Having your important packages lost, missing, or damaged is worse than a nightmare. The amount of time you spend on packing, buying postage, and having the package shipped takes a lot of time, effort, and money which will obviously have you frustrated when you find out the package couldn’t reach the destination. As USPS has a brief history of losing or damaging packages during transit, many customers are anxious to know the status of their packages. With the USPS File a Claim service, you can file an insurance claim for your packages if the mail was sent through any one of the USPS insured mailing services. Let’s find out how you can use USPS File a Claim Service to your advantage…
USPS File a Claim
Whenever you send an international or domestic package that is covered with insurance, then you can file an insurance claim for your package if it ends up being lost in transit or is damaged. Both the sender and the recipient are capable of filing a claim. This service provides a full or a partial refund to its customers, depending on the condition of the package. The customers must have the necessary proof that is required to file an insurance claim. Based on your request and the proof that you provide, the insurance claim will either be accepted or rejected.
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Filing an insurance claim is meant to be the last resort if all methods fail to retrieve your missing package. Before filing a claim, there are a few things that you can do to find your missing package.
- USPS Tracking: Using the tracking tool is one way to find the current status of your packages. If your package status has not been updated since the past week, then you can move to the next step
- Help Form: With this form, you are requesting the local postal office to conduct a USPS missing mail search for your package and have it delivered to you soon.
- USPS Report Missing Package: With this service, you are initiating a search request for retrieving your package. You can submit a search request if your package has been missing for about a week after filing the help form.
If any of the above three methods do not work, then you can move towards filing an insurance claim.
File a Claim USPS
Filing a claim is only possible if the package sent through any service is covered with insurance. You can file a claim if the package is:
- fully or partially damaged
- missing contents
Filing a claim is different for both domestic and international packages. For domestic packages, either the sender or the recipient can initiate to file a claim. Whereas in the international claim, only the sender can initiate an international inquiry. As the international claims involve the foreign mailing agencies as well, only the sender is capable of requesting an inquiry.
Filing a Domestic Claim
A domestic claim can be filed by either the sender or the recipient. If the sender has filed a claim for a package that is damaged and is in the possession of the recipient, then the recipient should keep all the contents of the package(including the package box) in a secure place until the claim isn’t resolved. Sometimes the recipient might also be asked to turn in the contents of the package over to the local post office for inspection. There are two ways to file a claim, which are through the mail or online on the File a Claim website. You can use the USPS File a Claim website in the following way:
Check the Filing Periods
All the domestic mailing services have different time periods for requesting an insurance claim. You can take a look at these timelines from the official USPS website. If the package was turned in a damaged condition or it was missing some contents, then you should file an insurance claim within 60 days of the mailing date. And if the mailpiece was lost or missing, then you can file an insurance claim within the timeline of the mailing service that you used to send the package.
Collect All the Necessary Documents
Without any proper documentation or proof, it is difficult to process your request in earnest. Collect all the valid proof which might include screenshots, pictures, documentation, packages, etc. Make sure to save these documents as you might be asked be turn them in if needed. Some of the valid proof that you might need to collect are:
These numbers are 13-34 characters long and can be found in the labels of the package, the email confirmation you receive when shipping the package, and the mailing receipt.
Evidence of the Insurance That Was Purchased
This includes the evidence of insurance which was included with the mailing service preferred. Some of the possible evidence includes the following:
- The original mailing receipt that was issued to you during the shipping
- A proper copy of the electronic printed label which includes the name of the recipient and the sender, the insurance purchased, the mailing service, etc
- The outer packaging of the box which contains the pasted label with all details about the insurance, sender and the addressee
Evidence for Value
This is also known as proof of value which indicates the value of the package when it was purchased and shipped to the recipient. You can use the following items as proof of value:
- The Sales receipt
- Paid bills or copy of the invoice during sale
- A statement of the estimated cost for handling the damages from a reliable dealer
- Credit card statements
- Any other online transaction copies that shows the value of the package when it was purchased by the customer from the seller along with the date, description, cost, etc.
Proof of Damage
You should also have the proof of damages that the package had to endure. The pictures of the damaged package or the details of the contents missing will help a lot. Along with this, you should also have a statement of the estimated repair costs from a proper dealer. Keep the following in mind when you are saving the proof for the damages incurred:
- Do not throw away the damaged outer covering of the package as this also counts as proof. Even if you have the photographs of the damaged items, don’t discard them away
- Keep the contents and the outer packaging safe until you receive a final statement on your request
- Save all the items together for inspection as you might need to visit the post office with them
USPS File a Claim: Methods to File a Domestic Claim
File Claim Online
The online mode of filing a claim is the simplest and the quickest method through which you can send your request. If you cannot file an insurance claim online, then you initiate an insurance claim request through the mail as well. To file an online insurance claim, you need to do the following:
- Visit the File a Domestic Claim online request
- On this page, click on Start An Online Claim
- This will take you to the sign-in page where you need to sign in using your account details
- Then enter the tracking number along with the shipping date
- Enter the addresses of both the recipient and the sender along with the details of the claims
- Then you are asked to select any reason for filing a claim
- Upload all the proofs that are asked on the page in .jpg or .pdf file format
- The page may also ask you to send the insurance fee or the evidence of the insurance you purchased in .jpg or .pdf file format
- Finally, review the entire information that you entered on the page and then submit your request
File a Claim Through Mail
If you cannot file a domestic claim, then you can request USPS to ask for a Domestic Claim Form. Call the National Materials Customer Service on the number 1-800-332-0317. This number can only be used to request Domestic Claim Forms only. Fill up the form along with the necessary proofs and then mail it to the address mentioned on the Form.
Filing an International Inquiry
The sender can file an international inquiry if the package sent by them is considered missing, lost, damaged, or is missing a few of its contents. For the insured value of the package that was either included with the postage paid or was purchased separately, the sender can start an international inquiry for the insurance claim. The procedure to file an international inquiry is similar to filing a domestic claim. The only difference is that a domestic inquiry can be initiated by either the sender or the recipient whereas an international inquiry can be initiated by the sender only.
To start an international claim, visit the International Claim page and click on Create an Inquiry button. Fill the form with the proofs and submit it. It will take approx 60 days to process your request and then a final statement will be issued.
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USPS Lost Package Service: How Is the Missing Mail Managed?
As you might have guessed, the missing mail search service is not that great but somehow, it works for a few folks. While using the tracking service, you might not receive regular updates and sometimes, the tracking status does not change at all. When a missing mail search request is filed, then there are efforts to search for your package at the local post office and other departments as well. Then search requests for the specific packages are made and every service center is checked to find the package. Most packages are eventually found but the time taken to find the package depends as sometimes the service centers do not cooperate well enough to find the package.
Request for an International Refund
If an International package was sent from the US, then based on the conditions mentioned below, the customers can apply for a refund:
- If the delivery standards of the following services are not met, then you can apply for refund: Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail Express International, or Priority Mail Express International with Money-Back Guarantee Service
- The complete services were not provided by USPS adn you were charged a different amount
- If you were overcharged for the postage, then you can apply for a refund
To request a refund for any of the above services, the customer needs to call on the Customer Service number 1-800-222-1811 for requesting a refund. You must request a refund within 30 days of the mailing date. Refund requests take some time to be processed as specific foreign administrations are also involved. You can also request a refund for the International Click-N-Ship Labels which is valid 60 days after being printed. For more information on refunds, you can take a look at the International Refunds Page.
Insuring a Package With USPS
Many USPS mailing services already include insurance as you pay for the postage. Both the domestic and international mailing services provide extra services along with a certain amount of insurance. In addition to these services, you can also buy extra insurance and services to help protect your mail from enduring any damages, or from being lost/misplaced, etc. You can buy extra insurance for up to $5000 for both international and domestic packages. The insurance purchased will depend on the overall value of the package. If the mail is insured for more than $500, then the customers need to provide a valid ID.
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For Priority Mail Express, the insurance costs are $100 whereas, for Priority Mail, the insurance cost covered is $50. Purchasing insurance for your package keeps you covered in times when the package goes missing or ends up being partially or fully damaged.
In addition to purchasing insurance, the customers can also purchase extra services such as:
- Certified Mail: If the customer does not receive the package on time, you can show this certificate which acts proof of sending the package. The sender can also verify if the recipients who signed the package upon delivery are authorized people.
- Return Receipt: This receipt shows the signature of the recipient who received the package
- Signature Confirmation: With signature confirmation, you can find out the date and time of when the package was delivered to the recipients.
Sending your package through USPS mailing services does not guarantee its delivery unless you use overnight mailing classes to have your packages delivered. During transit, many packages might endure damages, breaks apart, or might even lose some of their contents. To cover the cost of the damaged or lost items, you need to use the USPS File a Claim service. Although some mailing classes provide insurance, you can buy extra insurance if needed. Most mailing classes take a month or two to process the insurance request and the final statement will be based on all the research and proofs gathered.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)
Based on the mailing service that you chose, you can file a claim between 7-15 days of the expected delivery date. It might take up to 60 days to process the request completely and to decide the final verdict.
You can purchase insurance for $5000. Depending on the value of your package, you can purchase extra insurance if needed by showing valid identity proof.