May 11, 2023
In 2022, USPS (United States Postal Service) handled a total mail volume of 127.3 billion. With such a large amount of mail, you can easily imagine the possibility of one or more mailpieces getting lost or damaged during delivery.
When customers trust the company to deliver their package, only for the item to become broken or missing, filing a claim is one way for the customers to get compensation.
What is the process for filing a claim to USPS? Who can submit a claim? If you make a claim, how do you provide proof? What do you do after submitting a claim?
This article discusses how to file a claim to USPS, how to provide proof for such claims, and what to do after filing a claim.
FindPostOffice.org’s online post office locator allows you to search for the nearest post office quickly and provides a helpful guide about filing a claim to USPS for lost or damaged packages.
Domestic and International Claims Process: “How Do I Make a Claim to USPS?”
When you send a package within or outside the U.S. that gets damaged or lost, you can file an indemnity claim if your item has insurance coverage. Depending on the USPS service you used, your item’s insurance may already be included or purchased separately. Services with insurance eligibility include:
- Priority Mail Express and other insured mail
- COD (collect on delivery) items
- Registered Mail with insurance
Filing Online and Submitting an Inquiry Online
If you want to file a claim online for packages covered by USPS insurance, visit USPS.com and go to the claims page.
The online claims process lets you upload files required as supporting documentation for a claim. You can save the information concerning the insurance claim for up to three days.
USPS provides the following steps to file a claim online:
- Go to www.USPS.com/domestic-claims.
- Sign in to the online claims site using your USPS account. New users can register for a username and password at www.USPS.com.
- Enter your package’s tracking or label number and shipping date.
- Input the address information and claim details.
- State the reason for filing a claim.
- Provide proof of value, like a purchase receipt, by uploading PDF and JPG files as attachments.
- Enter insurance fees and upload proof of insurance, like a mailing receipt, as a PDF or JPG attachment if required.
- Review your claim information and submit it.
- Keep the proof or evidence of insurance until the Postal Service resolves the claim.
Checking Filing Periods
The filing period for each USPS service depends on your receipt’s mailing date and whether your package arrived damaged.
- Damaged or missing contents: You can file a claim immediately but not later than 60 days after the item’s mailing date.
- Lost mail or package: If your parcel does not arrive, file a claim within a specific period for the service used to send your item.
Gathering Your Documents
Gathering the correct documentation and keeping your evidence documents safe can help get your USPS claim approved quickly. These pieces of evidence include:
- USPS Tracking or label number
- Evidence of purchased insurance
- Proof of value
- Proof of damage
Filing Your Claim
One fast and easy way to file your claim is by submitting it online on USPS.com. If you cannot send it online, you can start a claim process through mail. After you file, keep your evidence documents until USPS completes the claim process.
If you choose online filing, log in to or create your USPS.com account and fill out the claim form. If you cannot complete the filing in one sitting, you can save your progress and finish later. You can see your claim in your account’s claim history after filing.
If you file by mail, you can request that USPS mail you a domestic claim form by calling the USPS National Materials Customer Service and asking for a Domestic Claim PS Form.
After completing the form, mail it with your evidence of insurance and proof of value to the address provided.
Creating an Inquiry for International
If you are submitting a claim for an international shipment, log in to your USPS.com account and complete the online form.
If your claim inquiry is eligible, USPS will notify you via email with the subject “Claim Sent for Review.” The company’s claims department will process your claim, and you will receive an email with the claim results afterward.
Who May File
The mailer (the person sending the mailpiece) or recipient (the individual receiving the mailpiece) are the ones eligible to file a claim for a lost or damaged item.
Who Can File a Domestic Claim?
You can file a claim if you are the mailer or recipient of a domestic package.
Suppose you file an insurance claim for a damaged item already in the addressee’s possession. They must retain the item and container, including the packaging, wrapping, and other contents until USPS fully resolves the claim.
If USPS sends a written request to the addressee, they must hand over the items to a Post Office. USPS will inspect, retain, and dispose of the article according to the claim’s decision.
When to File a Claim
The table below lists the different USPS mail services and their corresponding filing periods:
|Mail service||When to file (from mailing date)|
|No sooner than||No later than|
|Priority Mail Express||7 days||60 days|
|Priority Mail Express COD||15 days||60 days|
|Registered Mail||15 days||60 days|
|Registered COD||15 days||60 days|
|Insured Mail||15 days||60 days|
|COD||15 days||60 days|
|APO (Army/Air Post Office)/FPO (Fleet Post Office) Priority Mail Express Military Service||21 days||180 days|
|APO/FPO/DPO (Diplomatic Post Office) Insured Mail and Registered Mail (Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, and First-Class Package Service)||45 days||1 year|
|APO/FPO/DPO Insured Mail (Surface only)||75 days||1 year|
How to Save an Online Claim Before Submitting
If you have started filling out the online claim form but are not ready to submit it, click “Save Claim” at the bottom of the page. Doing so saves your data so you do not have to reenter information when you decide to complete the form later.
To access your saved claims, go to www.USPS.com/domestic-claims. Sign in using your username and password and click the “Saved Claims” link.
To access a claim, search using the tracking number or claim nickname provided when placing the claim. USPS will delete saved claims not submitted after three days.
After You File – Next Steps
After filing your claim, USPS Accounting Services will determine whether the company will pay the claim partially or whole. USPS can also deny the claim.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects, USPS is taking longer to process claims. The Postal Service asks customers to allow more time for processing claims decisions. You can also log in to your USPS account to check your claim history for updates.
Claim processing times depend on whether your item is lost or damaged. In general, claims for damaged items are processed more quickly than claims for lost mail.
USPS usually performs a missing mail search before processing lost mail claims. This process may explain why such claims take longer.
USPS can approve your claim entirely or in part. You should receive payment upon approval in 7 to 10 business days. USPS will not pay an amount higher than your item’s actual value.
If USPS partially or fully denies your claim, the Postal Service will provide you a decision letter listing the reasons for the denial.
Making an Appeal
If the Postal Service partially pays or entirely denies your refund, you can file an appeal within 30 days of receiving the decision.
When filing your first appeal, submit it the same way you filed your original claim. You could start a claim from your claim history if you submitted it online.
Your appeal should focus on the reasons for your claim’s denial. You can submit new documentation supporting your request.
If USPS denies your appeal, you can submit a second one within 30 days of receiving the appeal denial. Follow the same submission process as your first appeal.
“How Do I Appeal a Denied Domestic Claim?”
When you appeal a denied claim, explain why USPS should consider reviewing your case. Provide supporting documentation like the proof of value, evidence of insurance coverage, and proof of mailing in your appeal to help your case.
For online claims, you can file an appeal within 30 days of the original decision’s date by logging in to your USPS.com account and doing the following:
- Go to your claim history.
- Select the claim to appeal if you have more than one.
- Click “Submit an Appeal.”
If you filed your claim by mail, submit a written appeal within 30 days of the original decision’s date to the following address:
DOMESTIC CLAIMS APPEALS
US POSTAL SERVICES
PO BOX 80141
ST. LOUIS, MO 63180-0141
“If My Claim Is Denied a Second Time, What Is the Next Step?”
If you get denied a second time, consider submitting a final appeal to the Consumer Advocate within 30 days of the second denial’s date.
In your final appeal, explain why USPS should review your case again. Ensure to provide all supporting documents upon submission.
You can file your appeal online or mail it to the following address:
DOMESTIC CLAIMS APPEALS
475 L’ENFANT PLAZA SW
WASHINGTON, DC 20260-2200
“How Do I Check My USPS Claim’s Status?”
If you filed your claim online, you could log in to your USPS.com account to check your claim’s status.
If you have other questions about your claim, email the Accounting Help Desk at HelpDeskAccounting-St.LouisMO@usps.gov. You can also call 866-974-2733, Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM CST (Central Standard Time).
How Long Do USPS Claims Take?
After USPS receives the completed online claim, including all required supporting documents, the Postal Service usually pays the insurance claim within five to seven business days.
Claims for Loss or Damage: Providing Proof
The following sections provide a guide to submitting proof upon filing a claim for insured mail lost or damaged in transit.
Evidence of Insurance
You can use the following items as evidence of insurance:
- Original mailing receipt
- Outer packaging showing the sender’s and recipient’s names and addresses, and the label indicating that the item has insurance
- Printed computer printout or electronic online label record
Proof of Value
The proof of value indicates the item’s cost. The following documents can serve as evidence:
- Sales receipt
- Paid bill of sale or invoice
- Credit card billing statement
- Statement of value or repair cost estimates, or both
- Receipt for costs incurred for the reconstruction of non-negotiable documents
- Online transaction printouts identifying the buyer, seller, price paid, transaction date, item description, and assurance of transaction completion
Proof of Damage or Partial Loss of Contents
Suppose you file a claim for a damaged item. Your recipient must retain that item, the packaging, and the remaining contents as proof of damage or partial loss.
Obtaining photos clearly showing the extent of damage can help your case. You can also provide a repair cost estimate from a reputable dealer.
After photographing the damaged items, do not throw them out or reship the undamaged items. USPS may ask you or your recipient to take the entire package to a local Post Office for inspection.
Receiving Damaged International Shipments
In the case of damaged international packages, you must present the item, packaging, and other contents received in damaged condition or with missing contents to a Post Office for inspection.
After the Post Office staff verifies the damage, they will give you the PS Form 3831, also called “Receipt for Article(s) Damaged in Mails,” for documentation.
If you are the recipient, USPS recommends you contact the foreign sender. Ask them to file an inquiry with the postal administration that mailed the item.
All claims for items lost, delivered in damaged condition, or with missing contents are payable to the sender. The exception to this process is when the sender waives their right to payment, in writing, in the addressee’s favor.
Postage and Insurance Reimbursement: Will USPS Reimburse for Lost Package?
If USPS approves the lost package claim, the claim payment will include the postage reimbursement. However, the Postal Service will not reimburse insurance fees.
Lost Item Recovered After a Claim Has Been Paid, and Reimbursing USPS
Suppose a lost insured mail, Registered Mail, COD, or Priority Mail Express item is recovered and found undamaged after claim payment. The payee can accept the item and reimburse USPS for the amount paid.
If the item has missing contents or has depreciated, the payee can still accept it. They must reimburse USPS in an amount specified by the USPS Headquarters’ Consumer Advocate.
Web Browser Issues
If you encounter difficulties submitting your claim online, try to clear your browser history, cache, and cookies or reconfigure your encryption. You can also check the USPS website support page for troubleshooting information.
If you still experience browser issues after following these steps, email USPS and specify the reason for your inquiry. An agent should respond to your email to assist.
- Size and Scope
- File a USPS Claim: Domestic
- How to File a Domestic Claim
- Domestic Claims – The Basics
- Frequently Asked Questions
- File a USPS Claim: International