If your USPS shipment is lost or damaged during delivery, you may be eligible for compensation. However, the process for filing a claim for a USPS damaged package can vary, depending on whether the shipment was domestic or international, as well as the type and value of the package.
We've got you covered with complete instructions on how to file a claim with USPS for damaged packages.
Step 1: Find Out if You're Eligible to File a Claim
The claims process at USPS varies, depending on whether your package is domestic or international.
It's possible to submit an indemnity claim for your domestic delivery if your package was sent as one of the following:
- Insured Mail
- Collect on Delivery (COD)
- Registered Mail with postal insurance
- Priority Mail Express
If your delivery wasn't insured, you can't file a claim, but you can initiate a missing mail search.
From here, you can track your package, and its current status or submit a help request form. You'll receive periodic updates on the search status, but there are no guarantees that your shipment will be recovered.
International shipments are handled differently, and filing a claim might not always be possible. Instead, you may only be entitled to a postage refund. You can typically file a claim if your international package was sent with one of these services:
- Global Express Guaranteed (no online inquiries)
- Priority Mail Express International (PMEI)
- Priority Mail International
- Registered Mail
- First-class Mail and Package International (no online inquiries)
Typically, it's only possible for the U.S. sender to submit a claim request for international shipments. Claims for inbound packages that are lost or broken are payable to the sender.
It's recommended that you contact the sender and request that they file an inquiry at the foreign mail service provider.
Step 2: Determine When and How to File Your Claim
Each service has different timeframes for filing claims, but if your package arrives damaged or contents are missing, you can file a claim immediately.
However, if your shipment doesn't arrive at all, you'll have to file a claim within the time frame of the service you purchased.
The preferred way to file a domestic claim is online. You can also file a paper claim by calling 1-800-332-0317, extension 9, and asking for a Domestic Claim PS Form. However, this method typically takes longer than completing a claim online.
Use the online claim form for Registered Mail, Priority Mail International, and PMEI. For international claims not supported online, call USPS at 1-800-222-1811. You'll need to provide your 10-digit GXG tracking number and evidence of mailing, such as a GXG Air Waybill or PS Form 11FGG1.
Step 3: Gather the Required Supporting Documentation
You'll need to acquire supporting documents before you file the claim. Domestic packages require the following.
- Tracking or Label Number – This number is between 13 and 34 digits and can be found on your sales receipt or online label record.
- Evidence of Insurance Purchased – Provide proof of insurance with an original mailing receipt, outer packaging that shows the item was sent insured, or a printed, electronic online label.
- Proof of Value – You'll need to prove the value of the items inside the package that was damaged or lost. Examples include a sales receipt, paid invoice, credit card or billing statement, statement of value from a reputable dealer, receipt of costs for the replacement of non-negotiable documents, or a printout from the completed online transaction.
- Proof of Damage – Save the packaging and make photos that show the extent of the damage. You may be asked to bring these items to the postal service for inspection. Include an estimate for repair costs if applicable and avoid reshipping the package.
Supporting documentation for international shipments is slightly different. Below are the documents you'll need to collect for an international claim.
- Tracking of Label Number – This number is 13 digits long and starts with the letters EA-EZ, CA-CZ, HC-HZ, or RA-RZ and ends in US.
- Contact Information – You'll need both the sender's and addressee's name, mailing address, email, and phone number.
- Mailing Information – Provide the date, weight, postage paid, a description of the contents, and any additional fees paid.
- Proof of Mailing Documents – Acceptable proof includes mailing labels, customs forms, online transaction printouts, or original mailing receipts.
- Proof of Value – Include a sales receipt, bill of sale, copy of canceled check or money order, or any other document you would use as proof of value for domestic claims.
- Proof of Damage – For damaged items include photos, documents supporting damage from the US mailer, and documents supporting damage from the foreign addressee.
Gather all the supporting documentation you need before filing a claim. For most domestic claims, either the sender or addressee can file. However, it's best to work together to ensure that whoever completes the claim has all the necessary forms and information.
Step 4: Invest in Quality Shipping Insurance
The process of filing a claim for a lost or damaged package is a time-consuming process, and the compensation you receive may or may not be enough to replace your shipment. Coverage is often limited, depending on the price of postage you choose.
For example, a package sent through Priority Mail with retail pricing or Commercial Base Pricing insurance will have $50 of coverage. Commercial Plus Pricing will include $100 of coverage. More comprehensive coverage is available through third-party shipping insurance providers.
Cabrella offers shipping insurance with savings up to 90% over competitors and is one of the only carriers to cover USPS International. Customizable plans ensure that each customer has access to appropriate coverage and offers a guaranteed claim payout in under 30 days (for claims worth less than $20,000).
Additionally, you can seamlessly manage and track your shipments through a convenient online dashboard and paperless claims. Cabrella strives to ease the insurance claims process for your damaged or lost USPS shipments.
Integrated software enables you to connect your shipping software to the insurance application, which continuously monitors your package. You'll receive alerts about high-risk areas and have the option to submit a claim within minutes. Find out what you could save on shipping insurance by requesting a quote below.