Sending important things off in the mail can sometimes feel like you’re releasing them into the world with a hope and a prayer.
But you don’t have to rely on just hope when it comes to mailing valuables. Most shipping services offer extra protection for your shipments in the form of insurance.
So you might be wondering: Does USPS First-Class have insurance? Is it a standard feature or an add-on? Here’s what you need to know.
Does USPS First Class Have Insurance?
The United States Postal Service’s First-Class mail, what we think of as “regular” mail, does not come with insurance. However, for a small fee based on the value of the merchandise you are shipping, you can add insurance to your postage. This can be done both online and at Post Office locations.
To learn more about how much adding insurance to your First Class mail costs, if USPS actually pays insurance claims, whether USPS insurance is worth it, and even which services automatically include insurance, keep reading!
How Does USPS First Class Insurance Work?
The word “insurance” normally conjures nightmares for Americans, but in the case of USPS shipping insurance, it’s straightforward and accessible.
Because First-Class mail does not include insurance, it must be purchased as an add-on.
The price is determined based on your self-proclaimed valuation of the item(s) you are shipping, starting at just $2.45.
It’s up to you to decide what it’s worth, so remember: Don’t skimp on insurance for an expensive item because you will only get what you insured it for if something happens to it.
USPS insurance covers up to $5,000 in value – you can’t go any higher than that, unfortunately, so if you’re shipping something more expensive, you might have to use a different shipper.
To add on insurance to your First Class mailpiece, you can print out postage online at USPS.com, and when it asks if you want to include add-ons, choose Insurance.
Or you can add it in person at your local Post Office by going up to the counter and requesting it.
If your insurance is for more than $500, you will have to let your recipient know that they need to be present when mail is delivered.
This is because a signature will be required at delivery (only for mail valued at over $500).
How Much Is USPS First Class Insurance?
USPS insurance costs between $2.45 and $10.35+, based on the value of what you are sending.
You value the item yourself; the limit is $5,000 (and no, you cannot purchase insurance online and then also in-person for the same mailpiece).
The pricing scales by value, as seen below:
- $0.01 to 50 = $2.45
- $50.01 to 100.00 = $3.15
- $0.01 to 50.00 = $2.45
- $50.01 to 100.00 = $3.15
- $100.01 to 200.00 = $3.85
- $200.01 to 300.00 = $5.05
- $300.01 to 400.00 = $6.40
- $400.01 to 500.00 = $7.65
- $500.01 to 600.00 = $10.35
- $600.01 to 5,000.00 = $10.35 plus $1.55 per $100.00 or fraction thereof over $600 in declared value
To purchase additional insurance for packages that have shipped with the Restricted Delivery service (and are valued at over $500), the cost is $5.85.
Are All USPS Packages Insured?
Most USPS packages are not automatically insured.
That includes First-Class, Marketing Mail, Retail Ground, Media Mail, Library Mail, Parcel Select Lightweight, and Bound Printed Matter.
Again, these mailing services do not automatically include insurance.
Does USPS Automatically Include Insurance?
USPS does not automatically include insurance for First-Class mailpieces.
But if you ship something Priority, $50 worth of insurance is included with the price, and $100 worth is included with Priority Express.
If you are mailing something worth less than $50, Priority Flat Rate is a great choice because you get both insurance and tracking included in the postage fee.
However, if your item is worth more than $100, you can also choose to add additional insurance.
Some insurance is also included for Global Express Guaranteed and Priority Mail Express International.
Can You Combine USPS Add-On Services For First Class?
USPS does allow its customers to add multiple add-on services to their First-Class mailpieces.
For example, you can both Insurance and Adult Signature Required. Or Insurance and USPS Tracking.
Just because you have opted to purchase insurance for your First-Class mailpiece, it does not exclude you from purchasing additional add-ons.
Is USPS Insurance Worth Buying?
“Worth” is in the eye of the beholder, but if you are sending something particularly valuable – both in terms of money or sentiment – USPS Insurance is an inexpensive peace of mind.
According to the USPS.com website, if something does happen to your insured package/item after you have submitted your claim and it’s been verified, you will receive payment quickly.
This means anywhere from 5-7 business days.
The USPS.com website has a page specifically to walk you through the claims filing process, including all the documents you need and the timeframe you can expect.
It also gives you information about what to do if your claim is denied – in which case, you can make an appeal, speaking to why you think your claim should not have been denied.
If your appeal is denied, you can file a final appeal.