Even if I had to drive 10 hours each way I would go to the distributor to pick the game up. And if I was purchasing a Stern or JJP I would un-box it there before loading, to check the playfield. That way you are there, and if you see pooling and all that you can on the spot demand a refund or open another box to see if that game is ok or not.
I did not used to think like that, but now I do. Just too much money to gamble on a freight company messing up, or a manufacture messing up(and then offering a unpopulated playfield).
BUT, if you want/need it shipped, just make sure to buy plenty of insurance on it, and use a credit card for even more protection.
But if you have the time, make a road trip out of it, save the shipping money and possible hassles, and check the box and game out while you are there.