The Truth About Insuring Hatching Eggs

By Poultry Friend · May 17, 2013 · Updated Mar 30, 2014 · ·
  1. Poultry Friend
    Read my new article "Packing Eggs So They Can Be Insured" here:

    I recently decided to take the plunge and get some hatching eggs via mail. My first package arrived no issues, so I bought some from the same person. I checked the tracking number over and over, but after the second day, it was never scanned again.

    I was heartbroken. My poor eggs! Because they were not insured there was nothing to be done. The wonderful seller sent me more eggs for the cost of shipping, but she could have sold those, so she is out that money. I mentioned to a chicken group that everyone should insure their eggs and the responses I got were many!

    So many that I called the USPS and talked to the source. I made sure to ask every question I could think of. If I missed one, let me know!

    • The Postal Service does not insure eggs.- FALSE

    So, what is the deal? I asked my Post Office and they said they didn't!

    Short answer? Most people have NO clue about most things unless they do it everyday. You cannot trust that the local employee will know all the regulations. You need to know and understand your rights and be able to politely point them toward that information. Regardless, your claim will be handled by a department that does know that they insure hatching eggs, so no worries!

    • They do not insure eggs, so if you put 'Eggs' on the box, your claim will be denied- FALSE

    Nope! In fact, you want to put 'LIVE ANIMALS- EGGS' on the box. This will make sure they do not x-ray the package and that it does not go through with the normal mail and be mishandled.

    • They require proof of value, and it has to be from a retail store, like a receipt. - FALSE

    Proof of value IS required, BUT it does not have to be a from a retail store OR even be a receipt!

    Look below to see that counts as proof of value.

    • They will not cover air cell detachment. - FALSE

    Actually, they do! It is considered damage.

    Look below to see how to file a claim resulting from air cell detachment.

    • They will only cover them if they are lost.- FALSE

    Nope! They cover damage as well, as long as they are properly packed.

    I can hear you already- "But who is to say what is 'properly packed'?"

    Well, if they are thrown in loose with packing peanuts, or just in an egg carton, that will not work. There are many articles on how to properly wrap hatching eggs. It can be hard to tactfully ask how the seller packs their eggs, but you need to ask. Refer them to a good article.

    Look below for some pointers on what they will look for in a properly packed box.

    • They will only give you what they think the eggs are worth. - FALSE

    Happy to say, this is not true! They will give you what you paid!

    HOLD IT! I got my eggs in a swap!

    Calm down, calm down. Deep breath. They will cover the cost of the replacement eggs!

    Look below to see how to file a claim for eggs received or lost via a swap.

    Step-by-step Guide on How to Insure Hatching Eggs
    1. Have the seller wrap them properly. Some hints here: Wrap each egg in bubble wrap. Place them in rolls to keep the air cell up to help prevent air cell detachment. Pack them in one box so they do not move and then place that small box in another one and place more packing between those two boxes. In depth information can be found here:
    2. Pay an extra $1.50-$3 and have the seller insure them. Depending on the value of the eggs insurance will run you $1.50 (for $50 replacement value) and up. If you are paying for rare breeds that are worth $30-$100 (or more) it is worth it!
    3. Have the seller ship them at least Priority Mail. If they are shipped Parcel Post, they will not be covered. Parcel Post is a 10 day shipping and hatching eggs will not remain viable (or as viable) that long, so if they eggs were already 3 days old and it takes them 10 days to get there and when you candle them they are infertile, you cannot file a claim. If they are sent Priority and they take 10 days, you can file a claim and get replacements.
    4. Have the seller write LIVE ANIMALS- EGGS or LIVE EMBRYOS on the box. The Postal Service will not X-Ray live animals. If you only write 'Eggs' they will assume they are 'just eggs' and will throw them in with the normal mail. You MUST write LIVE! Write it in multiple places and often. I recomend the term 'Embryos' as people will treat them better than 'Eggs'.

    How to File a Claim for Damaged Eggs
    1. As soon as you open the box and see that they are damaged contact the post office. For some claims they need verification of damage. Verification of damage has to be by a USPS employee. You can get this by driving to the post office and talking to the manager OR you can call them and have your mail carrier view it. This needs to be done ASAP. You cannot wait a week or a month.
    2. Call 1-866-974-2733 and file a claim. They will give you a claim number. Write this down.
    3. You will receive a form. Make sure to mark #11 (Animals).
    4. Send in Proof of Value. See Below.

    How to File a Claim for Lost Eggs
    1. Call
      1-866-974-2733 and file a claim. They will give you a claim number. Write this down.
    2. You will receive a form. Make sure to mark #11 (Animals).
    3. Send in Proof of Value. See Below.

    How to File a Claim for Detached Air Cells

    1. Candle your eggs as soon as you get them! If you see that they have detached air cells (I would say over 10% of eggs) go to your local post office. Take your candler and an egg that does not have the air cell detached. You will need to speak with the manager and explain that hatching eggs are damaged if the air cell is detached. Explain to them that you are seeking Verification of Damage for your insurance claim and you need them to verify that the air cells are detached. Ask to use the office and show them how the normal egg looks vs the detached eggs. Have them note the number of eggs.
    2. Call 1-866-974-2733 and file a claim. They will give you a claim number. Write this down.
    3. You will receive a form. Make sure to mark #11 (Animals).
    4. Send in Proof of Value. See Below.

    How to File a Claim for Eggs in a Swap
    1. File the same as lost eggs. You do not have to mention you received them in a swap, you only have to have the sender send you an invoice for the cost of replacement eggs.

    What Works for Proof of Value?
    1. Your bank statement showing name of person or farm and amount paid.
    2. Canceled check. You can black out all the important info like your bank number, ect.
    3. Paypal receipt.
    4. Invoice from the seller. This only needs to be a signed statement like " Joy Walsh agrees to pay Happy Farms $70 + $15 for shipping for 12 Lavender Orp Hatching eggs. (signed by seller)"
    5. Credit Card receipt. (In most cases Credit Card statements will NOT work. They do not list the seller only amounts)

    My Claim Got Denied. What Now?
    1. Most claims are denied due to lack of information on form. You will get a letter stating what they need. Respond right away! If they do not hear from you in 30 days, your claim will be denied!
    2. Your claim will be denied if your value was over $200 and you do not have Verification of Damage. Respond with Verification of Damage RIGHT AWAY! If they do not hear from you within 30 days, your claim will be denied.

    FOR ANY ADDITIONAL INFO CALL: Financial Claims- 1-866-974-2733

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  1. RaptorSilkies
    Thanks for finding out and sharing!
  2. katsalsa
    Oh, sorry about that. It blended in with all the ads from my desktop, but I got it. Thank you. I did get some additional info today about making the box with "live animals" and "special handling" which should also help in the future.
  3. Poultry Friend
    Katsalsa- I am sorry for your experience. The number I called to get all this info is clearly listed at the bottom of the article in bold. Hope that helps.
  4. katsalsa
    I am currently on hold with USPS trying to obtain information. I had a horrible experience (with my otherwise not so awesome mail delivery personell) receiving eggs yesterday. The box is clearly marked 'fragile this side up', 'live eggs' and 'hold for pickup' ALL OVER so I was shocked to come home yesterday to find a box of frozen eggs laying upside down on my porch. :( All aircells are detached or saddle shaped. When I called the office manager today he said you can put 'this side up' all ocer a box and it doesn't matter bc they still go through sort machines and blah blah blah. He did admit the 'hold for pickup' was a blatent miss on their part and advised me to file a claim, which I have. He told me he is not familiar with how to ship live eggs and asked that I look it up online, I've been scouring the USPS website all morning and haven't found a thing about shipping eggs. Do you have a link or a contact person who can vouch for the information you've given? I'm finally talking to someone now, but seem to be striking out...
  5. Poultry Friend
    No. You need to send it at least Priority, 2-Day Priority is best, and it needs to say "LIVE- Hatching Eggs" or "LIVE EMBRYOS" and DO NOT X-RAY. By putting "LIVE" on it you make sure it is hand carried and not put on the machines where it can be harmed and x-rayed. I write "DO NOT X-RAY LIVE EMBRYOS" On every single side and the top and draw arrows pointing up everywhere. The main reason a claim can be turned down is poor packing. Better to over pack. Pack them how you would want eggs coming to you to be packed.
  6. lizanne
    Quick question. Does the box HAVE to be marked fragile in order to be able to file a damage (broken egg) claim?
  7. Tuhmu
    A very interesting article! There's a lot of mixed info out there, so it gets confusing at times.
  8. Poultry Friend
    So glad it helped you! Let us know what happens!
  9. familypendragon
    After reading this very helpful article I have my first batch of smashed shipped eggs arrive. I was able to go online and submit my claim with photos and receipts and my claim was approved! Waiting to see what happens next - if a check eventually shows up in the mail or what? Thanks so much for the advice!
  10. Poultry Friend
    I have not had to file yet, although if the one shipment I got that stated this all had been insured, I would have, since it got lost. The biggest issue I have had so far is Postal workers (and their supervisors) not having any clue about the rules and making shipping the eggs rather hard. I will be adding more to this that talks about what to do in those situations.
  11. lizanne
    Thanks for this. Have you filed any claims on eggs yet? If so, how long did the process take?
  12. Daloorashens
    Very interesting, thanks for posting!
  13. SusanRenee
    Well written, thank you! If more PO's get claims like this, maybe handling will improve.
  14. Poultry Friend
    Thanks! Everyone seemed so confused with this subject I decided to clear up the confusion. Glad you enjoyed it. :)
  15. Brookhavens
    Great Information!!!

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