Mailbox Damaged by a Snowplow in New York? Who Pays to Replace It
Raise your hand if you've had to replace your mailbox after it was plowed down during a snowstorm. It's bound to happen. Who is responsible for covering the cost?
It happens every winter. Someone loses a mailbox. It's not done intentionally. The plow drivers are just trying to clear the roads, but sometimes things happen.
Who Pays For Plowed Mailbox?
So if a snowplow driver clips a mailbox with the blade of the plow, who pays to fix it? The damage is on the property owner since it's in the right-of-way.
Mailboxes are considered highway obstructions under Section 319 of The New York State Highway Law. They are only allowed in the 'right of way' as a convenience to the owner to receive mail.
The good news is most municipalities will cover the cost to replace a damaged mailbox. In Albany for example, someone from the town Highway Department will come out to inspect. If they discover the plow caused damage to the box or the post, the homeowner will be reimbursed up to $25.
Onondaga County will also cover expenses to replace a mailbox and the post if it gets damaged by a snowplow. To find out if your mailbox damage is covered, contact your local highway department.
The US Postal Service has tips on where to place your mailbox along the curb and how to avoid any damage, especially during the winter.
Where to Place the Mailbox
Mailboxes should be placed 6 to 8 feet back from the curb. It needs to be 41 to 45 inches high with the house or apartment number on the box.
An annual mailbox checkup is also recommended. Be sure to tighten loose hinges, check for rusty or loose parts, replace missing or faded numbers, and keep the path to mailboxes clear.