Home Insurance and Package Theft: 7 Tips To Keep Porch Pirates Away

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Around 113 million packages were stolen within the last 12 months according to a 2023 Safewise survey. While homeowners insurance can cover package theft, requesting a replacement or refund through the retailer or shipper may be a better solution if the package value is on the lower side.

Keep reading to learn more about porch pirates plus tips for protecting your home against theft.

Key Takeaways

  • Porch pirates are unscrupulous thieves that steal packages sitting at your doorstep.
  • A 2023 Safewise survey found that around 113 million packages were stolen within the last 12 months, with most packages being stolen during the morning or afternoon.
  • You can help prevent package theft by signing up for shipping notifications, installing a doorbell camera and shipping to a secure location.
  • If you’re unable to locate your package, you may be able to get refunded through the retailer, the shipping courier or by disputing the charge if you paid with a credit card.
  • If the value of the package greatly exceeds your deductible, you may want to file a homeowners insurance claim.

What Is a Porch Pirate?

Porch pirates are unscrupulous thieves who steal packages from other people’s doorsteps. Some porch pirates will simply walk up, pick up the package and walk away. Others may have a partner in crime — one grabs the package and the other drives the getaway car.

Is Porch Piracy a Crime?

Porch piracy is a crime in several states and the legal consequences depend on the stolen property’s value. For example, in Arkansas, stealing a package worth $1,001 to $5,000 from another person’s doorstep is considered a Class D felony punishable by jail time for up to six years.[1][2] In Washington, a person has to steal at least 10 separate pieces of mail from at least three addresses before they can be charged with a class C felony punishable by fines and confinement in a correctional facility for up to five years.[3][4]

How Often Are Packages Stolen from Porches?

A 2023 Safewise survey found that over the last year, about 113 million packages were stolen and that 76% of Americans had a package stolen from their home within the past 12 months.[5]

Package theft frequency can vary by location. Listed below are the worst metros for package theft in 2023 and if you live in any of these areas, be extra vigilant about protecting your packages:[5]

  1. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  2. Memphis, MS-TN-AR
  3. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA
  4. Brimingham-Hoover, AL
  5. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
  6. Richmond, VA
  7. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX
  8. Greenville-Anderson, SC
  9. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI
  10. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

Which Packages Do Porch Pirates Target the Most?

Looking at package theft in relation to shipping couriers, most stolen packages were delivered by Amazon (56%), followed by FedEx (25%), USPS (24%) and UPS (23%).[5]

When Do Porch Pirates Typically Steal?

According to a 2021 report by Vivint, a smart home security company, 89% of package theft occurred in the morning or afternoon, likely because residents are at school or work. Meanwhile, 45% of packages were stolen during the evening or night.[6]

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Package Theft?

Theft is a covered peril in a standard homeowners insurance policy and this coverage can extend to packages stolen from your doorstep. Your homeowners insurance policy may also include off-premise coverage, which can insure packages stolen while inside your car.[7]

What Should You Do If You’re a Victim of Porch Piracy?

If you’re confident somebody stole your package, then you should report it to the police. If you have footage showing the package theft, submit it to the officer. Your incident may be one in a series of package thefts and your documentation can help the authorities find the thief.[8]

Next, you should take steps to request a replacement or refund from the retailer. If the package was high-value and exceeds your deductible considerably, you may want to file a homeowners insurance claim.

Tips To Keep Your Home Safe From Porch Pirates

Your orders were bought with your hard-earned money — don’t let porch pirates ruin the fruits of your labor. Use the tips below to stop porch pirates from stealing your packages.

7 tips to protect against package theft

1. Install a Security Camera

Security cameras serve two useful functions: First, they act as deterrents to package theft. Second, security cameras can document porch pirates stealing your package. This footage will be useful when reporting the crime to the police and filing a claim — whether it's with the retailer, shipping company or your home insurance provider.

Savings tip: Installing security devices, like doorbell cameras, may qualify you for a smart home discount.

2. Pay for Extra Shipping Protection

With most shipping companies, you can purchase extra protection to ensure your package gets to you safely. For example, USPS charges extra for package insurance or signature confirmation, which requires the delivery person to obtain a signature from the recipient before releasing the package.[9]

3. Sign Up for Delivery Management

Some shipping companies, like FedEx and UPS, allow consumers to sign up for their delivery management program for free. With UPS My Choice, customers can specify where on their porch to deliver the package or request for the package to be delivered to a neighbor. Some services incur a charge, such as scheduling your package to arrive on a different day or getting a two-hour delivery time window.[10]

4. Get a Delivery Drop Box

You can buy a delivery drop box so that the shipping courier can deposit your package in the drop box instead of leaving it exposed at your doorstep. This both hides your packages from plain view after being delivered and secures them. The added step of having to break into the lockbox that could possibly be empty can be a deterrent to package thieves. Just remember to mention your delivery lockbox in your order’s delivery instructions.

5. Sign Up for Shipping Notifications

Most major shipping companies allow consumers to opt into mobile and email notifications on their delivery status. This will keep you updated on your package’s journey to your doorstep. Instructions for enabling notifications are usually found on the tracking number page.

6. Rally Your Neighbors

If somebody stole your package, then your neighbors will likely be just as vulnerable. Rally the neighbors and agree to keep an eye on porch pirates cruising through the neighborhood. Consider exchanging numbers with a trusted neighbor and ask them to pick up your package if you’re not home.

7. Ship to a Secure Location

If you live in a neighborhood vulnerable to package theft, consider shipping your order to a safer location, like your workplace, a family member who lives in a gated community or a friend who works from home. Amazon customers may have the option to ship their orders to an Amazon Locker, which will sometimes require the recipient to input a code to retrieve their package.[11]

How To File a Claim for Package Theft

If your order fell into the hands of package thieves, follow these steps to either find your package or arrange a replacement or refund.

Step 1: Track the Package

Start by confirming that your package was delivered. After placing your order, the retailer should have sent you a tracking number that you can input on the shipping carrier’s website. You may discover that your package was scheduled to arrive but was actually delayed.

If your tracking information confirms delivery, move on to step two.

Step 2: Look Around

Sometimes, your delivery person will leave your package in an inconspicuous location, such as in a bush, behind porch decor or even in your backyard. Small packages delivered by the U.S. Postal Service may actually be waiting for you in your mailbox. Also, check with your neighbors, as the courier may have accidentally delivered it to them instead.

If your search is fruitless, look for a notice of attempted delivery. A notice will indicate the status of your package, such as:

  • Delivery will be re-attempted the following business day.
  • Your package is available for pick-up at a specified address.
  • Your package is being returned to the sender.

Keep in mind that your package may still be en route despite your tracking number confirming delivery. Amazon has even specified that some orders may be accidentally marked as delivered up to 48 hours before arrival.[12]

If you have a security camera, check your footage. You can at least verify if the package was delivered — and if a porch pirate did pilfer your package, you have proof you can submit to a police officer or in a reimbursement claim.

Step 3: Contact the Retailer

Contact the retailer if you can’t find your package. Depending on their policy, the retailer may send you a replacement or even issue you a full refund. However, this is not always guaranteed. After all, the retailer did their job getting the package to your doorstep — they have no control over what time you will be home so you can accept the package.

Step 4: File a Claim With the Shipping Company

If you’re unable to fulfill your order through the retailer, you can attempt to get reimbursed by the shipping company. You will need to file a claim online or contact their customer service line:


Phone Number

Start Claim Electronically



File a claim



File a claim



File a claim



File a claim

If your claim is approved, the shipping company will provide instructions for reimbursing you. UPS, for example, will require you to complete documentation that shows your bank information and order details. Alternatively, you may request a check via postal mail.[13]

Step 5: Dispute the Charge With Your Credit Card Company

Credit cards come with several consumer protections and if you didn’t receive an item you ordered, you can attempt to dispute the charge if the retailer and shipping courier were unable to assist you. However, there is a timeframe for when you must dispute the charge so you should do so as soon as possible.[14]

Step 6: File a Homeowners Insurance Claim for High-Value Packages

If you ordered an item and its value greatly exceeds your deductible, you should consider filing a home insurance claim. Most home insurance deductibles are $1,000 on average so if your order was perhaps around $1,500 and up, then filing a claim may be a good option for getting your money back.[15]

However, consumers should note that premiums can increase after filing an insurance claim.

According to Safewise, nearly all packages stolen had a value of $500 or less.[5] In these cases, the homeowner is probably better off not filing a home insurance claim and risking a rate increase.

Start Shopping for Homeowners Insurance


Should I confront a porch pirate while in the act?

Porch pirates may be dangerous so it would be safer to gather video footage of their face and license plate and submit it to the police. Prevention is often the best remedy — installing cameras and motion-sensor lights can help deter porch pirates.

Who is responsible if a porch pirate steals your package?

Even if a shipping courier provided proof of delivery, it may be possible to work with the retailer or shipping courier to get your order refunded or dispute the charge if you paid with a credit card.

Are all packages insured from porch pirates?

No, not all packages are insured from porch pirates but some shipping couriers may charge for extra services, such as insuring your package or requiring a signature on delivery.

What type of home security is best to deter porch pirates?

Doorbell cameras, motion-sensor lighting on your front porch, signing up for professional security and displaying a sign that you have this service are examples of good deterrents to porch piracy.


  1. Casetext. “Ark. Code § 5-36-103.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  2. Justia. “2020 Arkansas Code Title 5.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  3. Washington State Legislature. “RCW 9A.56.370.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  4. Washington State Legislature. “Chapter 9A.20 RCW.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  5. SafeWise. “Worst Metro Cities for Package Theft for 2024.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  6. Vivint. “Porch Pirates in the Height of Home Deliveries.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  7. NW Insurance Council. “Porch Pirates!” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  8. SafeWise. “What To Do If You Have a Lost or Stolen Package.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  9. USPS. “What is Signature Confirmation™?” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  10. UPS. “View All Shipments With UPS My Choice®.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  11. Amazon. “Ship to an Amazon Pickup Location.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  12. Amazon. “Find a Missing Package That Shows as Delivered.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  13. UPS. “File a UPS Claim.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  14. Experian. “How Long Do I Have To Dispute Credit Card Charges?” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.
  15. Liberty Mutual. “Home Insurance Deductibles: Frequently Asked Questions.” Accessed Dec. 18, 2023.

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