Does Priority mail insurance cover postage?

Priority Mail is a service offered by the United States Postal Service that provides expedited shipping within 1-3 business days. Priority Mail offers several services like tracking, free packaging supplies, and free insurance on packages. This insurance covers the contents of the package up to $100 in value at no additional cost. However, one question that often comes up is – does the free insurance provided with Priority Mail also cover the postage costs if the package is lost or damaged?

The quick answer is no, Priority Mail’s free insurance does not cover postage costs if the package is lost or damaged. The insurance only covers the value of the contents of the package, up to $100. The postage costs are not covered. If a Priority Mail package is lost or damaged to the point that it cannot be delivered, the sender can file a claim to recover the value of the contents, but not the postage costs. The postage costs are the responsibility of the sender.

What does Priority Mail’s Free Insurance Cover?

Priority Mail’s free insurance covers the actual value of contents of the package in case of damage or loss, up to a maximum of $100. The insurance is provided at no additional cost when you purchase Priority Mail postage. Here is what the insurance covers:

  • Reimbursement for the actual value of contents that are lost, stolen, or damaged, up to $100.
  • Coverage for merchandise such as jewelry, electronics, computers etc.
  • Replacement or repair costs if the contents arrive damaged.
  • Cost of materials and labor if the contents need to be repaired.
  • Loss from fire, weather conditions, robbery, or breakage.

As long as you can provide proof of value of the contents, you can get reimbursed for the loss by filing an insurance claim. So the insurance essentially covers the value of your package’s contents and protects you from losses if the items are damaged or lost in transit.

What does Priority Mail’s Insurance Not Cover?

There are some limitations on what Priority Mail’s free insurance covers. Here are some things that the insurance does NOT cover:

  • The postage costs – If the package is lost or damaged, the initial postage costs paid are not covered.
  • Packages that contain prohibited items – The insurance is void if the package contains hazardous, illegal or prohibited items.
  • Damage caused by improper packaging – The insurance does not cover damage caused due to inadequate packaging.
  • Loss/damage after delivery – Damage or loss occurring after the package was successfully delivered is not covered.
  • Delays in delivery – The insurance does not cover losses incurred due to a package being delayed.
  • Consequential losses – Any consequential losses due to loss/damage of items are generally not covered.

So in essence, the Priority Mail insurance only covers the actual contents and their replacement value. Any additional costs associated with the package, loss from delays, prohibited contents etc. are not covered under the basic insurance.

How to Insure Priority Mail Packages Above $100

The maximum coverage under Priority Mail’s basic insurance is $100. If you are sending items that are worth more than $100, you need to purchase additional insurance. Here are the options for insuring Priority Mail packages valued over $100:

  • Declared Value insurance – You can purchase additional coverage based on the declared value of the package’s contents. The declared value can range from $101 up to $5,000.
  • Priority Mail Express insurance – Priority Mail Express provides coverage up to $100 included in the postage. You can add additional insurance up to a maximum coverage of $5,000.
  • Commercial insurance – For high value items over $5,000, you need to purchase commercial insurance using Registered Mailâ„ ̆ service.

To purchase additional Priority Mail insurance for items over $100, you need to visit the Post Office and pay an insurance fee. The fee is based on the full value you declare for the package contents. Make sure you declare the true total value, as declaring lower value voids the coverage.

How to File an Insurance Claim on Damaged/Lost Priority Mail

If your Priority Mail package was lost, stolen or arrived damaged, here are the steps to file an insurance claim:

  1. Report the loss or damage – Contact USPS within 14 days and report the loss or damage. For damaged items, keep the items, packaging and any evidence.
  2. File a claim – Obtain a claim form from the Post Office or USPS website. Fill out details like mailing date, tracking number, damage/loss details, value of contents etc.
  3. Provide documentation – Attach documentation like original receipts, repair estimates, invoices or appraisals to prove the value of lost/damaged contents.
  4. Submit claim form – Submit the completed claim form and documentation to the address given on the form within 60 days of mailing.
  5. Examination – Damaged items may be requested by USPS to be submitted for inspection.
  6. Processing – It takes up to 30 days for USPS to process the insurance claim after receiving all details.
  7. Payment – If approved, a check for the covered loss amount will be mailed out to the original purchaser of the postage.

The key things to ensure are timely reporting, detailed and accurate information on the claim form, and sufficient evidence to support your claimed amount. Keep copies of all documents submitted. If your claim is rejected, you can file an appeal for reconsideration.

Steps to Minimize Risk of Loss/Damage

You can take some proactive steps to minimize chances of damage or loss when sending Priority Mail packages:

  • Package contents carefully – Use new boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts and other cushioning material to pack items securely.
  • Seal package tightly – Use strong tape and seal all openings, seams and loose flaps securely.
  • Address correctly – Handwrite or print addresses clearly with correct details.
  • Add insurance for high value items – Purchase additional insurance coverage based on value of contents.
  • Add tracking – Upgrading to Priority Mail Express adds tracking which helps locate lost packages.
  • Waive signature – For valuable packages, waive signature so they are not left unattended.
  • Declare full value – Be truthful when declaring value for insurance purposes.
  • Document package contents – Keep detailed records of contents and value, for insurance claims.

With proper precautions, you can minimize chances of issues with Priority Mail. But the included insurance provides peace of mind if a loss does occur.


In summary, the free insurance provided with Priority Mail only covers the actual value of the contents of a package, up to a maximum of $100. It does not provide any coverage for the postage costs. If a Priority Mail package is lost or damaged to the extent that it cannot be delivered, the sender can file an insurance claim and recover the value of the contents, minus the original postage paid.

To protect against losses greater than $100, additional insurance needs to be purchased based on the package’s declared value. Priority Mail insurance provides protection only against physical damage or loss of contents. It does not cover delays, consequential losses, prohibited items, etc. Follow USPS claims procedures and provide documentation to successfully get reimbursed for insured losses. With proper packaging and insurance for high-value contents, Priority Mail is a reliable shipping solution for ecommerce sellers and businesses.

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