May 4, 2023
Losing mail or receiving damaged items can be a major hassle and a source of frustration. Fortunately, the United States Postal Service (USPS) offers insurance for some of its services.
Do you plan to send mail through USPS? If so, you might be asking the following questions:
- What items are covered under USPS insurance, and how can you buy and use these coverages? Do these insurances cover fragile items?
- What is the claim process for lost or damaged items? Also, what documents should I submit when claiming payment?
- How much does USPS insurance cost?
Whether you’re a business owner sending a parcel to a customer or just a regular individual who wants to ship an item to a friend or family member, know that you can replace lost or damaged items with postal insurance if you buy insurance together with your chosen service.
Suppose you’re looking for information about postal insurance. In that case, you can ask your local post office by visiting FindPostOffice.org.
This website is a free online search tool to help you locate the 31,330 post offices in the United States.
Understanding Shipping Insurance
USPS offers shipping insurance up to $5,000 to protect clients’ packages from potential damage or loss. The fee varies depending on the item’s declared value (more on this below).
What Is Insurance?
Insurance provides coverage for lost or damaged merchandise or missing contents of mail that are in the care of the United States Postal Service.
However, note that coverage for the Registered Mail has a maximum liability of $50,000.
Meanwhile, customers can buy insurance at a local post office or online. Online labels feature USPS Tracking so users can monitor their delivery status.
What Insurance Does Not Provide
Remember that insurance does not include expedited delivery and guaranteed delivery time.
Insurance May Only Be Purchased at One Source for Each Insured Mailpiece: Some Examples
You cannot supplement online insurance with insurance purchased at a post office or self-service kiosk.
At the same time, you can’t supplement insurance purchased at a self-service kiosk with insurance purchased online or at a local post office.
Insurance May Be Combined With These Products
You can partner your insurance coverage with the following products:
- Return Receipt (for policies over $500, Form 3811 only)
- Signature Confirmation and Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery (for insurance values less than or equal to $500)
- Adult Signature Required and Adult Signature Restricted Delivery (excludes retail)
- Hold for Pickup
- USPS Tracking
- Restricted Delivery
Insurance Restricted Delivery offers all the services that insurance provides. Moreover, customers who sign up for the Insurance Restricted Delivery service can only have mail insured for more than $500 to the addressee (or addressee’s representative).
“Do I Need Shipping Insurance?”
When buying insurance, a few extra safeguards are available for additional protection, such as the following:
- Signature Confirmation: This service lets you track the delivery of an item and the attempts to deliver it. You can request this delivery method via USPS electronically or via email.
- Collect on Delivery: COD enables customers to pay for the order when they receive it.
At the same time, you can get insurance coverage up to $1,000 depending on the collected amount or the selected insurance product (whichever is higher).
- Return Receipt: This option provides an electronic or hardcopy receipt with the recipient’s signature.
Why Purchase Shipping Insurance?
Shipping mishaps occur regardless of the carrier. The USPS process and ships thousands of mail and packages daily, so it’s likely that items could get lost or damaged.
Insurance can help safeguard you from financial risks due to these unfortunate events.
For example, suppose you’re a seller facing shipment problems, such as a damaged or missing package. In that case, your priority is to help your customer.
Performing this task well affects business reputation, ratings, and repeat orders. Shipping insurance is a helpful tool for achieving this goal.
Each carrier has its own rules, processes, and procedures. However, you can better plan for these situations if you consider those factors before purchasing insurance.
Understanding what type of insurance your package has (and whether you need to pay extra when shipping) is an excellent place to start.
What Does USPS Postal Insurance Cover?
Some mail classes purchased under certain conditions come with specific insurance coverages.
This feature includes, but is not limited to, the following services:
- Global Express Guaranteed
- Priority Mail Express
- Priority Mail
- Priority Mail Express International
“How Can I Use Insurance?”
Below is crucial information regarding domestic and international items where clients can use insurance.
Insurance Can Be Used With the Following Domestic Mail Classes
You can buy insurance for the following domestic mail classes:
- Priority Mail Express®
- Up to $100 insurance coverage applies, but with these limitations:
- $100 for merchandise
- $15 for cash
- $100 for document reconstruction
- Up to $100 insurance coverage applies, but with these limitations:
You can buy additional insurance coverage up to $5,000 for merchandise only. However, remember that if you don’t check the “Signature Required,” it can void the insurance indemnity.
- Priority Mail Insurance
- Up to $100 insurance coverage is available at the price of postage.
- You may access additional coverage at any post office in increments of up to $5,000.
- First-Class Mail and First-Class Package Service-Commercial
- Insurance is available only for merchandise, meaning you cannot insure correspondence (letters).
- USPS Marketing Mail and Parcel Select Lightweight parcels
- The coverage for this service is bulk insurance only.
- USPS Retail Ground, Parcel Select, and Package Services pieces
- You can only insure merchandise, meaning you cannot cover correspondence (letters).
- Insurance is also available for government mail endorsed with “Postage and Fees Paid.”
Using Insurance for International Mailing
Here are some crucial reminders when using insurance for international mailing:
- Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) covers up to $100. However, you can buy additional insurance.
- Insurance is available in select countries. You can obtain insurance quotes for a specific item and destination.
- Insurance includes coverage against damage, loss, or missing contents. The maximum insurance amount differs from country to country.
- Priority Mail Express International (PMEI) offers $100 for documents and $200 insurance for merchandise. You may also buy additional insurance.
- For Priority Mail International Flat Rate and parcels with variable weights (not available for Small Flat Rate Boxes or Flat Rate Envelopes), coverage is up to $100 for non-negotiable documents and $200 for merchandise. Additional insurance is available at a fee.
- Insurance fees are separate from postage and can differ regarding the amount of coverage.
- You can visit the USPS “File an Insurance Claim” section for information on filing claims. Note that you must file an inquiry for lost items before you submit a claim.
“Why Wasn’t I Able to Insure an International Package?”
Some countries outside the United States do not offer insured mail services or accept insured parcels from abroad.
While the following services don’t have insurance as an option, you can ship them Registered, which provides indemnity (insurance) coverage:
- First-Class Mail International
- First-Class Package International
- Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes
- Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Boxes
Designating Insurance on a Customs Form
You may purchase additional insurance for a price (for certain flat rate boxes or variable weight items) in various countries.
Remember that international insured articles use PS Form 2976-B or PS Form 2976-A to document insurance purchases.
Reduce Parcel and LTL Shipping Costs
Pricing is crucial for shipping insurance, even for less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments. The cost of additional insurance is typically minimal.
However, weighing the risks and costs is essential when shipping large packages.
Remember that pricing depends on the package’s “declared value,” which reflects what the contents of your shipment are worth. The USPS requires proof of that value to file an insurance claim.
“How Can I Buy Insurance Online?”
Online insurance through Click-N-Ship offers USPS Tracking plus $5,000 indemnity coverage against rifled, lost, or damaged articles.
Extra Services Fact Sheet
Extra services offer enhancements that, for a fee on top of postage, “boost” the service beyond typical mail classes. These improvements could mean greater security and accountability.
Extra services can include the following features:
- Confirmation of mailing, delivery, and receipt
- Special handling
- Payment and acceptance options for mail
Additionally, extra services may offer alternatives to delivery and payment for products.
Domestic Extra Services
The following are highlights of the changes made to extra domestic services:
- All domestic-insured items in California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and other states should bear a barcoded label, including those valued at up to $50. Non-numbered indemnity is no longer available.
- Suppose the insured item is valued up to $200. In that case, you should use PS Form 3813, Receipt for Domestic Insured Parcel, and scan the receipt at delivery. No signature is required.
- For insured items valued over $200, you must use PS Form 3813–P, Insured Mail Receipt, and receive a scan at delivery and a signature.
- Unlike Registered Mail and Certified Mail scans, insurance scans do not verify delivery or delivery attempts electronically.
- Moreover, the following are the prices for insurance coverage as of March 2023:
- Value up to $50 is $1.65.
- $50.01 to $100 is $2.05.
- $100.01 to $200 is $2.45.
- $200.01 to $300 is $4.60.
- Each additional $100 of insurance, greater than $300 up to $5,000, costs $4.60 plus $0.90 for every $100 or fraction of $100.
- At the same time, the following are the prices for Express Mail insurance as of March 2023:
- The first $100 of value still applies. However, amounts over $100 cost more than regular insurance.
- Value above$100 up to $200 is $0.75, while $200.01 to $500 is $2.10. At the same time, $500.01 to $5,000 is $2.10 on top of $1.35 per each $100 or a fraction of $100.
International Extra Services
Below are some highlights of the changes implemented to extra international services:
- Insurance is available for Priority Mail International and Express Mail International merchandise deliveries.
- You can only use PS Form 3813-P for domestic mail.
- You must record the insurance amount and fee on Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note — CP 7 and PS Form 2976–A, 2:
- The clerk must write “V,” insured amount, fee, and special drawing rights (SDR) conversion on the lines provided on PS Form 2976-A.
- “V” refers to an international requirement to indicate that the article has value.
Remember that the following items are prohibited in Express Mail International shipments in all countries:
- Traveler’s checks
- Currency notes, including paper money
- Securities of any type payable to the bearer
- Precious stones
Add Proof of Mailing and Delivery, Signature Services, and More
You can feel more secure when you ship overseas using USPS products:
- Many USPS mail services have USPS international insurance.
- You can buy additional insurance coverage for some shipments.
- You can also obtain proof of mailing and confirmation receipts.
Extra and Included Insurance
Below are some note-worthy things to remember regarding extra and included insurance.
Standard Shipping Insurance
You can buy insurance coverage on mailpieces for up to $5,000 in indemnity to protect against damage or loss. Insurance fees depend on the item’s declared value. However, insurance is not available for some products and specific items.
Mail Insured for More Than $500
The recipient must present an acceptable primary ID before USPS delivers the mailpiece.
The insurance coverage covers only the actual value of mail contents. You can purchase up to $5,000 indemnity coverage online or at a local post office. The price depends on the declared value, starting at $2.65.
Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail
Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail offer $100 of insurance for the price of their services. For higher-value shipments, additional coverage is generally available.
Priority Mail domestic shipments and Priority Mail Express shipments require a USPS Tracking barcode to qualify for insurance coverage. Moreover, Priority Mail coverage and some extra services are not included when you purchase this service.
Priority Mail Express Delivery
The recipient may need to present an acceptable primary ID so that USPS can send the mailpiece.
Keep a copy of the postmarked mailing receipt and shipment value proof to file a claim. Should your mail item be lost, you must file a claim within 60 days from the date of mailing.
At the same time, if your item is damaged or missing contents, you must file a claim as soon as possible, not later than 60 days after you mailed the item.
Proof of Mailing and Delivery
Below are some must-remember points regarding proof of mailing and delivery:
This service provides tracking information regarding items in transit, including the delivery date and time of the delivery attempt.
USPS tracking is available online or at your post office, depending on the mail class, Choosing the most affordable provider for overnight packages depends on your package’s size and destination regardless of whether you are in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, or any other city. Moreover, you don’t have to pay extra for this service.
You can prove you sent the proof for this service. You can verify delivery or delivery attempt and get the signature of the individual who receives the mailing when combined with the Return Receipt.
You can purchase this service at a local post office. Remember the following information regarding this service:
- Present the mailing document to a postal employee if you have to submit a postmarked sender’s receipt.
- Use with Return Receipt to obtain a physical or electronic record containing the recipient’s signature.
- The recipient may present a valid primary ID before USPS delivers the mailpiece.
- The cost for this service is $4.15.
This service lets you get an electronic or hardcopy delivery record with the recipient’s signature. Note the following information regarding the return receipt:
- Depending on the mail class, you can purchase this service at a post office.
- Electronic return receipts do not apply to APO (Army Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office, and DPO (Diplomatic Post office) addresses or to some U.S. territories or dependents or Freely Associated States.
- You can use the Return Receipt with Priority Mail Express by completing PS Form 3811.
- The cost for mail receipts is $3.35, while email receipts cost $2.10.
Certificate of Mailing
You can show that you actually sent the item. This official document indicates when your mail was presented to USPS for mailing.
Here is additional information regarding the certificate of mailing:
- This service is only available at a post office.
- The offer is only valid at the time of mailing.
- Keep your certificate. The USPS does not keep a copy.
- Use PS Form 3877 or PS Form 3817 only.
- The cost of the service is $1.85
You can check the date and time when the delivery attempt took place. This service requires a signature to add security. USPS maintains a delivery record, which you may request via fax, email, or mail.
Here is additional information regarding Signature Confirmation:
- Depending on the mail class, you can purchase the service online or at a post office.
- You can combine Signature Confirmation with any mail service except Adult Signature Services and USPS Marketing Mail.
- Before delivery, the recipient must present a valid ID with a clear photo.
- The service is limited to specific APO, FPO, DPO locations, and some Freely Associated States.
- Signature confirmation costs $3.80 at a post office and $3.25 online.
USPS Tracking Plus
This service offers an extended tracking history for your package and a USPS Tracking Plus statement via email upon request. You can get access to USPS Tracking Plus for up to 10 years.
The following mail classes can use USPS Tracking Plus:
- Priority Mail Express
- Priority Mail
- First-Class Package Service
- Library Mail
- Bound Printed Matter
- Parcel Select Ground
- Parcel Select Non-presort
- Parcel Select Lightweight
- Media Mail
- USPS Marketing Mail parcels
- Some USPS Marketing Mail Nonprofit parcels
- First-Class Mail (some letters and flats)
The cost of USPS Tracking Plus starts at $0.99.
Below are essential details for when you’re planning to send valuable items with USPS.
You can get maximum security for your valuable items with Registered Mail. Using this service, you can insure items with a declared value of up to $50,000 at a post office.
Here are additional notes regarding Registered Mail:
- You can purchase this service at a local post office or from your rural carrier.
- Regardless of where you bought the service, present Registered Mail items for mailing to a postal worker.
- Upon request, you will receive a mailing receipt and electronic verification regarding an article’s delivery status.
- The recipient may present an official primary identification before USPS delivers the mailpiece.
- Registered Mail price starts at $15.25
Hold for Pickup
With Hold for Pickup, you can retrieve valuable and perishable items at a designated post office.
USPS holds packages for up to 15 days, depending on the service chosen (five days only for Priority Mail Express).
Also, you can get a notification via email that your package is available for pickup. The addressee must provide a primary ID with a clear photo.
Here are additional details regarding signature services at USPS.
This service lets you know the date and time of delivery or attempted delivery. In addition, it can enhance security by requiring a signature. USPS keeps a delivery record, which you can access, upon request, via email, fax, or mail.
Note the following things about Signature Confirmation:
- Depending on the mail class, you can purchase this feature online or at a local post office.
- You can combine this service with mail classes other than USPS Marketing Mail and Adult Signature Services.
- There is limited access to FPO, APO, DPO addresses, and the Freely Associated States.
- Signature Confirmation costs $3.80 at a post office and $3.25 when paid online.
This service specifies the person authorized to sign for and receive your package. You can only use Restricted Delivery with another service, including Collect on Delivery (COD), Certified Mail, Registered Mail, Insured Mail (over $500), or Signature Confirmation.
USPS requires a primary ID with an identifiable photo for the addressee or authorized representative.
Here’s the price of Restricted Delivery for various mail classes:
- Certified Mail Restricted Delivery $10.80
- Registered Mail Restricted Delivery $6.55
- COD Restricted Delivery $6.55
- Insured Mail Restricted Delivery $6.55
- Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery $10.35 (retail) and $9.80 (electronic)
Adult Signature Required
This product requires the signature of a 21-year-old or older at the addressee’s address. You’ll receive delivery details and the recipient’s name and signature.
Here’s additional information regarding Adult Signature Required:
- You can add the service to your online label purchase.
- The recipient must present a valid primary ID displaying a clear photo.
- The Adult Signature Required is unavailable at post office locations.
- Adult Signature Required costs $9.05.
Adult Signature Restricted Delivery
With this service, the item will only be delivered to the addressee or an authorized representative who authenticates their identity, proves that they’re 21 or older, and signs for the package.
Adult Signature Restricted Delivery costs $9.35.
Collect on Delivery (COD)
With COD, people pay for items and shipping when they receive them. You can get insurance coverage up to $1,000, which reflects the amount to be collected or the amount of insurance coverage requested, whichever is higher.
The recipient can pay for COD shipments via personal check, cash, or money order payable to the sender. COD price starts at $9.60
International Insurance Options
If you receive or send packages regularly from overseas, consider the international insurance options available at USPS.
With insurance, you can safeguard yourself from financial risks due to theft, loss, or damage during transit with the right insurance coverage.
Global Express Guaranteed Insurance
The Global Express Guaranteed service automatically covers up to $100 in damage, loss, or document recovery. You may purchase up to $2,499 in insurance for more coverage.
You can purchase insurance from $0.00 to $2.45 for every $100.00 or a fraction over $100 in declared value.
Priority Mail Express International Insurance
Priority Mail Express International includes insurance covering document reconstruction up to $100 and for packages up to $200 against damage, loss, or missing contents.
This insurance costs from $0.00 to $33.15 in addition to $3.40 per $100.00 or a portion thereof over $900 in declared value.
Priority Mail International Insurance
Priority Mail International shipments include insurance against loss, damage, or missing contents up to $200 at no extra cost.
Priority Mail International shipments containing non-negotiable files are insured against damage, loss, or missing contents up to $100 for document reconstruction for free.
Priority Mail International Insurance ranges from $0.00 to $33.15 plus $3.40 per $100.00 or a fraction of $100 for items over $900 in declared value.
Registered Mail Service
This service provides an additional layer of security in transportation within the U.S. Indemnity limits are generally lower for Registered Mail shipments than for insured mail.
You can combine Registered Mail service with First–Class Package International Service and First-Class Mail International for only $19.05.
International Proof of Mailing and Delivery
International proof of mailing and delivery confirms that a letter or package was successfully sent to or received from overseas.
Return receipts are available for registered packages or Priority Mail International-insured packages when you purchase additional insurance.
Return receipts are available for Priority Mail International Parcels with insurance ($5.30) and First-Class Mail International ($5.30).
Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International
With the Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International service, you get a notification that your international shipment has been delivered or a delivery attempt has been made.
Certificate of Mailing
This document proves that you sent the item when you said you did.
However, the certificate of mailing only shows your mail’s acceptance date. This official record does not provide a delivery record or insurance coverage against loss.
Note that you can’t obtain a certificate of mailing with insured parcels, Registered Mail items, or items paid with a permit stamp.
Certificate of Mailing is available with First–Class Package International Service ($1.85) and Unregistered First–Class Mail International ($1.85).
USPS Tracking Plus
You can purchase extended tracking information for an item with USPS Tracking Plus Statement via email upon request.
The USPS Tracking Plus is available for the following mail services:
- Priority Mail Express International
- Priority Mail International
- First-Class Package International Service
Compare Add-On Services
To maximize the benefits, verify which add-on services are available for different USPS mail and shipping services. Add-ons are sometimes already included in your chosen service, while others require purchase.
Here are additional helpful tips regarding insurance products at USPS:
- You can only insure gift cards for their total value via the Registered Mail service.
- Online indemnity coverage is limited to $500 for missing, rifled, or damaged articles. Customers who insure items over $500 should take them to a retail postal facility.
- Customers must complete PS Form 1000 to file a claim for domestic insurance.
- eBay and Click-N-Ship users can purchase insurance and file claims online at www.usps.com. You can visit www.usps.com/insuranceclaims for more information regarding how to file insurance claims.
Filing a Claim With USPS
You can file a claim online with USPS. The online insurance claim procedure lets you upload files along with supporting documents and involves the following steps:
- Visit the official website of USPS. Once there, access the online claim site by logging in with your USPS username and password. If you don’t have an account, register online.
- Provide details about the package. The site’s insurance claim form requires the USPS tracking number, mailing address, delivery date, label, and other claim information.
- Choose the reason for filing a claim. For example, is the item missing or stolen, or did the package contain missing contents upon arrival? Explain what happened to the package and the specific reason for the claim.
- Upload proof of value. When buying insurance, you only have to declare the item’s value. On the other hand, you must provide evidence, such as a relevant invoice or receipt, to submit a USPS claim.
- Upload proof of insurance. Keep the receipt for the insurance purchase since you may be required to upload the proof of purchase.
How to File a Claim
As indicated above, the recipient or sender may file an insurance claim for missing, damaged, or incomplete insured mail. Filers must have the original mailing receipt.
Moreover, you must file the claim within a certain period and provide proof of insurance.
Step 1: Check Filing Periods
Each mail service has its filing period. The filing period depends if the item arrives damaged or has missing contents. In any case, you may file a claim immediately after receiving the mail, but you must do so within 60 days.
For “no delivered item” issues, submit a claim for your purchased service.
Step 2: Gather Your Documents
Providing the necessary documents for your claim helps USPS approve it faster. Maintain a record of all evidence until the dispute has been resolved.
You can find your tracking or label number on your package label, online label record, mailing receipt, or sales receipt.
These items show proof of insurance:
- Outer packaging containing the sender’s and recipient’s names and addresses, and the proper label indicating insurance coverage
- Printed electronic online label details or computer printout from the application used to generate the label and pay for the insurance
- Receipt issued at the time of mailing
Step 3: File Your Claim
The most convenient way to file a claim is online. You can mail in a claim if you can’t file a claim on USPS.com. Upon filing, preserve all evidence and documents until the case is resolved.
You can file online by logging in or creating a free USPS.com account. Your claim case will be linked to your account.
You can save your application to complete later if you cannot finish it in one session.
The insurance price is minimal on a package basis, but if you send a large volume of packages, the costs can add up fast.
Consequently, it’s crucial to know any special considerations for insurance so you can plan accordingly.
Here are additional reminders when determining whether extra insurance is advisable for your situation:
The Payout May Be Subject to Depreciation
USPS only pays out on the item’s depreciated value. Moreover, if your lost or damaged items were purchased second-hand or you lost the receipt, your claim may be denied.
Photos of Damaged Items May Be Required
For damaged items, photo evidence may be necessary to support the claim. Clients should take photos of the item immediately to record the damage.
As Highlighted Before, Packing Matters and Packing Items Are Important
Suppose USPS finds that you packed the item incorrectly and that this improper packing caused the damage. In that case, you might find it extra challenging to process your claim. Therefore, keep packing materials and take photos for the duration of the claim.
Claims Should Be Made Quickly
Like other carriers, you must file for an insurance claim before the USPS deadline.
If you have issues with your shipment, gather the necessary information and documents immediately and submit your claim within the prescribed timeframe.
Fragile Items May Be Excluded
USPS is not liable for insurance claims if the item’s fragile nature makes it impossible to be sent safely, regardless of packaging. When shipping fragile items, ensure they are not exempt from coverage.
Also, examine the item for damage before signing for it. Once you sign for the package, it could become more difficult to recover because you’ve already accepted it in its current state.
Keep the Original Insurance Slip
USPS does not keep track of post-office-purchased insurance. Therefore, proving that you bought coverage is easier if you lose the insurance slip.
Shipping Multiple Items Is Efficient, but This Has Implications
Suppose a customer orders several items from your company. In that case, you can ship those items in one shipment to save time and money.
However, remember that if you plan to get $100 in coverage, it could include the whole package, so your insurance may only cover some things. You may want to buy additional coverage or split shipments for insurance reasons.
- How much is USPS insurance per $100?
The cost of insurance for $100 could be $2.05.
- Is it worth getting insurance on USPS?
USPS insurance can safeguard you from financial risks due to unfortunate events with your packages in transit. Plus, the insurance price for various items is fair.
- How much is USPS insurance for $5,000?
Each additional $100 of insurance, ranging from $300 to $5,000, is $4.60 plus $0.90 for every $100 or fraction of $100.
- Extra Services Fact Sheet
- What is Insurance?
- How can I use insurance?
- Insurance & Extra Services
- International Insurance & Extra Services
- File a USPS Claim: Domestic