Shipping high-value items overseas: Tips and insurance

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Navigating the waters of shipping high-value items internationally can be tricky. For business owners trading in prized goods, such as limited-edition luxury items like the coveted Hermes bag, the stakes soar when a replacement isn't always readily available. The challenge isn't just about how to ship your product in a way that best aligns with your brand image; it's also about ensuring the items remain damage-free during transit. This makes selecting a reliable courier in Singapore and understanding the intricacies of how to prepare for international shipping critical. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the dos and don’ts so you can ensure your expensive items make their journey securely and impeccably.

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How to pack high-value items for shipping

Shipping high-value items internationally means your parcel will journey through a maze of transport mediums, from planes and trucks to sorting centres and warehouses. Given the many hands and processes it will encounter, the risks of damage are amplified. Proper packaging, thus, becomes crucial, and here are some considerations to factor in:

1. Picking the right packaging material

Selecting the right packaging is a pivotal step. With couriers like DHL Express, you're offered an extensive array of options tailored for expensive items. How you can determine the best packaging for your goods is to first analyse its size, weight, and shape. This will help you decide on the packaging material.

When shipping fragile items of high-value, cardboard boxes with double-wall or tri-wall constructions are recommended. Meanwhile, heavier shipments demand sturdier packaging solutions. For instance, a double-layered box or even a plastic packing crate is ideal when you ship items like guitars or other instruments.

As a rule of thumb, high-quality corrugated cardboard boxes should be your default go-to. You can determine the box’s construction and stamp by referring to the manufacturer’s stamp or checking with your box supplier. Additionally, avoid reusing old boxes as they lose rigidity over time.

2. Packing techniques

Once you've zeroed in on the perfect packaging material, the next crucial step involves buying protective materials and learning how to pack your goods to safeguard against threats during transit. Here’s a checklist to help you out:

Wrap loose items:

Products without robust manufacturing packaging should be meticulously wrapped. When shipping a PC or laptop overseas, line the interior of your product box with additional foam lining. Different components of your electronics shipment should also have separate packaging. This not only aids in part identification but also assures all components are safely dispatched. To ship multiple items in one package, use corrugated inserts or dividers to prevent damage during transit.

Meanwhile, expensive watches and jewellery should be encased in a protective bubble wrap before being stored in individual containers. For soft, high-value items, such as luxury designer bags, it is recommended that you place them in a cloth bag before packing in an inner shipping box and then an outer shipping box.

Avoiding empty space:

You will also want to fill the gaps within boxes with void fillers like bubble wrap or foam pallets to prevent your items from colliding and to keep the box from collapsing. After that, place your high-value items centrally and maintain a minimum gap of 6 cm from the box's walls or corners.


Packaging Function

Type of Material


Void Fill



Other Function

Bubble Wrap


Small Cell ¼ inch

Suitable for lightweight items



Large Cell ½ inch

Suitable for medium-weight products



Foam Wrap


Foam Peanuts/ Pallets



Air Bags



Crumpled Paper



Corrugated Inserts



Shredded Cardboard


Shock absorption

Labelling and precautions

As an extra precaution, enhance the outer shipping box’s edge protection with additional tape or bumpers. It is also advised that you opt for discreet packaging to avoid becoming an easy target for bad actors. Plain packaging is preferred, but black packaging materials should be avoided as the automated sorting machines may not recognise your parcel, which could result in potential shipment delays or returns.

As a final check, ensure that you have labelled your high-value shipments properly as follows:

  • Fragile stickers: An easily visible "fragile" sticker informs couriers of the care needed. Position this on the box's top for utmost clarity.
  • Directional labels: For items sensitive to orientation, use upward arrow stickers to show how they should be moved or stored.
  • Keep dry label: For water-sensitive items like paintings, label with a keep dry sticker to ensure that your shipment is protected from excessive humidity and stored under cover.
  • Pre-collection labelling: Remember, any special handling instructions should be set before the courier's arrival.

Shipping insurance 

Following the importance of precise packaging, ensuring your high-value items have comprehensive shipping insurance is equally pivotal, especially in high-risk zones. Insurance policies vary among carriers, but a few, such as DHL Express, extend coverage for many international destinations, including perceived high-risk zones.

This can be valuable, especially for expensive goods, as events like shipment delays and damages can tarnish consumer loyalty. But with shipping insurance as your shield, you can preserve your brand reputation and receive adequate coverage for losses. As a bonus, if your logistics service provider has an efficient claims process, it also empowers you to swiftly address shipping issues and deliver a smoother customer experience.

Reached the threshold?

Reached the threshold?

If the value of your shipment either surpasses or reaches the threshold, we strongly advise you to contact us so that we can offer you appropriate assistance and guidance.

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Tracking your shipments

According to the Verte 2022 survey, 91% of consumers consistently monitor their shipments, with 70% favouring independent tracking over assistance during delivery delays. This data underscores the significance of robust last-mile tracking systems for an effective international business strategy. As such, partnering with couriers that offer real-time tracking is a worthy consideration. It not only offers you peace of mind when shipping high-value items, but also enhances your long-term customer retention efforts

Manage international shipping confidently with DHL Express

Shipping high-value items across borders brings with it both opportunities and challenges. However, with a grasp of international shipping requirements and the support of a seasoned logistics partner like DHL Express Singapore, the challenges can be mitigated, ensuring a seamless experience for you and your customers. Set up a business account with DHL Express today to explore how our services can bring synergy to your operations.