In 2018, there were 13 billion parcels shipped in the U.S. (according to Pitney Bowes). You read that right: BILLION. That’s a lot. What’s more, U.S. consumers were expected to spend a whopping $586 billion on ecommerce in 2019, up 14% from the previous year. And why not? These days, you can have virtually anything delivered straight to your front door. (Including porch pirates.)

Thieves, or Porch pirates, as they’ve come to be known, are targeting neighborhoods from coast to coast in search of loot. That’s YOUR loot. So before you go crazy with online holiday shopping, here are 4 easy tips to help you avoid losing your packages to Scrooge.

1. Require a signature or add delivery instructions

Depending on the value of what’s being shipped, many online shopping sites will require a signature. But even if they don’t, you often can.

Whenever possible, make sure a signature’s required so packages don’t sit — tempting porch pirates — in plain view all day. Typically, you’ll also have the option to leave delivery instructions. Like “leave package behind shrubs” or “leave at the backdoor.” Thieves are less likely to steal it if they don’t know it’s there in the first place.

2. Have packages delivered to your office or neighbor

If you work in an office (and your boss doesn’t mind), you can have packages delivered straight to you at work instead of having them sit on your front stoop all day. You could also have packages delivered to friends or neighbors. Again, assuming they don’t mind.

3. Install cameras or an anti-theft device

Just seeing a camera installed on your driveway or near your front door could be enough to deter a would-be porch pirate. And if it doesn’t, you’ll have video evidence of what happened. Additionally, many companies now offer products specifically designed to protect packages left at your front door. From simple bags that you can attach to your front door to high-tech lock boxes, there are many options on the market to choose from.

4. Have packages delivered to a hub or retail location near you

Many delivery companies now offer the option to have your packages delivered to a secure location where you can then pick them up when it’s convenient. For example, Amazon offers Amazon Hub Lockers, UPS offers their Access Point locations, and with FedEx, you can often ship packages to a retail location near you. Sure, maybe it’s not quite as convenient to have to pick up your packages. But at least you can rest easy knowing they’ll be there when you arrive. And you’ll also avoid all the hassle of potentially having to track down and report any missing packages.

Does insurance cover stolen packages?

Most homeowners insurance policies will cover personal property. So if porch pirates nabs a stack of packages off your porch, you could file a claim to help recover your losses. But if you go this route, you’ll need to pay your deductible before your insurance kicks in. So depending on the cost of your deductible and the cost of your lost packages, it may not always be worth it.

Avoid porch pirates

Like so many modern conveniences, online shopping comes with a few potential perils. But with just a bit of foresight and planning, you can stop porch pirates in their tracks. And maybe even think of yourself as a modern day privateer (the good kind, of course).

Safe and smart | Home safety


about Heidi

Heidi brings 11 years’ experience to her role as Esurance’s copywriting manager. Writer, editor, and all around wordsy, she was content when content wasn’t cool. Also, she likes old-school country.