If a package sent through USPS arrives damaged, or if it gets lost in the mail, you may be able to file a claim and get compensated for the value of your lost or damaged items. USPS accepts indemnity claims for insured items, COD packages, Priority Express Mail packages, and some types of international shipments. The process for filing a claim varies depending the type of package, and whether the shipment was domestic or international.
Method 1 of 3:Making a Timely and Well-Supported ClaimTired of ads? Upgrade to Pro
1Find out if your package qualifies for a claim. Not all types of packages qualify for indemnity claims. If you're not sure whether or not your package qualifies, call your local post office or the USPS customer service line at 1-800-275-8777. You can usually file a claim if your package was mailed with any of these services:
Collect on Delivery (COD)
Registered Mail with a declared value
Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express
Global Express Guaranteed
Priority Mail Express International (PMEI) and PMEI with Money-Back Guarantee
Priority Mail International
International Registered Mail Service
2Submit a search for missing mail if you can't file a claim. If your package is lost, but is uninsured or does not meet the other criteria for a claim, you can still request a search for your missing items. If your package has not arrived within 7 business days of the mailing date, go to the USPS missing mail webpage: https://www.usps.com/help/missing-mail.htm. Submit a search request with the following information:
The sender and recipient addresses.
Size and type of mailing container.
USPS tracking number or electronic label receipt.
Detailed description of the package contents.
Photographs of the missing items, if available.
3Gather your supporting documents before starting the claim process. Either the sender or the addressee can file a claim in most cases, but it is best to coordinate with each other so that whoever files the claim can provide all the necessary supporting documentation. Before you start the process of filing a claim, make sure you have all the evidence you need. This includes:
Your tracking or label number, which should be 10-34 characters long.
Photos of the mailing container and its contents, if you received a package with damaged or missing contents.
Proof of insurance or other qualification for a claim, including mailing receipts (originals or photocopies), package labels showing which mailing services were used (e.g., insurance, COD, or Registered Mail), or a printout of an electronic mailing label generated for an online order.
Proof of the value of the lost or damaged items, such as a sales receipt or invoice, a repair bill (if you had the damaged item repaired), a copy of a credit card statement showing the cost of the item, or a printout of an online purchase record. Your claim cannot be processed without proof of value.
4Keep any damaged items or packaging. If you are filing a claim because you received a damaged package or a package with missing contents, you may be asked to bring the package to your post office. Keep the package and all its contents, including the mailing container, until the claim has been resolved.
5Follow the correct timeline for submitting your claim. If you receive a package with contents missing or damaged, file a claim as soon as possible. You must file the claim within 60 days of the date of mailing. If your package was lost in the mail, you must wait a certain period of time after the mailing date before you can submit a claim. The correct timeframe for filing will depend on the type of package:
Priority Mail Express: 7-60 days from mailing date.
Priority Mail Express COD, Registered Mail, Registered COD, Insured Mail, and COD: 15-60 days from mailing date.
APO/FPO Priority Mail Express Military Service: 21-180 days from mailing date.
APO/FPO/DPO Insured Mail and Registered Mail: 45 days-1 year from mailing date.
APO/FPO/DPO Insured Surface Mail: 75 days-1 year from mailing date.
Method 2 of 3:Filing a Domestic ClaimTired of ads? Upgrade to Pro
1Set up an account at USPS.com. The easiest way to file a claim is through the USPS website. If you don't already have an account, go to the USPS.com homepage and click the “Register/Sign In” link in the upper right-hand corner. Then click the “Sign Up Now” button, and fill in the requested information to create an account.
2Log in to the USPS claims webpage. After your account is set up, navigate to the USPS claims page: https://www.usps.com/help/claims.htm. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and hit the “Start an Online Claim” button. You will be prompted to log in to your USPS account.
3Enter the requested information about your package. Once you log in, you will be asked to provide information about your package, including the tracking number and mailing date, address information, and the reason you are filing a claim. You may also be asked to upload supporting documents, such as evidence of insurance, proof of value, or pictures of your damaged package.
You will be required to submit your supporting documents in .pdf or .jpg format. You will need to scan or take clear photos of any paper documents (such as shipping labels or sales receipts).
4Review and submit your claim. You'll have a chance to go over all your claim information before you hit submit. Take a few moments to look at everything carefully and make sure all your information is correct.
5Call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to submit a claim by mail. If you'd rather not submit your claim online, or if you're having trouble using the online form, you can call USPS and ask to have a Domestic Claim Form mailed to you. Fill out the form and mail it, along with any required supporting documents, to the address on the form.
You can also ask for an insurance claim form at your local post office.
Depending on the type of mailing service used, you may be required to submit the original mailing receipts.
6Check the status of your claim online or by phone. Once your claim is submitted, follow up by logging onto the USPS website and looking at your claims history. You can also access your claims history by clicking the “Start an Online Claim” button on the USPS claims website and logging in: https://www.usps.com/help/claims.htm. Alternatively, call the Accounting Services Help Desk at 1-866-974-2733.
To check your claim status by phone, you will need to provide your name, tracking number, and the shipping date.
Method 3 of 3:Filing an International ClaimTired of ads? Upgrade to Pro
1Go to USPS.com and create an account. If you don't already have an account, you will need to create one before you can create an online claim. Go to USPS.com and click the Register/Sign In link in the upper righthand corner of the page to set up an account.
2Create an International Inquiry online if you are a US sender. Filing an international claim is more complicated than filing a domestic claim, since USPS has to coordinate with the postal service in the recipient's country. For most types of international mail, only the sender in the US can initiate a claim. If you are the sender, start the process by visiting the USPS claims page: https://www.usps.com/help/claims.htm. Then go to the “International Shipments” tab and click the “Create an Inquiry” button. You will be prompted to log in with your USPS account.
For Priority Mail International or Registered Mail Service packages, either the sender or the addressee can file a claim. However, only the US sender can initiate an inquiry online.
3Enter your international tracking number. When you follow the link to create an inquiry, you will be prompted to log into your USPS account. Start by entering your tracking number, and any other requested information about your package.
International tracking numbers are 13 digits long, and start with a combination of letters such as EA-EZ, CA-CZ, HC-HZ, RA-RZ, or LB, LH, LK, LM, LX, LY, or LZ. The tracking number will end in US.
4Call the International Research Group if you are the addressee. If you are a non-US recipient and would like to initiate an inquiry on a lost or damaged package, call 800-222-1811. The USPS will look into the status of your package and contact the US sender with instructions for filing a claim.
Since the claim itself must be filed by the US sender in most cases, try to contact the sender and coordinate with them before you call and submit your inquiry.
5Follow the correct timeframe for submitting your claim. If you receive a package with damaged or missing contents, call the International Research Group at 800-222-1811 or contact the US sender immediately to start the process of creating a claim. You must submit your inquiry no more than 60 days after the mailing date. If the package is lost, the claim must be submitted within the following timeframes:
Global Express Guaranteed: 3-30 days from the mailing date.
Priority Mail Express International: 3-90 days from the mailing date.
PMEI with Money-Back Guarantee: 3-30 days from the mailing date.
Priority Mail International: 7 days to 6 months from the mailing date.
Registered Mail: 7 days to 6 months from the mailing date.
6Fill out your claim form and submit it with supporting documents. Once you have initiated an inquiry, the USPS will investigate the situation. If they believe there is sufficient reason to file a claim, they will mail a claim form to the sender. The sender must fill out the form and provide any required documents, including:
The mailing label.
Printouts of any online order forms or invoices, if applicable.
Evidence of the value of the package (such as sales receipts, invoices, credit card statements, or an appraisal from a reputable dealer). You must provide evidence of value in order to file a claim successfully.
Proof of damage to the package, including the original mailing container, photographs of the damaged package and its contents, and a description of the package contents and their value.
7Call the Accounting Help Desk to check the status of your claim. For information about your claim, call 800-974-2733. You will need to provide your name, the date of shipment, and the tracking number or article number.