NewsNews5 Investigates


News 5 Investigates: Will insurance policies really cover lost items in the mail?

USPS reverses claim denial after insured fur coat never makes it to destination
USPS Mail Car
Posted at 3:17 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 19:03:39-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Whenever you mail a package, chances are the postal carrier will ask you if you would like to purchase insurance.

If the unfortunate happens and the package happens to get lost or damaged in transit, will you ultimately be covered?

That's the question one Colorado Springs family asked News 5 to look into after an expensive fur coat they insured never made it to its destination.

Fur coat sold on eBay
Fur coat sold on eBay

Juan Cuellar purchased insurance at the post office but when it came time to file a claim, getting reimbursed had some obstacles.

Cuellar says a fur coat his wife received as a gift didn't fit right and they decided to auction it off on eBay.

The coat sold for more than $2,200 to a buyer in Corpus Christi, TX.

Somehow, the coat got lost in transit.

USPS Letter
USPS letter Ceullar received

"An empty container or label with your address was found in the mail and is believed to have been separated from a parcel during handling," USPS said in a letter to Cuellar.

At the time, Cuellar wasn't too concerned because he had purchased insurance.

"I paid the insurance," he said. "I didn't anticipate any issues. I've never had an issue before."

When it came time to file a claim, Cuellar got a denial letter.

An appeal was also denied.

"Because the coat was a gift, I didn't have a (sales) receipt," he said. "I mentioned that to the post office."

Juan Cuellar
Juan Cuellar talking with Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Ross

In both denial letters, USPS told Cuellar he didn't provide "acceptable proof" of how much he paid for the coat.

Since it was a gift, he only had an appraisal that was performed prior to the sale.

At first, USPS said that wasn't acceptable proof either.

"I've just been given the runaround," he said.

According to the USPS web site, "proof of value" is defined as the cost or value or an item at the time it was mailed.

In order to show this proof, USPS requests any of the following be submitted:

-Sales receipt
-Bill of Sale or paid invoice
-Credit card billing statement
-Online invoice for Internet purchases

You can read a full list of policies/procedures when it comes to insurance claims with USPS here.

Other shipping providers:

FedEx has similar policies in order to file an insurance claim---including asking customers for the original invoice or a sales receipt.

However, the company does say that appraisals may be considered acceptable proof, per its policies online.

UPS doesn't specifically mention that a sales receipt is required for a claim to be processed, but the company does ask customers to provide detailed descriptions of items lost along with photographs.

For expensive electronics, serial numbers are also important to process a claim.

Circling back to Ceullar's case, he's just searching for a resolution after paying for insurance.

"I see how effective you guys are when it comes to being advocates for us, the consumer," Ceullar said.

News 5 Investigates reached out to USPS and the company was extremely responsive in researching what happened.

A spokesperson for USPS immediately reviewed the matter and got back to us with good news about this case.

"I received information that the claim was approved and that the customer can expect to receive reimbursement in 7 – 10 days," a USPS spokesperson said. "Thank you for reaching out and glad for a positive outcome."

Have a problem or issue you'd like our News 5 Investigates team to look into? Email us: