I seem to recall my mailbox having instructions on what the proper setback was from the curb for mounting it. Unfortunately, I was too lazy to re-set the post for the mounting hardware after the snowplow took out my mailbox last year, and didn't want to move the post even though the hardware was different, and I remember that the instructions gave a setback, which I was technically not complying with (as the new mailbox had different mounting hardware).

As I can see from looking out the window that my mailbox got taken out again this year ... at what distance should I have it from the front of the curb? (and I'm in the U.S.)

(UFPI says a "must be at least 8 to 12 inches away from the curb of the street"; Answers.com claims 6-9 inches; eHow claims 6-8 inches)

  • If you are only leaving 12 inches form the curb, how does someone get past in a wheelchair without being forced get down the curb into the road? What about all the people that wish to walk along the sidewalk you are blocking. Why not just put your mail box in your front door and not block the public sidewalk?
    – Walker
    Jan 27, 2011 at 9:13
  • 3
    @Walker - I'm assuming the OP lives in a more rural area, were the mail carriers do not walk around to deliver mail. In these areas they drive, so the mailbox has to be close enough to the street that they can reach it from their truck.
    – Tester101
    Jan 27, 2011 at 12:53
  • @Walker : Well, the last zoning re-designated us as 'developing' not 'rural', but still no sidewalk to block -- when they finally installed the curb a few years ago, the sidewalk was only put on the other side of the street. (which we've taken objection to, as I live on a state highway, and the state won't put in a crosswalk, as there's no sidewalk on my side as a 'landing' for the crosswalk to connect to.
    – Joe
    Jan 27, 2011 at 15:19

3 Answers 3


6-8 inches from the curb according to the official USPS website.

Of course, this refers to the location of the door relative to the front face of the curb. If the plow is taking out the post, rather than the box itself, you could install a post that is angled, rather than vertical. My dad would cement a 6-foot steel fence post 5 feet into the ground in front of the mailbox post. "That'll show 'em!"

  • 2
    +1 for checking with the USPS, go right to the source. Gotta be careful though about the "ultra sturdy" mailbox. Friend of mine did the same thing and encountered some legal issues because the mailbox didn't "break away" when struck and caused some damage to a car that slid into it on an icy road. I'm not sure if that's a state-by-state law or not. In any event it kept several young thugs from playing "baseball" with said mailbox.
    – user45
    Jan 27, 2011 at 12:24
  • Thanks ... I finally found it on their website (they didn't use the term 'setback' which I was trying to use via google w/ site:usps.gov ), just a minute or two before my UPS finally died so I lost my internet connection.
    – Joe
    Jan 27, 2011 at 15:20

At least 6 inches back from the farthest the snowplow came off the road in order to hit said mailbox.

Really there's what's legal and what's practical. As long as your mail person will still deliver, try to get it back from where the plows run because the city is never going to pay for their screw ups. Another good way to find out your safe distance is to walk over to a couple of neighbors who didn't lose their box to a plow and see how far theirs are set back.

  • I had set it further forward because I'm lazy about trimming the grass ... with it forward, I can get to almost all of it just via mowing. (I used to have it set back from the street, but up against the driveway, but it mysteriously disappeared one day, oddly on the same day I got an oil delivery, so there likely was a large truck backing out of my driveway that day) ... and it's the state, not the town ... and if I got the town to pay, there'd be other issues (as I'm a town comissioner, so it'd open a whole can of worms)
    – Joe
    Jan 27, 2011 at 15:24

Living in a rural subdivision of about 50 homes, outside our city limits, that is mostly all seasonal homes, thus very few mail boxes at the end of our driveways. (Ave of 1 Yr round Resident per street of 12 homes per street.)

The Mail carriers use their own personal vehicles. Some use cars, other use a SUV. So the height can be a problem issue, for one or the other. Higher for the SUV and lower for the car.

But, the biggest problem: reg. vehicles hitting our mail boxes being too close to the Street and snow plows destroying them!

Mine is currently mounted on a post that is 36" from the edge of the street pavement, but, we have 6 ft of easement the township can plow over. (See the problem?)

This 6 Ft of easement is all gravel up to my lawn.

I want to move the mail box and Post to 60" (5 Ft) from the street where the gravel ends and just where my lawn begins.

The mail carrier would love it, she says! It would not only be easier, but safer for her as well as other vehicles could pass her vehicle easier and safer.

But the postmaster says I can't be any further than 38" from the beginning of the street pavement.

Why not at the edge of the easement to make it safer for your carriers?

But, I pointed out, that still would be on the townships easement and subject to be destroyed at least 2 to 3 times a winter season by their snow plow trucks! (As it has been the past 2 yrs) He said to take it (that problem) up with the township! I did and you can guess what they said.

So I figure to just add more pavement to the street in front of my yard (about 50 ft Long).

Go figure!

PS: And yes, you cannot put any fixed structure, like a fence, let alone big boulders on easement property. If you do and any damage is incurred by city, township, county or state vehicles, or even personal vehicles?

You are liable! (And confirmed by the Local Police.) But your homeowners Ins. ought to cover it! Minus your deductible. (Ask your insurance agent.)

So if you see people that have boulders or a fencing along the edge of their property to protect their grass? and its on The easement? and you want a new car? Go drive over them or into the fencing!

1st call up the PD in that town and confirm those boulders/fencing are illegal were they are, before doing so. Just tell them you swerved to avoid a head On collision onto the easement or you slid off the road slightly on a snowy day. Or if riding your bike? and want a new bike?

And some towns and counties have a 10 Ft easement before you can put anything on it! Other than Bushes. Check your local building code dept.

Of course, I didn't tell you this ;-0)
I'm indemnified!

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