The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. Do you have that kind of money to spare?
Emailing sensitive documents is too risky in this age of malware and hackers. It’s better to go old-school and mail your sensitive documents using the United States Postal Service.
But wait–is the USPS really the best way to mail important documents? What is the safest way to mail important documents? Is first class mail insured?
Not all mailing methods are created equal. Keep reading to learn the differences so you can make the best decision for your documents.
The Safest Way to Mail Important Documents
Just as shoppers are wary of online shopping, people are concerned about sending their secure documents over the internet.
There are over 200 federal laws that protect mail sent through USPS, which makes it much less likely to be breached than an email.
According to USPS, mail is federally protected when it is in possession of a postal worker, a post office, or in a mailbox. Protection ends when the addressee or an agent of the addressee receives the mail.
For standard mail, this protection is great. For important documents, how can you be sure that the correct addressee receives it?
USPS Certificate of Mailing
Certified mail delivery is a service that provides proof of mailing and delivery. No matter what shipping method you choose, you should ensure that it is has a USPS Certificate of Mailing.
A timestamp is recorded at every point in the mailing process, which includes every post office that the letter travels through.
The sender can view this information in their secure USPS Certified Mail account for up to 10 years after delivery. This information is also available up to 90 days through the USPS website.
Adding a signature requirement is up to you because you will be notified when your mail is delivered. Of course, it’s still a good idea to require a signature for extremely important documents.
USPS Certificate of Mailing is not available for every shipping method, so check if you need to purchase it as an add-on.
USPS Domestic Mailing
Some services are a one-shop stop for all your secure mailing needs. However, it is also possible to buy some add-ons to make the cheaper options more secure.
Here are the three best options for domestic mailing.
Priority Mail Express
The less time spent in transit, the less likely your documents could be lost or damaged. Mailing your documents with Priority Mail Express guarantees next-day delivery.
Insurance up to $100 is included. You also have the option to buy extra insurance if necessary.
Tracking information is included with Priority Mail Express, but you must specify that you would like to require a signature. This service begins at $25.50, making it the most expensive domestic option.
Priority Mail + Signature Confirmation
Priority Mail is like Priority Mail Express, but it only includes $50 worth of insurance. We recommend including a signature confirmation as an add-on for peace of mind that your documents get to the correct person.
With this option, your letter will arrive in 1-3 business days, depending on how far it’s traveling. Tracking is included.
This is a cheaper option than Priority Mail Express, starting at $6.95. Signature confirmation is $3.05 extra.
First Class Mail + Certified Mail + Return Receipt
First Class Mail is the most affordable option, though you will need to purchase some add-ons to ensure your documents gets to their destination safely.
Your documents will still get to the recipient within 1-3 business days since it is still shipping first class.
You will have to purchase a certificate of mailing and the return receipt separately. Insurance is included only for packages shipped first class, so it may not be the best option for documents requiring insurance.
This is the most affordable option of the USPS domestic services, with First Class starting at $0.55. Certificate of mailing will cost you $1.45 extra, and the return receipt will cost $4.20.
USPS International Mailing
Even though international tourism is on the rise this year, international mail may seem risky.
However, emailing sensitive documents to foreign IP addresses is even riskier. Different countries have different online security standards, meaning they may be easier to breach.
The United States Postal Service is still the safest option for international mailing.
With all the international shipping options, you can include a signature requirement for an additional $3.05. It may be a wise decision, especially since your documents are traveling across the globe.
Global Express Guaranteed Insurance
Global Express Guaranteed is the quickest and most comprehensive international shipping method. It will deliver your documents in 1-3 business days to over 190 countries.
Insurance is included up to $100, though you can purchase more if you’d like. The insurance will cover your document if it is lost or damaged in transit.
Tracking is also included so you can easily check your document’s travels. Global Express Guaranteed starts at $67.80.
Priority Mail Express International Insurance
A more affordable shipping method is Priority Mail Express. It will deliver your documents in 3-5 business days to over 190 countries.
Insurance is included up to $100 for document reconstruction, and tracking is included in the service.
This is a great option if your documents aren’t urgent and can wait a couple more days. Pricing starts at $44, and with flat rate envelopes, you only pay one price depending on the country you are shipping to.
Priority Mail International Insurance
Priority Mail International is the slowest but cheapest of your international options. Your document will reach its destination in 6-10 business days.
This may be the best option for things that are not time-sensitive. But remember, the longer something stays in transit, the more opportunity it has to be lost.
Thankfully, Priority Mail International also includes $100 of insurance for document reconstruction. Tracking is also included.
The most affordable option, pricing starts at only $25.85 and will ship to over 190 countries. Like Priority Mail Express, there is also flat-rate pricing depending on the destination country.
Make an Informed Decision
Use this information to determine the safest way to mail important documents. Only you know how quickly the letter needs to reach the recipient and how much insurance it needs.
No matter what method you choose, just make sure that it includes a USPS Certificate of Mailing and a signature.
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