A rainy day can mess up a multitude of plans.
But it’s even worse to look outside, see an unending downpour, and realize you were expecting a package that day, particularly if you’re at work and the package is arriving at home.
It might make you wonder: Does USPS leave packages in the rain? Here’s what you need to know.
Does USPS Leave Packages In The Rain In 2023?
The United States Postal Service does deliver packages in the rain. Without a suitably dry location to place items that don’t fit in the mailbox, the parcel may be the recipient of some water damage. Additionally, many USPS postal carriers will make the effort to place packages in a dry location whenever possible.
To learn more about whether USPS packaging is waterproof, if USPS delivers big packages on rainy days and what you can do if your package is ruined by rain, keep going!
Why Does USPS Leave Packages In The Rain?
Your United States Postal Service mail carrier may have to leave a package in the rain if there is no other location to put it.
Many postal carriers, including ones from my own personal experience, are thoughtful about where they leave packages when the weather is bad out.
For example, rather than leaving a package that doesn’t fit in the mailbox right near the bottom of the post, where it could get drenched, most carriers will put it on a porch or stoop.
However, if your home does not have an alternate location – and you have not left any instructions via Delivery Instructions – the package will have to sit tight in the rain.
Rain that doesn’t inhibit vehicle mobility (i.e., flooding) also doesn’t create “undeliverable” conditions.
So the postal carrier has no real reason to take the package back with them to the post office, as they would if the roads were unpassable or they needed a signature but no one was home.
Are USPS Packages Waterproof?
USPS packages are not designed to be waterproof.
Different packaging may have different degrees of water resistance, but on the whole, USPS does not sell any packaging designed to withstand continuous raining.
An especially glaring example of this is anything made of cardboard.
While it’s inexpensive and lightweight, making it a great material for packaging and shipping items, it is also quick to get waterlogged when left in damp conditions.
Does USPS Leave Packages Outside?
Unless instructed otherwise, USPS leaves packages outside when they do not fit inside your mailbox.
You can instruct your mail carrier, via Delivery Instructions, to leave the package elsewhere.
To check and see if your package allows for Delivery Instructions, track the package as you normally would.
If you see “Change Delivery Instructions” listed on the page, you can add a note about where you would like the item placed.
That could include a code for a garage door or keypad entry, or a specific location on the property, like behind a bush.
You can also purchase deck boxes at most hardware stores (Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.) specifically to avoid having packages left outside.
Does USPS Deliver Big Packages On Rainy Days?
USPS does not forego deliveries on bigger packages just because it is raining. But if you are not there to receive it right away, an expensive investment could end up ruined.
An ounce of prevention, in this case, is worth a pound of cure.
Your best option is to check and see if the Delivery Instructions feature is available for your item.
This feature, which you can access (if it’s available for your item) via the tracking page, will allow you to leave a note about where this big package can be left.
What Should You Do If Your USPS Package Is Ruined By Rain?
Most of the responsibility for an item reaching you without damage is on the shipper. They should be aware of the conditions under which items are placed during shipping.
USPS is more on the hook for situations like lost packages (except in extreme cases, where the damage is excessive and was clearly the fault of USPS).
So if you receive an item and it has been ruined after sitting out in the rain, you should contact the shipper.
Numerous message boards I have seen (here and here) confirm that it is a golden opportunity for the shipper to make things right.
They also suggest that, especially for homeowners, you can ensure that the postal carrier has a dry, safe place to leave packages.
But the onus is mostly on the seller to provide better shipping materials for items that are obviously not going to fit in a mailbox, and which might sit exposed to the elements.
If you want to know more about USPS delivery services, you can also read our posts if USPS delivers on Sundays, whether or not USPS delivers to door, and also if USPS sends text messages.
The United States Postal Service does an admirable job in all weather conditions, but unfortunately, if there is no other option for your carrier, they will leave a package in the rain.
You can avoid this issue by providing Delivery Instructions and/or a dry place to leave packages.
Or as a shipper, you should ensure that you are using shipping materials which can stand up to the elements, especially in cold, snowy conditions or during wet spring times.