It’s the scenario every customer who ships with the United States Postal Service dreads: You’ve sent something through the mail and it arrived broken.
Or worse – it didn’t arrive at all and is instead lost for all time, and there’s no way to recoup your losses – unless you purchased Insurance.
But what is USPS Insurance and how does it protect your mailings? I have the answer you seek just below, so keep reading!
What Is USPS Insurance in 2023?
USPS Insurance is an add-on service that covers your merchandise, up to $ 5,000 worth, in the event of breakage, loss, or theft in 2023. Some mail classes already include Insurance, including Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, though additional may be purchased. USPS recommends waiting 14 days from the date of mailing to file an Insurance claim.
To learn more about what USPS Insurance covers, what is not covered, how much Insurance costs to add, and even if it’s worth it to ensure a package, keep going! I’ve got all you need to know.
What Does USPS Postal Insurance Cover?
USPS Insurance covers damage done to an item while it was in the possession of the Postal Service, a lost package, and theft of a package.
So, if your recipient receives the item you have sent them, and they open the box and the item is broken, despite being packed as well as can be expected, you can file a claim.
Your package is lost if seven days have passed since the date of mailing, you submitted a search request, and then another seven days have gone by.
At that point, you can also file a claim.
Finally, if you suspect your package was stolen, give it 14 days to arrive, or if you have video footage that shows the package was stolen, you can then file a claim.
In most cases, you have no more than 60 days to file a claim.
Insurance can be added to the following:
- First-Class Mail and First-Class Package (though not personal correspondence)
- Priority Mail, though $50-worth is included
- Priority Mail Express, though $100-worth is included
- Retail Ground
- Parcel Select
- Marketing Mail
- Global Express Guaranteed, though $100-worth is included
- Priority Mail Express International, though $200-worth is included (for merchandise; $100-worth is included for documents)
- Priority Mail International, though $200-worth is included for merchandise, and $100-worth is included for documents
What Is Not Covered by USPS Insurance?
There are a few things not covered by USPS insurance. They include the following:
- Items that are so breakable/fragile that they would not withstand normal handling during shipping, e.g., a delicate figurine made of glass, no matter how well packaged, are not likely going to make the journey
- Items that haven’t been packaged to deter breakage, e.g., a glass platter that was just put in a box, without any cushioning or support
- Items that are being sent to someone as an offer for sale, but without the sale actually being made
- Packages that don’t have the complete names and addresses of the sender and recipient
- Prohibited items
Now, say you want to ship something that is valued at more than $5,000. What do you do?
Well, you could choose a different shipping company, or you could send your package via USPS Registered Mail.
Registered Mail is a highly restricted service where your package, when it’s not in transit, is manually handled and scanned and kept under lock and key.
And, Registered Mail comes with the ability to ensure your shipment for up to $50,000.
Now, Registered Mail voids any Tracking you might have had with your shipping class and it will likely arrive well behind schedule.
However, if you need more than $5,000 worth of insurance, this is a good option.
How Much Is $5000 Insurance at USPS?
USPS Insurance is quite affordable, even for items that are valued at above $1,000.
In fact, that’s how Insurance is priced: based on the stated value of the item being shipped.
It does the customer no good to undervalue the item being sent; all that means is that if the article is broken, lost, or stolen, they’ll recoup less than the item is worth.
The pricing structure is as follows:
- $0.01 – $50.00: $2.45
- 01 – 100.00: 3.15
- 01 – 200.00: 3.85
- 01 – 300.00: 5.05
- 01 – 400.00: 6.40
- 01 – 500.00: 7.65
- 01 – 600.00: 10.35
- 01 – 5,000.00: $10.35 plus $1.55 per $100.00 or fraction thereof
So, $5,000-worth of USPS Insurance costs $78.55 (44 x 1.55 + 10.35).
How Do You Use USPS Insurance?
Adding on USPS Insurance
Adding USPS insurance to your shipment is easy and quick.
If you’re at the counter of the Post Office, chances are good they’ll ask you if you want to add on any extra services.
If you’re using USPS.com’s Click-N-Ship, you’ll enter the item value under Step 4, Package Details.
Then, you’ll select the Service Type, and press on Select Service and Packaging. From there, you’ll choose what Package Type you want.
Once you do that, more items will pop up below, including insurance.
Depending on which Service Type you selected, you’ll see “Insurance for packages valued up to $50” (Priority Mail) or “Insurance for packages valued up to $100” (Priority Mail Express).
Then, you’ll also have the option to “Insure for the entire package value,” plus the price listed just to the right.
Choose the option you want, add any Signature Services, and you’re ready to head to the checkout.
Filing a Claim
Before you go ahead and file a claim for missing mail, you should wait the suggested 14 days to see if your items don’t turn up first.
However, if your item has arrived and it was either broken or stolen, you can go ahead and file a claim right away.
You’ll just want to make sure you’re within the 60-day time limit (from the date of mailing).
To file a claim, you’ll visit this page, where you’ll be walked through the process (make sure you have all your documents and evidence at hand).
If you are unable to file your claim online, you can also do so by mail.
You’ll simply call the USPS National Materials Customer Service number (1-800-332-0317) and have a Claim Form sent to you.
Is It Worth It to Insure a USPS Package?
I think if you’re shipping something with a lot of sentimental value, it’s worth it to insure the package.
That way, if anything happens to it, you can receive at least some recompense.
Also, I think it’s worth it if you’re shipping something of high value, especially if it’s a bit fragile and you’re somewhat worried about it reaching the destination in one piece.
Finally, ShipBob.com recommends that if you are regularly mailing high-value packages, shipping insurance is a “no-brainer” that will “likely pay for itself.”
To learn more, you can also read our posts on USPS insurance claim denied, does USPS first class have insurance, and if you can file a claim with USPS without insurance.
USPS Insurance is an affordable way to ensure that if your item doesn’t make it one piece, if it’s lost, or if it’s stolen, you may file a claim to receive the stated value back. Insurance starts at just $2.45, and it’s even included with mail classes like Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.