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Mailbox Damage from Snow Operations

Efforts to remove snow from roadways curb-to-curb or to the shoulder of the road may result in damage to private property. While every measure is taken to minimize damage, heavy snowfall and areas where there are no curbs makes it difficult for operators to identify the edge of the roadway surface.

The Borough maintains a list of areas damaged during Winter snow removal operations. Once the weather breaks, the Borough contractor will place topsoil, grade and seed damaged areas.

The Borough is only responsible for mailboxes that are hit by the plow blade. This does not include damage that may have resulted from the weight of the snow. The Borough will reimburse residents up to $50 for the damages if it is determined that the mailbox damage was caused by the direct contact of a snow plow. Repeat damages to the same residential property will be reviewed as per each situation arises. A receipt of mailbox cost must be produced for reimbursement. The Borough will not repair or replace any mailboxes or posts.

If physical contact by a snowplow is suspected, please contact the Borough in writing via mail, email, or fax with your address, information about where your mailbox is on your property, and the date. The Borough will inspect the mailbox and make a determination based on specific criteria.  A mailbox or post will not be considered for reimbursement if the post shows signs of dry rot or is otherwise unstable.   The owner of the mailbox has forty-eight (48) hours from the end of a snow event to submit a claim for reimbursement.

Snowplow operators make every attempt to exercise care and maintain lower speeds when plowing in areas where mailboxes are curbside. However, sometimes due to heavy snow and slush conditions, higher speeds must be maintained to clear the roadway.

It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure the mailbox can withstand the potential weight of snow being thrown from a plow, and if mailbox damage does occur, it is the responsibility of the property owner.

To minimize the possible damage to a homeowner’s mailbox, the Borough provides the following recommendations:

  • Locate the mailbox as far from the shoulder of the road as the carrier can reach from a vehicle; In accordance with current postal guidelines, mailboxes are to be installed at least six (6) to eight (8) inches from the front face of the curb or edge of the pavement.
  • All mailboxes are to be securely fastened to a sturdy post which is firmly anchored in the ground to resist the impact of plowed snow. Make certain your mailbox has a strong support; check it frequently
  • Use reflective tape (6-8 inch) or similar material to assist the snow plow driver during dark hours or driving snow storms
  • Clear snow from the front of your mailbox and deposit it properly (never shovel snow onto the road)
  • The height of the bottom floor of the mailbox should be between 41” and 45” from the road surface. A semi-arch or extended arm-type support is recommended so that the snowplow can sweep under the box, avoiding contact.

Homeowners who have followed these guidelines in the past, and still experience mailbox damage may want to consider installing a cantilever mailbox support that will “swing” a mailbox out of harm’s way.

Being pro-active and taking the necessary measures to winterize your mailbox, making it stable and visible will allow for efficient snow removal operations and the continued convenience of mail delivery to your home.