What Happens When You Hit a Mailbox?

By Anna Green - Updated June 14, 2017
Rural Mail Boxes

Hitting a mailbox is similar to other minor traffic accidents and should be reported to the mailbox owner or the police. Because a mailbox is personal property, you or your insurance company will be liable for its repair or replacement. Leaving the scene of a collision with a mailbox is a crime in most jurisdictions.

General Procedures

After hitting a mailbox, your first priority should be safety. Before getting out of your vehicle to assess the damage, pull off the road to ensure that no further collisions occur. If possible, find the owner of the mailbox and notify him about the incident. If you approach the business or home that owns the mailbox and no one is available, contact the police and report the incident. If the damage to the mailbox and your car was minor, the police may suggest that you simply leave a note with your contact information; in some instances, they will prepare a police report that you can use to file a claim with your auto insurance company.

Leaving the Scene

Depending on where the accident took place, the extent of damage to the mailbox and the circumstances surrounding the collision, you may face either misdemeanor or felony charges if you leave the scene without notifying the proper parties.

Intentional Acts

Intentionally hitting a U.S. mailbox may constitute a federal crime, as they are protected under federal law. You may also be charged for accidental damage if you cause it while committing another crime, such as driving while intoxicated.

About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

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