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USPS Package Insurance: What’s Covered (and What’s Not)


Imagine sending a precious family heirloom across the country, a one-of-a-kind piece of art, or a vital piece of business equipment. These items are irreplaceable, and the thought of them being lost or damaged in transit is a nightmare for any sender. This is where USPS package insurance steps in – a safety net that provides peace of mind and financial protection in case of unexpected incidents.

While USPS tracking ensures you know where your package is at all times, insurance is a crucial layer of protection that safeguards the value of your shipment. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of USPS package insurance, what it covers, what it doesn’t, and how to navigate the claims process should you need it.

Table of Contents

Understanding USPS Package Insurance

USPS package insurance is a valuable service that protects senders from financial loss if their package is lost, damaged, or stolen during transit. It acts as a safety net, ensuring you receive compensation for the value of your package, providing peace of mind throughout the shipping process.

Important Distinction: It is essential to understand that USPS insurance is different from USPS tracking. Tracking simply helps you monitor your package’s location, while insurance provides financial protection in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Types of Coverage:

  • Retail Insurance: This is the most common type of insurance, readily available at all USPS retail locations. Retail insurance is suitable for individual senders and offers coverage up to $500. The cost of this insurance is calculated based on the declared value of your package and is typically a small percentage of that value. You can purchase retail insurance directly at the post office when you send your package.
  • Commercial Insurance: This option is tailored for businesses that frequently ship valuable items. Commercial insurance offers higher coverage limits than retail insurance and can be customized to meet specific needs. Businesses may choose to purchase a pre-paid commercial insurance policy or pay for individual shipments.

What is Covered by USPS Insurance?

USPS package insurance is designed to protect your package from various risks, providing financial compensation for loss, damage, or theft during transit.

  • Standard Coverage: Typically, insurance covers items that are lost, damaged, or stolen while in USPS custody. This includes accidental damage, mishandling, and theft during transport.
  • Specific Coverage: For valuable items like antiques, artwork, or jewelry, USPS offers additional coverage options that can be purchased along with your standard insurance. These options provide higher coverage limits and may require additional documentation.

What is NOT Covered by USPS Insurance?

While USPS package insurance offers valuable protection, there are certain situations it does not cover:

  • Delays: USPS insurance does not cover delays in delivery. It only covers the value of the item itself, not the inconvenience of a late arrival.
  • Acts of God: Events beyond USPS control, such as natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, tornados), are typically not covered by insurance.
  • Other Exclusions: Other common exclusions include:
    • Incorrect Address: If a package is lost due to an incorrect address, USPS insurance will not cover the loss.
    • Inadequate Packaging: Insufficient packaging can lead to damage during transit, which may not be covered by insurance.
    • Prohibited Items: USPS prohibits certain items from being shipped, and if a package containing prohibited items is lost or damaged, it will not be covered by insurance.

Filing a Claim for USPS Package Insurance

If your insured package is lost, damaged, or stolen, filing a claim is the next step. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

  1. Report the Loss or Damage: Immediately contact the USPS and report the incident. Be prepared to provide details about the package, including the tracking number, date of shipment, and the nature of the problem.

  2. Gather Documentation: Collect all relevant documentation to support your claim. This includes:

    • Original Receipt: The receipt proving you purchased insurance for the package.
    • Proof of Value: Provide a detailed description and documentation of the contents of the package, including photographs or invoices to prove the item’s value.
    • Police Report: If the package was stolen, a police report is often required.
  3. File the Claim: Once you have all the necessary documentation, you can file a claim online through the USPS website or visit a local post office to file a claim in person.

  4. Follow Up: After filing the claim, it’s important to follow up with the USPS to check on the status of your claim. The USPS will review your claim, investigate the incident, and determine if you are eligible for compensation.

  5. Claim Resolution: If your claim is approved, the USPS will process your payment for the value of the lost, damaged, or stolen package.

Contact Information: For assistance with filing a claim, you can contact the USPS directly through their website or call their customer service hotline.

Tips for Maximizing Coverage

To ensure you have the best chance of receiving insurance compensation, follow these tips:

  • Proper Packaging: Invest in strong, sturdy packaging that protects your items during transit. Use appropriate packing materials and secure the items properly. For fragile items, consider using extra cushioning or specialized packing methods.
  • Accurate Documentation: When filing a claim, provide detailed and accurate documentation about the contents of the package, its value, and any relevant information about the incident.

FAQ Section

Q1: Is USPS insurance mandatory?

A1: No, USPS insurance is not mandatory. However, it is highly recommended for valuable items or shipments that you want to protect financially.

Q2: What happens if I lose my receipt for the insurance?

A2: If you can’t find your receipt, you may still be able to file a claim. Contact the USPS and explain the situation. They may be able to access your insurance information through your tracking number.

Q3: Can I file a claim even if I didn’t purchase insurance?

A3: No, you cannot file a claim if you didn’t purchase insurance. It’s crucial to protect your shipment with insurance if you want to be compensated for loss or damage.

Q4: How long does it take to process a claim?

A4: The processing time for claims varies depending on the complexity of the claim and the availability of information. The USPS typically aims to resolve claims within 30-60 days.

Q5: Can I file a claim online?

A5: Yes, you can file a claim online through the USPS website. They provide a user-friendly interface to submit your claim and track its progress.


USPS package insurance is a valuable tool for protecting your shipments and providing peace of mind. By understanding the coverage provided, the limitations, and the claims process, you can make informed decisions about whether insurance is right for your needs. Remember, properly packaged shipments with accurate documentation are crucial for maximizing your chances of receiving compensation in case of loss, damage, or theft. While USPS insurance cannot eliminate all risks associated with shipping, it can provide a safety net to protect your valuables and your finances.