My home exists in two ZIP codes. I'd prefer one over the other.
April 27, 2017 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Due to some weird changes with the post office a few years ago, my home has some ZIP code issues. The deed on my home says I'm in 80453, but I'm also within 80401. That's a problem because I pay more than twice for my insurance when I quote as 80453.

-I don't have mail delivery, I pick up my mail at a post office.
-If you try to search my physical address on, it won't give you a ZIP at all.

Am I totally screwed here? I'm guessing my ZIP code needs to match on my insurance and deed, even though the physical addresses are the same.
posted by speedgraphic to Work & Money (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The deed on my home says I'm in 80453

A deed transfers ownership, it doesn't establish an address. The zip code on it is just for reference on who to mail the document to once it is recorded.

Your property has a legal address - something like "Lots 6, 7, and the South ½ of Lot 3, West 60 feet of South ½ of Lot 4, West 60 feet of Lot 5 and Lot 8, Block 20, OLD SURVEY, Leesville, Vernon Parish, Louisiana." - but that doesn't have a zip code either.

This is a question for your post office, not any legal documents. What does the post office say?
posted by saeculorum at 2:56 PM on April 27, 2017 [8 favorites]

Yep, this is both easy and hard. The post office is what counts.

I'd be tempted to send a few letters to the house, from a mailbox. If I get the letters using the ZIP I want, then that means that ZIP is correct unless the USPS says specifically otherwise. But that also might be shady, your call.
posted by SaltySalticid at 3:02 PM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

pro-tip: an address isn't really 'within' zip code. though zip codes are often represented as contiguous polygonal areas on a map, that's not really how 'your' zipcode is determined. the po assigns your address a zipcode. the relationship is to n:m::address:zip independent of any contrived polygon.

tl;dr as mentioned, the post office knows. ring em up.

posted by j_curiouser at 3:04 PM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Are you saying you don't have mail delivery because the USPS won't deliver to you, or you just never bothered establishing it, or what? Setting up mail delivery might be one way to force the issue.
posted by primethyme at 3:05 PM on April 27, 2017

@saeculorum - I'm not sure, honestly. The mailbox that I get for free at my local post office is 80453, but when you put in my physical address into the USPS address finder, no ZIP is found.

@primethyme - No home mail delivery to my home or my neighbors, unfortunately. Anything I want delivered via USPS has to go to my PO Box.

I'm honestly not sure my home has a real ZIP code since I can't receive mail there!
posted by speedgraphic at 3:09 PM on April 27, 2017

You haven't answered the question posed to you by multiple people.

What does the Post Office say about this?
posted by saeculorum at 3:10 PM on April 27, 2017

I've asked the Post Office, they used the online finder on my address and came up with the same error result. They said "just use my PO Box" but this doesn't help me in this situation.
posted by speedgraphic at 3:13 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

ugh. i typo'd the relationship s/b 1:n::zip:address
posted by j_curiouser at 3:17 PM on April 27, 2017

@j_curiouser - TIL! Thanks for that. What do you think about this ZIP map:

This map seems to reflect the non-polygonal, non-contiguous nature of ZIP codes that you mention... and my house is in 80401 on this map, again, despite my mail and deed (what little that means, per the first reply) saying 80453.
posted by speedgraphic at 3:20 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Your house is in 80401, then. You can tell your insurance company that you receive mail at your PO box, which is true. I have my home insurance information and billing delivered to a PO box in another zip code from my house (despite having home delivery) and this has never even been brought up as a question.
posted by saeculorum at 3:23 PM on April 27, 2017 [6 favorites] is a commercial service. i bet if we dig deep there is a data accuracy disclaimer. the sole arbiter of zipcode is the usps.

if this is for insurance only, i say use 80401. it's the best answer you can come up with, provided in good faith. ianal.

on reflection, this is probably more a question for the insurance guys, not the map guys.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:52 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I agree that 80401 is a perfectly reasonable good-faith answer.

If someone asks, you can honestly say "The post office doesn't deliver to my address, but the most up-to-date reference I can find is this map, and according to it I'm in 80401."
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:09 PM on April 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

Interesting problem, indeed. This map seems not to agree with the other one.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 4:29 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think the deeper issue is that zip codes are not magic when it comes to your insurance; they're tools used to make underwriters' jobs easier. There are edge cases and oddities -- like yours -- which your insurer ought to be able to sort out by hand. Your house does not cost twice as much to insure because a zip code line jumps over you; that's just a shortcut to make mass-scale underwriting more efficient. I would call your insurance agent directly and explain the problem. (In fact I'd call a couple and get bids, since odd cases can get oddly-distributed price results instead of the usual herding.) Do note, however, that it's quite possible your insurer will split the difference; it won't necessarily come out wholly in your favor.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:37 PM on April 27, 2017 [15 favorites]

To cut to the chase: your insurance agent is your friend, or should be. They want your business. You have options via other agents. Tell them you want to be rated in 80401 and show them it's where you live, physically. You could get your mail in Denver, who cares. If they won't go along with this, shop around.
posted by beagle at 5:05 PM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Your insurance probably uses ZCTAs, not ZIPs. Your house does not have a ZIP, because it doesn't receive postal delivery, and ZIPs are sets of delivery routes and delivery points. ZCTAs are the census bureau's attempt to polygonalize ZIPs, and your house will be within one. But it is not your ZIP ode, as you simply don't have one.
posted by bowbeacon at 5:56 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had a similar issue many years ago and we just started using one zip code and it stuck. It just became the known address for the place, all of our records and bills used it, and then nothing happened.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:53 PM on April 28, 2017

Also, 80453 is almost certainly not the zip code where your house is located -- it appears to be one of those special-purpose zip codes for PO boxes. As others have said, 80401 is probably the right choice here.
posted by mhum at 4:34 PM on April 28, 2017

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