Anyone who goes to the post office regularly to mail packages is familiar with the question drill. Is there anything hazardous in the package? Do you need delivery confirmation? Do you need postal insurance? And so on.
So what happens when you decide that a package is worth insuring, you buy the miniature policy, and (believe it or not) you actually need to file a claim because the package was indeed “lost in the mail”? Now that I’ve had personal experience with this scenario, I can tell you all about the process of filing a postal insurance claim for a lost package (which is different from riling a claim for a damaged package). Provided that you keep your paperwork in order and remain patient with the USPS red tape, it’s not overly complicated.
Here are the basics for filing a postal insurance claim for a lost package (aka a “complete loss”):
1. Before you get to file a claim, you need to “know” that said lost package was officially lost. You must wait three weeks (21 days) from the date of mailing and correspond definitively with the recipient to confirm that it was not received. Don’t even try to begin the process any sooner because the form will not be accepted by your friendly postal worker.
2. Once the 21 days have passed, you begin the paperwork. All of the following are necessary, assuming that your postal insurance claim is domestic:
· The PS Form 1000 (aka Domestic Claim or Registered Mail Inquiry)
· Proof of the postal insurance policy
· Statement of the lost package
· Proof of the lost package’s value
The PS Form 1000 is available for download on the USPS site, but you can also get it at any post office. Although a little tedious, it’s easy to complete. The proof of insurance should also be painless to provide, since presumably you kept the little insurance ticket after you mailed the package (or printed out the confirmation if you bought it online).
The statement of the lost package can be any signed letter by the intended recipient stating that they did not receive the package, but – and this is crucial – the statement must be dated at least 21 days after the package was mailed. The only exception to this comes when the item was either “numbered insured” or insured for more than $50 via the web (no certification of loss is then needed).
The final bit of documentation required is proof of the lost package’s value, which can be anything from a receipt (the easiest) to a credit card statement or even a picture of the item in a catalog with details about how and where you bought it. I erred on the side of caution and provided multiple pieces of evidence of the lost package’s worth.
3. To file the claim for your lost package, you must physically take your paperwork to a post office, where a clerk will collect your documentation. Then, all you have to do is sit back and wait – a little over a month – for a check to be mailed to you. And hope the lost package doesn’t suddenly turn up, possibly rendering your claim void.
My own experience with filing a postal insurance claim for a lost package was hassle-free, but that’s because I wasn’t in a hurry and I had all my documentation together, including receipts and debit card statements. Be sure to read all the forms and check out www.usps.com for even more detailed rules about postal insurance.