When mailing valuables – whether that value is monetary or sentimental – you want to be as confident as possible with the method of shipment.
The United States Postal Service has some of the most affordable shipping services out there, and they have multiple ways of offering mailers peace of mind.
So, are USPS packages insured? That would certainly ease many senders’ minds. You can find the answer below.
Are USPS Packages Insured?
Packages sent via the United States Postal Service’s Priority Mail and Priority Express are automatically insured up to $50 and $100. Additionally, insurance may be added to many other mailing classes, like First-Class and Retail Ground. Pricing is determined based on the declared value of the shipped item.
To learn more about which USPS packages are automatically insured, how much insurance costs, how to know if your package is insured, and what isn’t covered by insurance, keep reading, and you’ll find all you need to know!
Are USPS Packages Automatically Insured?
Only some USPS packages are automatically insured: Priority Mail and Priority Express.
Priority Mail packages are automatically insured up to $50, while Priority Express packages are insured up to $100.
Additionally, customers may opt to purchase insurance that covers the full valued amount of the shipment if the items being shipped are valued at more than the included amount.
This additional insurance is charged at the usual rate on a sliding scale based on the customer-declared value of the package contents.
The total insured amount cannot exceed $5,000, however.
Packages that are not automatically insured but which can have insurance added on include:
- First-Class Mail
- USPS Marketing Mail
- USPS Retail Ground
- Media Mail
- Library Mail
- Parcel Select Lightweight
- Bound Printed Matter
This list covers many of the most popular shipping options USPS offers, so the chances are good that if you’re a retail customer who wants extra mailing security, you can buy it.
How Do You Add Insurance To USPS Package?
Adding insurance to your USPS package is a super simple process, especially if you are using Click-N-Ship to buy your postage.
After filling out the Recipient information, the site will prompt you to input the estimated value of the package contents.
If you’re purchasing insurance or additional insurance, it’s very important that you enter an accurate amount; you only hurt yourself if you lowball the value.
After you choose the package and service types, the site will ask about insurance.
I chose a Priority Mail shipment valued at $500 as an example.
You can see in the image that “Insurance for packages valued up to $50” is already selected, but you can instead increase the insurance to the full valued amount.
If you’re taking your package to the Post Office to purchase postage, they will probably ask you first if you want to include insurance.
You can just tell them yes, plus the estimated value, and they will add it to your final total.
Can You Add Insurance To the USPS Package After Printing the Label?
If you are using Click-N-Ship, you cannot add insurance after you have printed the label.
Unfortunately, you will have to cancel the incorrect label and redo the process.
Also, it’s worth noting that you cannot add insurance at the Post Office that you purchased online, nor can you add insurance online that you purchased at the Post Office.
How Much Does USPS Insurance Cost?
For such an extensive safety net, USPS insurance is quite affordable, especially for items valued under $600.
It starts at just $2.45 for items valued between $0.01 and $50; at $600, you pay only $10.35. However, after $600, things get a bit pricier.
The USPS rule is that for every $100 over $600, you’ll pay $1.55 plus the $10.35 base fee.
So a $5,000 item could cost you $78.55 to insure, or about 1.6 percent of the item’s value.
For the full price chart, check out this page on USPS.com.
Is USPS Flat Rate Insured?
USPS Priority Mail and Priority Express Flat Rate envelopes and boxes are automatically insured up to $50 and $100, respectively.
If the item you are shipping is worth more than those amounts, you can opt instead for full insurance coverage, which will be based on the declared value of the item.
What Is Not Covered By USPS Insurance?
USPS insurance coverage is fairly thorough, but there are a few exceptions. They include:
- Items that were too fragile to stand up to shipping to begin with. There’s no actual guide laying out what is “too fragile,” so you’d have to use your best judgment.
- Grandma’s precious crystal vase with the ultra-delicate handle? You might want to hand-deliver that instead.
- Items that you’re not supposed to be shipping anyway, like alcohol, firearms, or hazardous materials.
You will not be reimbursed by USPS for a broken wine bottle when you weren’t supposed to be shipping wine in the first place.
Instead, you’re probably going to get a hefty fine, if not jail time.
What Happens If USPS Loses an Insured Package?
If USPS loses or damages your package or it gets stolen, you should do two things.
First, start a Missing Mail search (if you don’t have video proof a package was stolen, it could just be missing).
Second, if you’re the recipient, let the shipper know the package is gone, so they can initiate an insurance claim.