If you’ve shipped anything recently, it’s no secret: a lot of packages in the USPS network have gotten lost or have arrived super late. USPS is under a lot of strain right now due to COVID-19, facing the largest backlog in the organization’s history, although things seem to be looking up lately. Still, due to the sheer amount of late packages people are dealing with, claiming shipping insurance is all the rage. A common question people ask me nowadays is, “Can I combine USPS insurance with third-party insurance?” Of course, like practically everything else in the shipping world, the answer isn’t as simple as a “yes” or “no.”
There’s No Policy Against Combining USPS Insurance with Third-Party Insurance
Shippers sometimes use this tactic to save a buck or two on insurance for their Priority Mail shipments by “combining” USPS insurance with third-party protection. They figure they’ve already got $100 of coverage*, so they should just pay for the difference left over…right?
Let’s look at a quick example. Imagine your total package value for a Priority Mail shipment is $400. There’s really nothing preventing you from declaring $300 of value from a third-party insurance provider, and relying on the $100 of automatic USPS insurance if you need to file a claim for whatever reason.
That said, while this is something you can do, it’s not the easiest option for you at the end of the day. The reason we advise against this is because it’s simply too cumbersome to file two separate claims for a single package. Therefore, the cleanest way to protect your packages with shipping insurance is to rely solely on your third-party provider. That way, the insurance company will pay out your total declared value in one sitting, as simple as that.
Declaring the Full Value of Your Item is the Easiest Way to Protect Yourself
If you try to claim both USPS and third-party insurance, you may end up doing more work than you have to. Third-party insurance providers will often ask if you’ve filed a claim with your carrier for the included insurance, and if so, they’ll deduct it from the total payout. They may also ask you to file to prove that the package is lost before they pay out any claim money on their end. To be frank, it’ll turn a whole wild goose chase…and from our experience, you want to avoid the USPS website as much as possible, if you can help it.
So, what’s our suggestion here? When it comes to declaring value, just do it in one fell swoop with a third-party insurance provider. It typically only costs a buck or so for each $100 of declared value, anyway, and it’s worth it to make the insurance process as easy on yourself as possible.
*Note: Priority Mail comes with $50 of insurance at the Post Office, but $100 of insurance when you use shipping software to buy postage online.