What to Do If Your Mail Has Been Lost by USPS

If your mail is lost by USPS, you can file a claim with USPS, check with your local post office or postmaster, report to the National Consumer Complaint Database, or contact your local consumer protection agency. You can also monitor online tracking services, review your mail insurance policy, and potentially seek legal action if the item is of significant value.

If your mail has been lost, missing, or left neglected for 7 days or more from the day of delivery, you can take the following action.

1. File a Claim with the USPS 

You (the sender) or the receiver can file a missing claim with USPS. The company will initiate a search operation to locate and deliver the mail to the recipient.

2. Check with Your Local Post Office

You can also connect with the local post office to track the package. Depending on your personal circumstances, you can contact the post office over the phone or in person.

3. Check with Your Local Postmaster

Alternatively, you can contact the local postmaster, who is the post office manager. Since the postmaster will have more authority, you can expect a faster resolution.

4. Contact the National Consumer Complaint Database

If you are unhappy with how USPS handles your lost mail complaint, you can report the issue to the National Consumer Complaint Database.

Navigate to the USPS website section associated with handling customer service/customer complaints, which will lead you to the National Consumer Complaint Database.

5. Contact Your Local Consumer Protection Agency

You can also take help from government-facilitated consumer protection agencies to resolve your issue. You will have to research which consumer protection agency operates in your area.

Once you locate the agency, you can file a complaint against USPS. The agency will review everything and contact USPS on your behalf to address the issue.

6. Utilize Online Tracking Services

USPS provides a highly efficient tracking system to check the mail’s progress during transportation. While taking the necessary steps, keep reviewing the tracking details to see if there is any new update.

7. Review Your Mail Insurance Policy

For packages mailed through Priority Mail Services, an insurance claim can be filed post 15 days of the shipment notification. For other mail insurance coverage purchased by you, look for information regarding the steps to be taken for lost packages.

8. Determine If Your Mail Was Delivered

If the mail was intended to be delivered to someone else, reach out to the person again to check whether the item got delivered. Sometimes, packages left nearby go unnoticed.

9. Seek Legal Action

Occasionally, USPS may fail to locate your missing mail, or they may handle your case inappropriately. Upon evaluation, if you find the lost item worth a lawsuit, you can seek legal action against USPS.

10. Small Claims Court

If the lost mail does not hold significant value, you can file a claim in small claims court. Such courts handle cases of low value that do not require extensive legal proceedings.

What Are Some Tips for Ensuring Your Mail Is Delivered on Time?

Here are a few tips to ensure timely delivery of your USPS packages.

Accurate Information

It’s important to include accurate and complete information on the shipping label. Other than the recipient’s information, you should also include a return address so that the mail can be sent back to you in case of any delivery issues. Custom forms should be filled as well (if applicable) to prevent any hold-ups at customs.

Proper Packaging

Different logistics companies have different guidelines regarding product packaging. For instance, specific fragile items have additional packaging requirements than standard items. So, it helps to familiarize oneself with the packaging guidelines to facilitate a smooth delivery.

Choose the Right Shipping Service

Depending on how quickly and securely you want the mail delivered, you must choose the appropriate shipping service. For time-sensitive deliveries, you need to choose a service that aligns well with your delivery needs. It’s also advisable to ship packages a few days in advance during peak holiday seasons.

Inform the Recipient

For packages intended for someone else, inform the recipient about the expected delivery times. Often, packages get delayed due to the non-availability of the recipient at the time of package delivery. Informing the recipient will also aid in taking timely action if the mail is not delivered on schedule.

What Are the Most Common Reasons for USPS Mail Being Lost?

Usually, packages get lost during transit due to address errors. Sometimes, damaged barcodes or labels can hamper the delivery process, ultimately increasing the chances of the package getting lost.

Not scanning the mail properly or losing it during transportation can also result in the mail being lost. In some cases, severe weather conditions can damage the mail or cause the mail to get delayed or lost.

There are times when packages get delivered to the wrong address or get stolen from the doorsteps. Mail theft can happen from mailboxes, postal facilities, or delivery trucks. In the event of theft, it becomes extremely difficult to retrieve the lost package.

What Are the Different Types of Mail Insurance Available?

In the interest of customers, the following different types of lost claim insurance coverage are available these days.

Insurance TypeDescription
Basic LiabilityOffers limited compensation for lost or missing mail during shipping.
Declared ValueOffers increased compensation up to the declared value of the lost item.
Third-PartyProvides coverage beyond USPS for specific shipping needs.
Full-ValueCompensates the entire declared value of the item upon loss or damage.
Parcel ProSuitable for valuable shipments exceeding standard insurance coverage.
DomesticCovers domestic shipments within the United States with various options.
InternationalProvides cross-border insurance coverage up to a specified amount.
CustomsCovers customs charges, unlike standard policies that do not include customs fees and duties.

Basic Liability coverage: This insurance offers limited compensation for lost or missing mail during shipping.

Declared Value Coverage: Compared to basic coverage, this USPS insurance offers increased compensation up to the declared value of the lost item.

Third-Party Insurance: Other than USPS itself, you can get third-party insurance to cover specific needs regarding shipping.

Full-Value Insurance: Under this insurance coverage, the entire declared value of the item is compensated upon loss or damage.

Parcel Pro Insurance: Parcel Pro Insurance is suitable for valuable shipments that exceed the coverage requirements of standard insurance.

Domestic Insurance: Applicable for domestic shipments within the United States, USPS offers various domestic insurance coverages.

International Insurance: USPS also provides many cross-border insurance coverage up to a specified amount.

Customs Insurance: Unlike standard policies that do not cover customs fees and duties, Customs Insurance covers customs charges.

What Are the Consequences of Losing USPS Mail?

From financial losses, privacy issues, legal implications, dissatisfaction, and broken goodwill, losing USPS mail has many negative consequences for everyone involved. Even though the mailer can file a claim to fix things, mutual resolutions can take significant time and effort.

What Are the Steps Involved in Filing a USPS Claim?

Here are the steps for filing a lost or damaged package claim with USPS.

Check Eligibility

USPS has certain requirements regarding the claim process. You must read their claim guidelines to check if a claim can be filed in your given situation.


You will have to gather all the necessary documentation, such as the tracking number, purchase receipts, invoices, product images, and any other supporting evidence that you may have.

Fill the form

Once you gather all the documents, you can complete the claim form online or by visiting the USPS facility in person. To file a claim online, navigate to the ‘claims’ section on www.usps.com.

After the claim submission, you will receive a claim number, which can be used to check the claim’s status. Depending on the investigation, USPS may approve or deny the claim.

What Is the Time Limit for Filing a USPS Claim?

The time limit for filing a lost item claim with USPS varies from one shipping service to another.

Here are the current time limits for filing a USPS claim.

Shipping ServiceTime Limit for ClaimNotes
Domestic ShipmentsUp to 60 daysFrom the date of mailing
Priority Mail Express ShipmentsUp to 7 daysFrom the date of mailing
International ShipmentsUp to 60 daysFrom the date of mailing; may vary based on destination

Domestic Shipments: Domestic claims must be filed no longer than 60 days (from the date of mailing).

Priority Mail Express Shipments: Priority Mail Express Claims must be filed within 7 days (from the date of mailing)

International Shipments: International claims must be filed within 60 days (from the date of mailing).

That said, the time limit for international claims can vary a bit based on the destination country and the service used for mailing.

Ideally, you should file the lost mail claim as quickly as possible and not wait till the final days.

What Are the Chances of Getting Reimbursed for Lost Mail?

The USPS is run by the government. So, the claim standards are lower than other private shipping companies. However, the likelihood of reimbursement is high with insured mail. That said, it also depends on how you progress with the lost claim proceedings.