be a clear, zoomed-out picture that highlights all of the damage done, whether that be to a single item or multiple items. It is important that the insurance company is able to see all the damage to all contents, from a single photo. Of course, damage may not be noticed from one zoomed-out photo, so having zoomed-in pictures is helpful! Still, insurance companies always want to see a photo of the whole damaged item.

Insurance companies typically reject photos that are:

  • Blurry and small, or are zoomed in so heavily that the nature of the photo is unclear

  • Claims that do not provide clear photos of the full item(s) in the shipment

  • Claims in which a recipient refuses to take the item out of the packaging for photographs

Packaging Photos

Packaging photos are an essential part of the claims process and hold a lot of sway as to whether or not a damaged package claim may be approved or denied. Insurance companies need to be able to see how the item(s) were packed, and if the packaging was sufficient to protect the items from the normal rigors of transit.

Reminder: Third-party insurance coverage and carrier liability exist to cover the mishandling of a package in transit 😊 These photos can help prove that any damage done to the item was not the result of insufficient packaging!

External Packaging

These photos should be zoomed out to show the whole exterior of the box/envelope/tube, to provide visibility on any/all damage that the package might have sustained during the course of delivery.

It’s helpful to include a photo of a box’s BMC (Box Manufacturing Certificate) which provides information such as a size limit, a weight limit, and how much weight it is able to withstand per square inch. It can also be helpful to have photos of the label on the package as an additional way of verifying the photos belong to the right shipment.

Insurance companies typically reject:

  • Small, low-quality photos

  • Claims that do not offer a photo of the full exterior packaging in combination with zoomed-in photos of the exact damage

Internal Packaging

These photos should show everything that was used to pack the items - tissue, bubble wrap, foam, packing peanuts, etc. It is helpful to have photos that show the damaged item within the internal packaging in order to get an idea of how it was packaged during transit, but it is also helpful to have all of the packaging laid out on the side to be able to view all materials used.

Insurance companies typically reject:

  • Damaged claims reflecting an item sent with no internal packaging to protect the item(s) from the rigors of transit

  • Pictures of materials that weren’t used for the exact shipment in question

  • Claims in which internal packaging was discarded before evidence photos were taken

What is considered "sufficient" packaging?

For more guidance on what is typically considered sufficient packaging, please reference the specific guidelines below:

Proof of Refund or Replacement

A proof of replacement or proof of refund is not required, but helpful to have, as it gauges how willing a recipient may be to provide more information during the claims process.

In the event of a missing or damaged package, a recipient’s main goal is usually to get a refund or replacement as soon as possible. While we understand the importance of buyer/seller relations, we do recommend that refunds or replacements wait until the claims process is complete. This helps provide a reason for the recipient to remain cooperative with requests for any additional information needed throughout the course of the claim.

Please note your coverage is not voided if you issued a refund or replacement! The claim process just tends to be smoother sailin’ if you wait 😉

Sufficient proof of refund or replacement can come in the form of the following:

  • Screenshots of order or refund summary pages from e-commerce sites like eBay, PayPal, Shopify, Etsy, etc.

  • The tracking number, or a copy/photo of the shipping label for a replacement package

  • Correspondence with the shipper confirming a refund/replacement will be issued


If you’re filing a missing package claim, Shipsurance might request a completed affidavit. This is an electronic form for the package recipient to fill out, to confirm that they didn’t receive the shipment. This process helps Shipsurance verify that the package is genuinely missing and ensures that everyone associated with the shipment agrees on its status to the best of their knowledge.

On some occasions, this may be an evidence requirement for damaged package claims too. This evidence will be requested on a case-by-case basis, and our team will always reach out with an affidavit link when it’s necessary for your claim, which you can send directly to the recipient. You cannot fill out the affidavit yourself unless you sent a package to yourself!

More often than not, Shipsurance is hoping to receive a signature from the package recipient. Our team will always indicate who should fill out the form when we email you the affidavit link. Shipsurance needs the affidavit to be signed from an IP address identical to the destination address on the label. If the package recipient is traveling or has since moved, please let our team know. VPN software commonly causes invalid affidavit signatures, so we recommend disabling any of those apps.

Filling out the affidavit

The affidavit form consists of just a few easy questions & steps:

  • What happened to the package?

    • Indicate if the package is missing, damaged, or if items were missing from the package

  • If Damaged, Is/Are the Item(s) Repairable?

    • Select ‘Not Applicable’ for missing packages. Otherwise, select Yes/No to the best of their knowledge

  • Requested Resolution?

    • Recipients will indicate whether they want a full/partial refund or a replacement. This is for Shipsurance's records only, and they will not provide the claim payment to anyone other than the policyholder. Please work directly with your recipient to discuss resolution options here 👌

  • Recipient’s Full Name & Today’s Date

  • IP Address & Location

    • The recipient should ensure that the city and state reflected here match what was provided on the shipping label

  • Complete the quick reCAPTCHA verification test, and then click the blue Submit Claim Verification button

Repair Estimates

For damaged package claims, Shipsurance may sometimes ask for a repair estimate from an unbiased third party to confirm if a damaged item is genuinely beyond repair. If a repair shop declares the item is totally destroyed, Shipsurance is likely to consider a full invoice reimbursement; however, if the repair shop estimates a specific cost for full repairs, Shipsurance is likely to approve a claim matching those repair expenses.

A repair estimate can be a statement from any of the following kinds of businesses, depending on the nature of the item shipped:

  • Auto repair shops

  • Electronic repair shops

  • Appliance repair services

  • Shoe repair services

  • Upholstery cleaning services

  • Jewelry repair shops

  • Carpet/rug cleaning services

  • Dry cleaners

This list is not exhaustive by any means. Remember: whomever you receive a repair estimate from must be an unbiased third party. For instance, you can't provide your own estimate if you have your own repair business or expertise.

Please keep in mind that this evidence is requested and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Some claims may require multiple estimates. Our team will always let you know when this evidence is necessary, and help guide you in the direction if you’re not sure where to begin!

Note: Like proof of correspondence with your recipient, phone calls are not accepted here. If you do speak to a third party on the phone for a repair estimate, we recommend following up all phone convos with emails to confirm the details of the discussion.

What to provide in a repair estimate

Shipsurance likes to see the following information on a repair estimate:

  • Recent Correspondence

    • Correspondence should come from a verifiable email address or include a company header; screenshots of correspondence should also include a timestamp and date, as well as your name and reference to the specific item & its damage

  • Professional Input

    • Correspondence should clearly state an item cannot be repaired, and the reason why;

    • OR, correspondence should offer details regarding a repair/treatment plan and an estimated cost for any parts or labor that would be charged

  • Business Information

    • Correspondence should include information from a disinterested third party that Shipsurance can verify as a legitimate specialist

Additional Resources

Need some more help navigating the seven seas? Click the blue button to get in touch with our Support Crew via live chat, or send us an email at - we're always here for ya 😃

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