She finally sold that item on ebay and is very happy she packed and shipped it on time only to receive a message that the item was damaged in shipping. now you ask yourself the question, “how do i file an insurance claim with usps?”
During the early years of flipping, I had to learn the hard way the importance of securing my packages before sending them. I often shipped my sold items without insuring them. not a good business plan!
Honestly, the odds are really against us when we ship without insurance. Have you seen how they handle your packages? sometimes it’s a miracle that they can even reach their destinations!
If you know me, I don’t like wasting money. That’s why I used to ship most of my packages uninsured. but, as I started selling bigger and more expensive items, and some big damage refunds, the need to insure my packages became more apparent.
Today, my items are not being shipped to my clients without insurance. it’s that easy. I learned how to file an insurance claim with USPS and it has been an invaluable part of my investment business.
cost of usps insurance against the risk of damage
- $50.01 to $100 is $2.05
- $100.01 to $200 is $2.45
- $200.01 to $300 is $4.60
- the price for an additional $100 of insurance, valued between $300 up to $5,000, is $4.60 more $0.90 for each $100 or fraction thereof
- priority mail service is covered up to $50 at no additional charge
As you can see from the chart above, there is a small cost to insure shipments, and in my opinion, it’s well worth the cost! insurance through usps is a bit higher in price than what i pay when shipping with other carriers by comparison, but still worth every penny if my item arrives damaged to the buyer!
In all honesty, packages get damaged more than I’d like so it’s extremely important to know how to file an insurance claim with usps and having insurance is very important.
So your item arrives damaged and the question arises: how exactly do you file an insurance claim with usps? Today, I will guide you step by step on how to file insurance claims with USPS in the event that you have a package that was damaged when it was shipped.
Let’s get started!
Get proof that your item was damaged
This is the first step in the claims process and an important one. When you receive a message that your item was damaged during shipping, start a good dialogue with the buyer through eBay. Although it is not my fault that the item is damaged, I always apologize to my buyer for the inconvenience.
having a compassionate attitude towards them will generally allay any disappointment the buyer may have about receiving the damaged item. this will be a great start to solving the open case.
Make sure the buyer sends you pictures of the packaging and pictures of the item’s damage. this is very important both for you as a seller and for proof of damage for the claim.
if the item you sold is not very expensive, sometimes usps won’t require photos, but in any case, it’s important to get the photos so you have proof that it was damaged.
if you determine it was damaged during shipping, your next step will be to file a claim with usps.
file a claim usps online
information you will need to collect to start your usps damage claim:
- tracking number and shipping date
- proof of value
- proof of insurance purchased
- proof of damage or loss of content
- estimate of repair costs
- official claim form when not filed online
You can start your damage claim by going directly to usps.com. On the home page, you will go to the “help” dropdown menu and choose “file a claim.” this is where a new claim for damages will begin.
After choosing to start a claim, you will need to enter the tracking number and ship date of the item you sold. if you printed your label through ebay, you can go back to your items sold on ebay and copy and paste the tracking number on the claim form.
while looking at your item sold on ebay, you will also be able to find the ship date of your item. you will also need to provide this on the form. After entering the tracking number and shipping date, a claim page will open for you to complete.
proof of value will be required to settle your claim by usps mail. you will be able to get that information on the sales page through ebay. the proof is simply how much the item sold for. If you made the sale outside of eBay, you will need to upload a receipt or proof of how much your item sold for.
The same goes for any item you’ve shipped, even if it’s not an ebay sale. you would need to upload a receipt for the cost of the item. This will provide the necessary proof to USPS that the item is worth what you say it is worth.
evidence of purchased insurance
Insurance companies are good at taking your money, but things get a bit more complicated when they have to pay the claim. they want proof that you insured your package so they can reimburse you.
if you purchased your shipping label through ebay, it will be automatically filled in the online file claim form. You can also view your tag history on eBay and it will show on your tag receipt if you purchased insurance.
This will be necessary to finalize your claim. Trust me, they don’t want to pay any claims they don’t need to. so please be sure to provide proof that you purchased insurance on your item before shipping.
When you start a good dialogue with your buyer about the damaged item, be sure to tell them to keep all of the original packaging and contents (including the box, bubble wrap, Styrofoam, and paper).
If USPS asks how you packaged your item, this will be proof. as further proof for me i take pictures while i pack it. that way, if the buyer throws away the contents of the package, I’ll still have proof that I packaged it correctly.
the usps may want to pick up the damaged item to do their own damage inspection, especially if the item is worth a lot of money. remember, don’t get excited about paying damage claims.
Please ask the buyer to keep the original item and packaging until the claim is resolved, unless of course USPS decides to remove the damaged item from the buyer. This will cover you if the photos are not enough for usps to settle your damage claim.
estimated repair costs
Requesting an estimate of repair costs by the USPS is less common during the claims process. however, when selling larger and more expensive ones through other carriers, I have heard the carrier request a written estimate for the repair.
Ultimately, USPS is trying to do damage control. they can, if possible, lower the amount they pay you to repair the item instead of covering the full cost of the item, you better believe they will try.
When an item you sold is a high-priced item that has been damaged, USPS reserves the right to find out how much it costs to repair the damage instead of paying you directly for the cost of the item.
If this is necessary, at some point during the course of your damage claim, USPS will require you to obtain this estimate. most likely after they have picked up the item and returned it to you free of charge.
usps official claim form when not filed online
Currently, most claims are filed electronically through usps.com. however, some people may want to skip the online portion. many prefer to go directly to the post office to complete the paper claim form. this is a previously preferred method that was used. you could now set up a reduced ability to track claim progress.
however, claims can still be filed on paper rather than online, if you choose. After you fill out the claim form at your local post office, USPS will pick it up from there.
Make sure you get a copy of all documentation, including a USPS receipt. save everything you filled out to track the progress of your claim. this way you have proof that you archived it.
usps package not moving?
When you ship your package and insure it, you’re covered.
not only for shipping damage, but also for a lost package.
when you monitor and track your package and see that it doesn’t move and stops updating. when there is no more information about the item, it may be because the item has been lost. If this is the case, you are still covered by insurance and can still file an insurance claim with USPS.
A few years ago, I sold a bunch of sleep number beds. they are puffy mattresses made with a lot of padding, so naturally I thought it couldn’t be damaged. I shipped the mattress without insurance thinking I wouldn’t need the insurance. I thought it was practically impossible to damage a quilted mattress!
Boy, was I wrong. I hadn’t thought about the possibility that they could actually lose a mattress!
Unfortunately, it happened and one of the mattresses on the bed was lost in shipping. I was forced to give the buyer a full refund. It would have been worth the few dollars to purchase the insurance to save me from reimbursing several hundred dollars. It was a learning experience for sure!
lost packets don’t happen often, but they do happen. I learned a valuable lesson in my experience. I realized that it is always good to ensure that my packages are covered for both damage and loss.
How long does an insurance claim take?
As soon as you discover that the shipped item has been damaged and you have received photos of both the packaging and the damaged item, open an insurance claim online immediately. the quicker you do this, the quicker the claim will be resolved and your money refunded.
having all the information organized in front of you will help you have all the correct information to complete the claim form. filling out the claim form is the easy part.
speaking of past experiences, from the very beginning when i file a claim with usps and the claim is resolved. It usually ends in about two weeks. if the item is more expensive, it may take a little longer. they will most likely stop paying the claim.
How long do I have to file a claim with USPS?
Most carriers have a time limit for filing a damage claim. starting at the time you ship your item to the buyer. concluding in the time it takes for the buyer to open a claim for damages. This protects USPS from someone receiving an item and sitting on it for up to 6 months. who then proceeds to open a claim for damages many months later.
It would be too much of a risk for usps to have someone use the item and cause the damage just to file a damage claim, so they put time limits on how long you have to open a damage claim.
You have up to 60 days to file an insurance claim with usps. from the original date the item was shipped to the buyer.
Does the buyer or seller file a USPS claim?
this can sometimes be confusing as the buyer has the item and all the packaging. but the proper way to file usps insurance claims is for the seller to open the claim.
buyer will always be covered by ebay’s 30 day money back guarantee. this means that they will certainly get a refund from you, regardless of whether you have insurance or not.
Because you’ll have to reimburse the buyer no matter what, it’s always best to have the seller of the item handle the claim to ensure you get a refund for the damaged item.
Once the buyer gets their money back for the item, they will often lose interest and be much less motivated by any claims. so he definitely doesn’t want them to be in control of opening the claim.
open an insurance claim with usps
opening the claim first will give the seller full control. this builds trust to make sure the claim is handled efficiently and effectively until it is closed in your favor.
As you know, I love flipping articles! it’s my passion. So to make my item flipping experience even easier, I always add insurance. I do not allow any of my items to be shipped without proper and necessary insurance. The small price of insurance is worth it to lessen the risk of having to reimburse buyers or damaged items.
I’m not a gambler type and this is not an area to mess around with. I definitely don’t want to bet on usps whether or not they lose or damage my shipped items. It’s not good for my business and it’s not good for yours either.
always purchase shipping insurance. (For priority items worth less than $50, you do not need to purchase additional insurance.) If you do this, it will be easy to file an insurance claim with USPS and get reimbursed for any damaged or lost shipments.
have you shipped items on ebay? Are you interested in flipping as a side hustle? check out our free introductory webinar today!
usps website to file a claim
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