Taking out postage insurance

Assalam alaikum

Is it permissible to buy insurance coverage when sending items through post / courier? If we don’t take insurance, the postage or courier company will not take liability to adequately compensate us if they damage or lose the item we’re sending.

From what it seems, if Shariah-based laws were in place, the postage / courier company would be fully liable for any item they undertake to deliver, as it would be considered an amanah. However the law of the land does not work that way. Would this be a consideration in permitting insurance coverage since it can lead to an unfair and undue loss to us, especially if the item we are sending is valuable?

Jazakumullah khayr.

Wa alaykum salaam,

Your description of Amanah is not entirely accurate. The postal company would be an agent to deliver, they would be a wakeel. A Wakeel is in a position of Amanah, which means that he is not liable unless there is a breach of contract, negligence or misconduct. If something happened to the item without any foul play from the agent, you cannot penalise him or hold him liable.

Jazakallahu khayran for correcting my understanding. Really appreciate it.

In this case, would you say that taking postage insurance is impermissible?

A consideration might also be that we wouldn’t know–and the postage/courier company would probably not say–whether the item was lost due to negligence / breach of contract / misconduct or not?

Assalam alaikum @Mufti_Faraz_Adam

I just wanted to clarify whether buying postage insurance would be impermissible? If you could also comment on the consideration above it would be most helpful.

Jazakumullah khayr. Many thanks.

Wa alaykum salaam,

All Islamic Finance standard setting bodies, and the majority of the contemporary scholars are of the view that conventional insurance schemes are not permitted. This is the view I also adhere to and believe is accurate.

If the item is very valuable and there is genuine fear or past experience of items being lost in the post, or there are unusual circumstances like the current pandemic where postal services are stretched and more prone to human error, there maybe scope to consider postal insurance. However, this would need the agreement of a number of scholars and would be case-by-case.

So in summary, I don’t believe it’s permissible generally. But there could potentially be scope if there was a genuine reason which would be reviewed by a number of scholars on case by case basis and given approval.

Hence, I’m not saying this is permissible for you now, I’m saying that there could be scope if a group of scholars felt so in a particular and specific scenario.

Allah knows best