Insufficient Address: Meaning, Causes, & Solution

Whether you are a sender or receiver, it is frustrating to encounter problems during delivery. One tracking update no one likes to see is “insufficient address”. But what exactly does this update mean? 

Well, according to USPS, the insufficient address update implies that your package delivery cannot be completed as a result of an issue relating to the address.

Want to know what happens next if you get this update and what you should do about it? Please read on.

What does insufficient address mean?

The “insufficient address” update basically implies that some crucial information relating to the receiver’s address was not found.

When the destination address cannot be found or is misspelled, delivery can no longer go as planned. Hence, an insufficient or incorrect address update is placed to notify the customer.

What are the causes?

There are a number of reasons leading to this tracking update, and it can be from the sender or the receiver. But mostly, it occurs as a result of an incorrect address.

Perhaps the sender misspelled the address or the receiver sent the wrong address to the sender. It could also be that the sender skipped a number in the apartment number, causing all sorts of confusion on delivery.

Other times the cause may not even be from the sender or receiver. Although USPS tries as much as possible to handle all packages with extreme care, certain events may damage the address label on a package.

Perhaps due to rain, the label may be damped and the address is blurred or damaged completely. It could also be that the courier has no access to that location.

What happens after the insufficient address update?

After the status update is sent, the package will be handled in one of two ways. The first is that the package is sent back to the sender, this is usually the case for the majority of the time.

However, in situations where the sender’s address or return address is not on the package then it is sent to the post office where the delivery originated from. After a while, if the package is yet to be claimed, it is sent to the USPS’s mail recovery center.

What do you do about the “insufficient address” update?

As the recipient:

As I mentioned earlier, when the courier has issues delivering a package, it is usually sent to the local post office. Afterward, it is processed and sent back to where the delivery originated from.

Now, you should note that the time it takes to process and send back this package varies. In some cases, it could take 5 hours, while other times, it may take days before it is processed and sent back.

So, as the recipient, you must act as quickly as you can immediately after you come across this update. Quickly contact your local post office, they should be able to hold on to the package on your behalf.

Next, quickly head down to the local USPS office. Ensure you go with a valid ID and the tracking number of the package, as this is often required.

As the sender:

As the sender, you may have limited options but it is definitely worth a try. The first is to contact the recipient and instruct them to follow the procedure mentioned above.

Another option would be to contact USPS customer care (1-800-275-8777). Explain the situation to them finding out whether they can hold the package or amend or correct the address on your behalf. 

How can you avoid this next time?

In order to avoid running into this scenario again, you must know how to avoid it.

Firstly, the most obvious way is to always ensure you write the recipient’s address clearly. It is better to space the writing properly, and if a mistake is made, simply strike through and write it again.

Secondly, verify the address before sending the package. If possible, contact the recipient again and double-check the address.

Next, use clear tape to cover the address on the label for the package. This will protect the label from tearing or getting damped in case of rain. 


What happens when there is no return address?

When there is no return address on the package, it is sent back to the originating facility. Afterward, it is sent to the mail recovery center, which is located in Atlanta.

How do you recover mail sent to the mail recovery center?

You can request a missing mail search.

Do you get charged when a package is returned to the sender?

Yes, you do.

What if you receive the “insufficient address” update but the address is correct?

Do well to contact USPS customer service, they should give you more clarity on the matter.

Conclusion: Insufficient address

No one likes coming across the insufficient address update. Such a package will have to be sent back to the post office it was sent from and eventually the sender. Afterward, the sender will have to resend such a package and will have to pay for the delivery again.

If you find yourself in this situation, quickly contact USPS customer service to hold the package. Then, contact the recipient to head down to the local post office to retrieve such a package.

I hope you found this article helpful, if you did, you should also see what in transit, arriving late means and what to do about it.

Thanks for reading.