It’s everyone’s nightmare: You ship something through the mail, something with enough monetary value that losing it would mean you’re out hundreds of dollars. And it ends up lost or in mailpiece purgatory, and it feels like you just set two hundred-dollar bills on fire.
There is a way to pay a small upfront fee and potentially save hundreds later. That’s by purchasing USPS insurance. But how much is USPS insurance? Its affordability might shock you. Keep reading below to see just how affordable it is!
How Much Is USPS Insurance In 2023?
USPS insurance is an add-on service that you can apply to many mail classes; for some, it is included with the postage as of 2023. Where applicable, USPS insurance pricing is based on the estimated value of the shipped item(s). The higher the value, the more expensive the insurance. USPS insurance add-on starts at $2.45.
To learn more about how USPS insurance, including the pay scale, works, what your investment buys you, what it doesn’t buy for you, and even how insurance claims work if aught goes amiss, read on!
How Does USPS Insurance Work?
Let’s look at how USPS insurance works and its pay scale based on item value.
Some USPS mail classes, like Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, actually include some insurance with the postage.
However, for many other classes, insurance is considered an add-on service.
Also, you can add additional coverage if the item exceeds the insurance amount covered, even for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.
That said, the max amount you can purchase insurance to cover is $5,000.
However, if you need more insurance than $5,000, you might consider instead opting for the Registered Mail service, which offers coverage up to $50,000.
As I’ve explained, USPS insurance pricing depends on the estimated value of the item(s) you’re mailing and works like this:
$0.01 to $50 $2.45
50.01 to 100 3.15
100.01 to 200 3.85
200.01. to 300 5.05
300.01 to 400 6.40
400.01 to 500 7.65
500.01 to 600 10.35
600.01 to 5,000 10.35 plus $1.55 per $100 over $600
As you can see, USPS has made it very affordable to apply insurance, even for pricier items over $1,000.
You can add on USPS insurance either online, as you create a label using Click-N-Ship, or at the post office.
Still, the most important thing to note is that you absolutely should not give an under-estimate of your item’s value just to save a few bucks.
That said, if the item does get lost or damaged, and your claim is approved, you will only receive the amount you estimated it to be worth.
What Does USPS Postal Insurance Cover?
USPS insurance provides coverage for items “lost, damaged, or with missing contents in the custody of the United States Postal Service.”
Further, insurance is included with the postage for Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail, up to $100 and $50, respectively. Also, you can add extra Insurance to those classes.
Moreover, you can buy insurance as an add-on for:
- First-Class Mail and First-Class Package (Commercial); not for letter correspondence
- USPS Marketing Mail and Parcel Select Lightweight
- USPS Retail Ground, Package Services, and Parcel Select
- Official government mail that has been endorsed as “Postage and Fees Paid”
What Is Not Covered By USPS Insurance?
Per the USPS guidelines, below are items that cannot be covered by USPS insurance:
- Items that have not actually been purchased, i.e., the sender is mailing a product to a prospective buyer only
- Nonmailable matter; vaguely worded, but likely references illegal items like arms, drugs, etc.
- Items that are so fundamentally fragile that no attempt to mail should even be made
- Items that are found not to have been adequately cushioned
- Items mailed via First-Class or First-Class Package-Retail and Priority Mail that consists of First-Class Mail matter
Ultimately, if your items do not fall under any of these categories, you stand a good chance of having your claim granted and receiving your insurance money.
Additionally, a few other things that USPS insurance does include are a guaranteed delivery time (you can only get through Priority Mail Express) and expedited delivery.
Overall, there is no “rush” on your parcel just because you have purchased insurance to go with it.
Does Your USPS Package Have Insurance?
As I’ve mentioned, some USPS mail classes have a degree of insurance built right into the postage, which includes:
- USPS Priority Mail Express: $100-worth of insurance
- USPS Priority Mail: $50-worth of insurance
- Global Express Guaranteed
- Priority Mail Express International
Remember, if you find that the $50 or $100 of insurance included with postage is not adequate to cover the value of your shipment, you can always add on more, up to the $5,000 maximum.
How Do USPS Insurance Claims Work?
USPS.com has a page to walk you through the Insurance claims process.
With that, you begin by filing an identity claim no later than 60 days after the parcel arrived; each service has its own “File After” time frame.
Then, the first step to the claim is gathering evidence/documentation.
That includes the tracking or label number, evidence that you did indeed purchase insurance, and proof of the value of the item damaged.
Moreover, examples of the latter include a sales receipt, a paid invoice, a credit card billing statement, etc.
Also, you will need proof of the damage, so take lots of pictures and do not dispose of your evidence; hold onto it for the duration of the claim.
Moreover, you can then use these items to file your claim, which you can do either online or by mail. After that, USPS will review your claim and decide to approve or deny it.
That said, approvals and denials can be partial so that you may receive some refund, but not the full insurance amount.
If you were denied in full or partially, you are entitled to two appeals.
The United States Postal Service offers Insurance as an affordable add-on and even includes it in the postage price for some mail classes.
Insurance is priced on a scale, based on the value of the item being insured, and it starts at $2.45 for an item with a value between one cent and $50.