Direct Mail

USPS Insufficient Address

By 9 March 2024April 29th, 2024No Comments
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What Is Insufficient Address USPS and How to Resolve It?

Mailing an item only to get it back after a few days or weeks can be distressing!

Imagine you spend hours packing and shipping a hundred items, and USPS sends half of them back to you with an ‘insufficient address’ tag.

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We understand how frustrating such situations can be, making it crucial to learn what does insufficient address mean! The Post Office provides customers with various mailing services suiting your needs. But, you must prepare your items properly and label them the right way to help USPS deliver them. 

However, it’s easier said than done, right? 

Thus, we have compiled this guide on the meaning of insufficient addresses and how to resolve this problem!

Let’s begin!

What Does Insufficient Address Mean USPS?

The ‘insufficient address’ means that your mailing address is incorrect or incomplete in some way. USPS cannot deliver your items because a fundamental portion of the mailing address is missing. Thus, the postal employees return your mailpieces, allowing you to make the necessary corrections and mail them again.

Often, the address is not incomplete, but it is undeliverable. USPS refers to such addresses as ‘Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA).’ There are also other reasons your address is insufficient, like:

  • You forgot to pay the postage to affix the correct number of stamps.
  • Your recipients moved to another location but failed to provide a forwarding address.
  • Your database is outdated, and some addresses in your lists are under construction or vacant, restricting USPS from delivering your mailpieces.

Why Do You See the USPS Insufficient Address Message?

You may get this update because of an error on the sender’s or recipient’s end, causing USPS to return the items. Perhaps, a customer gave you an incorrect address, or you wrote it down on your package label in unreadable handwriting.

Remember, the Post Office may not deliver your items only because an apartment number or street directional is missing. You can think that these aspects aren’t necessary or crucial, but they can account for an insufficient address.

It is advisable to always cross-check the address with the recipients before mailing anything. Also, ditch the old-school way of writing addresses by hand on your envelopes or labels. Instead, print them using at least a 10-point size so USPS equipment can read your addresses accurately.

This practice reduces the risk of dealing with a USPS incomplete address and saves money on reshipping items! Also, it helps you offer better and faster shipping services to your customers by mailing orders accurately the first time.

Often, torn labels also become a cause of incomplete address USPS. Thus, they can only see half of your address which isn’t enough for USPS to deliver your mail.

Try covering your address labels with clear tape as an insufficient address USPS fix. It saves your addresses from smudging if the package gets wet during rain. The postal workers do their best to cover the envelopes and parcels! But, the clear tape acts as a precautionary measure against potential problems!

Where Might I Get the USPS Alert Insufficient Address?

Typically, you get the message for insufficient address on your tracking page. The postal outlets update this information as soon as possible after they realize something is wrong with your mailing details!

It can happen at any stage of the delivery cycle, but you are more likely to get this alert during the last leg. Usually, the destination sectional center facility (SCF) changes the tracking update when it narrows down your location data and finds an incomplete address.

For example, imagine yourself writing the entire address correctly but forgetting to write the street name. Your items might make it through the USPS network until they reach the destination city, that is the last or second last point of delivery. The postal workers do not know where to go ahead from this point and endorse your item with ‘USPS insufficient address- return to sender.’

Sometimes, the local Post Office holds the mailpieces for a few days so the recipient can come and collect them. Other times, USPS directly re-routes the items back to the origin center if the insufficient address is unclear or the recipient’s name is also missing.

The good news is that the postal employees at the Post Office counter might check your address labels during posting and ask you to make the necessary changes. However, it requires you to manually carry the items to the Post Office and lodge them.

Also Read: How to Return Mail to Sender

What Happens to Envelopes and Packages With an Insufficient Address USPS?

USPS sends the mailpieces back to the sender because it doesn’t have a different choice! The only way is to find the sender and ask them to modify the mailing address for USPS sufficient address redelivery.

However, please note that the senders might need to visit their local Post Office to collect the returned items under specific circumstances. USPS does not always send back the mailpieces right to the sender’s doorstep.

Of course, this part is a significant waste of time, money, and resources. Also, it can tarnish your brand image because of lengthy shipping times or unsatisfactory service. Hence, it is essential to learn how to fix insufficient addresses.

If the cost of sending the item back to you is more than the postage you paid, you need to cover the difference. Often, the parcels travel interstate or across the country, costing USPS a lot. Thus, the Post Office passes down the extra charges to you. Hence, you must learn how to fix insufficient address USPS to avoid wastage and unnecessary losses.

Another scenario is that the Post Office may send your items to a lost mail center. You must call customer service to find out the details and retrieve your mailpieces.

If your items don’t carry the appropriate postage, USPS may return them as ‘USPS insufficient address, but the address is correct.’ You need to calculate the postal charges precisely and attach the correct stamps. One forever stamp costs $0.60, and you may need to affix more than one postage stamp, depending on the destination and weight.

Postal services handle USPS Marketing Mail items, like flyers, catalogs, postcards, advertising mail, etc., differently. They do not forward or return these mail items automatically. 

You need to add specific endorsements on your Marketing Mail items to instruct USPS on what to do with mailers having an insufficient address. Then, the Post Office follows these guidelines as a USPS insufficient address fix.

If a person receives items that belong to an earlier resident, they should return them to the Post Office with a note that says ‘not at this address.’ Please note that it’s illegal to destroy or discard mailpieces according to federal laws, irrespective of whether it has a USPS insufficient address. Also, you cannot keep the packages because it may count as mail theft. Hence, try leaving the mail in your mailbox for the carrier to collect or hand over the item for return.

What Do I Do If My Package Says Insufficient Address?

The first thing to do when you get the ‘insufficient address’ tracking update is to contact the Post Office. Try finding out if the facility initiated the process of returning the items to you. If not, you can provide the correct address and ask them to continue delivery.

You get the non-delivery message as soon as a postal worker figures out your address is incomplete. But, the return journey can take a few hours or days to begin! Thus, you get some time in between to take the necessary steps and learn- insufficient address, what to do?

If you want to pick up the items from an outlet or let the recipients do it, ask USPS to hold onto your packages for a few days. However, the Post Office discards the items or returns them if no one collects them in the said time frame.

In cases when your package hasn’t arrived at a local distribution center, you must still call and ask the USPS employees if there’s anything they can do. 

You can take some steps if don’t receive the package within seven days of posting, irrespective of whether the status says- USPS fix insufficient address. Here is what you can do:

  • Visit your local Post office and submit a search request.
  • Use the online Missing Mail application feature to file a request from home.
  • Dial 1-800-ASK-USPS or 1-800-275-8777 to connect with a Consumer Affairs representative who can help you with your packages having an insufficient address.

How Do I Fix Insufficient Address USPS Using Redelivery?

If you miss an item because of an issue, you can ask USPS to redeliver it to your address. Use the barcode on the backside of your PS form 3849 to schedule redelivery online. Alternatively, you can do it with your Informed Delivery application, assuming you have an account. It is free and easy to use, helping everyone get a preview of their incoming mail.

If your package status says USPS insufficient address fix, the Post Office may still find you using your name. Again, it’s crucial to register your address whenever you move, helping the postal employees find you effortlessly.

Senders can also schedule redeliveries after knowing their item update is ‘insufficient address.’ They can call and change the mailing details, helping USPS redirect the items. Or they can ask the destination SCF to hold the packages for a few days until someone collects them!

💡 Also Read: Best Credit Repair Software

How to Fix an Insufficient Address USPS Since the Beginning?

Like the famous phrase- ‘Prevention is the best cure!’ Thus, you can also prevent any address-related issues by taking a few simple steps before sending out items to your recipients.

As said earlier, confirm the mailing address with the recipient twice before mailing. You can integrate PostGrid’s autocomplete API into your website, so users can enter their accurate addresses without typing everything. It is one of the best ways to skip learning the insufficient address USPS meaning because you don’t need to handle that problem anymore!

While understanding insufficient address what to do, you can take care of a few things, like:

  • Write using capital letters to make your addresses look clear.
  • Avoid overwriting if you make a mistake. Instead, cross it out or use a new label.
  • Space out your words and letters to make the delivery addresses easy to read.
  • Cover your labels with plastic tape so it doesn’t fall out or get damp, leading USPS to tag your items with the ‘insufficient address’ marking.
  • Use the correct USPS address format to write your mailing addresses. The USPS mail sorting machines read your address upside down, so ensure to follow the guidelines in order.

If you need to print labels, try copying and pasting the delivery addresses to minimize mistakes. It makes it impossible to miss details or write something incorrect or invalid, leading to an insufficient address error. 

Senders may also avoid this issue by ensuring their mailing lists are cent percent valid. Again, PostGrid offers effective address verification solutions to help you capture the customers’ correct addresses. Our rooftop geocoding capabilities allow you to prepare a deliverable mailing list without calling your customers multiple times to confirm their addresses. 

If you are still looking for answers to the question of how to fix incomplete address USPS, PostGrid also offers fuzzy matching. It can help you add missing details, fix spacing errors, capitalize your addresses correctly, and insert missing ZIP+4 codes

The result? You can access mail-ready delivery addresses at your fingertips, eliminating the insufficient address USPS problem!

It is always better to spend a few minutes extra and check your mailing addresses than deal with an insufficient address. Of course, reshipping causes waste of your precious time and money. And the worst part is that it makes your customers WAIT, which can affect your brand reputation negatively. 

What Does USPS Do If Your Package Doesn’t Have a Return Address?

While learning about USPS insufficient address- how to fix it, you may think about what happens to the mailpieces that don’t carry a return address.

Does the Post Office throw these items away, recycle them, or hold them for you to go and collect? USPS tries its best to deliver the items to the intended recipients. If there is some problem with the address labels, it attempts to fix the issue and continues the delivery. However, sometimes, the process is impossible, and it doesn’t know how to change insufficient address USPS.

Thus, these mailpieces with an incomplete address USPS go to the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta. The staff opens every package and tries to find anything indicating the delivery address. If they find a secondary address slip within the mailpiece, they put the item back in the USPS delivery infrastructure for mailing.

The postal workers dispose of mail items under $25 with an insufficient address when they cannot find the recipient and the sender. Hence, you must initiate a search request at the Mail Recovery Center if your mailpieces are worth more than $25 and go missing! Describe your item details and mention any unique features to help USPS find your packages.

The Correct USPS Address Format You Must Follow

At PostGrid, we get many clients who question- what to do when USPS says insufficient address. Sadly, many businesses incur significant losses by mailing to invalid destinations that either don’t exist or lead to misdelivery.

Here is the USPS-prescribed format everyone should follow for mailing within the US:

Recipient’s full name

Organization’s name 

Street address (including the apartment number and street name) 

City name, state abbreviation, and ZIP code

Below, we have also included an example to help you avoid writing a USPS insufficient address or UAA:

Zeke Harrington

Lakeside Group of Industries

2976 W Burnside ST

Portland OR 97214

Here are some more guidelines to help you draft perfectly-formatted mailing addresses:

  • Affix your postage stamps on the same side of the mailpiece as your delivery address. Otherwise, USPS marks it as an ‘insufficient address, but the address is correct.’
  • On an envelope, the address should run parallel to the longest side. 
  • There should be one space between the city and the state. 
  • Leave two spaces between the state and ZIP code. 
  • Instead of writing the state name, use the correct postal abbreviation to avoid drafting a USPS or UPS insufficient address. 
  • Make your delivery details left justified. 
  • Print your addresses in capital letters without punctuation marks. 

Reasons USPS Marks My Address as Invalid or Insufficient

There are numerous reasons your mailing details reflect an unverified or insufficient address, making it essential to use the USPS’s address lookup tool.

First, let us discuss what a valid address is! It is any residential or commercial address entry that has a corresponding match in the USPS authoritative database. Postal services in our country have a database of nearly 163.1 million addresses. If your address doesn’t exist in this massive system, there are chances it’s a USPS insufficient address.

Also, your address returns as invalid if your data is outdated or there are mistakes. Other reasons you may encounter an insufficient address USPS are:

  • The address is vacant, causing USPS to remove the entry from its database.
  • The address is under construction or renovation.
  • The address is inside a multi-unit building or apartment.
  • The address is part of a new property, and the Post Office is yet to add the details to its system.

Thankfully, PostGrid’s direct mail API helps you identify an insufficient address before you launch your campaigns! It verifies your addresses against the USPS database and NCOA file to help you mail accurately. So, the next time you want to print and ship offline mailers, using PostGrid can enable you to automate your activities and double your ROI!

How Can PostGrid’s Direct Mail Services Help You Validate an Insufficient Address?

PostGrid’s direct mail automation software helps you prepare your mailing items without hiring a designer. You can use our professionally-built templates to design marketing and transactional mail with many customization options.

Our API integrations help you fetch data from your system and auto-fill the details into your mailers within seconds. Then, you can upload your contacts list, and PostGrid checks whether it has an insufficient address USPS.

PostGrid’s extensive network of reputed printers helps you print your personalized items in the best quality possible! They allow you to grab your audience’s attention and get them to respond, establishing healthy company-customer relationships

You can skip buying an extra office printer or asking your staff to spend hours of their precious time preparing and assembling items. Also, your employees don’t need to find a solution for USPS insufficient address- what to do? 

Here’s a case study of our print and mail services to help you understand our work better:

A well-known real-estate company contacted us a few weeks ago to gain some insights on direct mail marketing. They arranged a couple of open houses in their neighborhood and wanted a robust marketing strategy to get more visitors. 

Sadly, they could not get solid leads because they only sent out a few letters to a mailing list having insufficient address USPS. Our account specialists suggested they conduct a personalized campaign with targeted mailing lists. Also, we offer online solutions to help them automate their mailing tasks and launch 5x more effective marketing programs.

Fast forward to today, their campaign helped them connect with hundreds of valuable leads and generate 10% ROI. They also sent custom marketing letters to everyone interested in buying a house through them, which resulted in further conversions.

Here’s what the client told one of our senior account specialists when they recently met to discuss a few things over coffee:

“We are glad we contacted you at the right time. Without PostGrid, we could never launch such a fantastic campaign with perfection. You allowed us to reach the right prospects and get their attention toward our message. We look forward to working with you again next month on our second campaign!”


An insufficient address USPS can cause several problems, including mail returns, misdelivery, lost mail, etc. Also, it can affect your brand reputation and customer bonds negatively.

No customer wants to wait for weeks before they finally get a package you promised to send in a few days. Thus, you need to level up your mailing activities and automate your process to understand how to fix insufficient addresses.

PostGrid’s direct mail services enable you to solve these issues permanently and conduct accurate, result-driving campaigns!

Request a demo now to see how PostGrid can help you eliminate the insufficient address USPS problem and create segmented mailing lists!

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