How to Protect Important Documents When Mailing Them via the USPS

How to Protect Important Documents When Mailing Them via the USPS Although some people think that regular mail cannot be trusted with important documents, you absolutely can mail documents via the United States Postal Service. However, it is advisable to take a few extra steps to better protect them. What should you do to make sure your documents are protected during transportation?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is generally regarded as a safe way to mail important documents. Besides, it offers a range of additional services that can help to ensure the security and confidentiality of your mail. What are these services and how else can you protect your sensitive documents?

Pay Extra for Certified Mail or Registered Mail

Certified Mail and Registered Mail are two USPS services that provide senders with proof of mailing and delivery. For an additional fee, you get a receipt that verifies you mailed the item and electronic verification that your shipment was delivered or that a delivery attempt was made; a record of delivery is kept at the post office for a specified period of time. These services are great for mailing sensitive items, including various documents. But what is the difference between Certified Mail and Registered Mail?

Registered Mail offers extra security and insurance coverage for irreplaceable documents, whereas Certified Mail doesn’t. However, this means that Registered Mail is slower than Certified Mail (since all shipments are handled manually), as well as more expensive. Besides, Certified Mail is available only for domestic shipments, while Registered Mail is available for both domestic and international shipments.

When you need to mail legal documents that don’t require additional security and can be replaced if need be, Certified Mail is you best option because it offers proof of mailing and delivery at a reasonable fee. However, this is only true for domestic shipments; when you mail documents internationally, Registered Mail is the only option.

Think About Restricted Delivery

If it is crucial for you that the documents are delivered only to the intended recipient or their authorized agent, you can pay a little extra for Restricted Delivery. Restricted Delivery is a separate service from Certified Mail and Registered Mail; it can be purchased in addition to either of these services.

Choose Priority Mail Express When Your Documents Are Time-Sensitive

All USPS mail services can be used to mail documents in large envelopes, but when time is of essence, Priority Mail Express is your best choice for domestic delivery. Priority Mail Express shipments arrive on the next day or within two days. When shipping documents internationally, you can choose Global Express Guaranteed (delivery in 1–3 business days) or Priority Mail Express International (delivery in 3–5 business days). Of course, express delivery is not cheap, but it is worth paying more to ensure your time-sensitive documents arrive promptly.

Choose the Right Envelope

The United States Postal Service offers a range of envelopes you can use to mail documents. Legal envelopes are just the right size for legal documents; you can get a Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Legal Envelope for free and not worry about having to calculate shipping cost because “flat rate” means “fixed price of shipping”. These envelopes are sturdy enough to protect your documents from damage during transit because they are specifically designed for mailing documents.

However, if you want your documents to have a little extra protection, you can get a Tyvek envelope that is made from a lightweight, durable, tear- and puncture-resistant, moisture-resistant, and flame-resistant material. Just like legal envelopes, Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express Tyvek envelopes are available at no extra cost; however, they are not Flat Rate.

You can also use a rigid cardboard envelope to prevent creasing or bending, but in this case you won’t be able to mail your documents via First-Class Mail. The USPS treats rigid envelopes as packages, ships them via USPS Ground Advantage, and charges accordingly.

Regardless of what kind of envelope you choose, make sure to seal and label it properly. Make sure that the recipient’s address is accurate and complete. Don’t forget to include the return address in case the documents need to be returned to you (for example, after a series of failed delivery attempts).