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Jaidyn Farar

Calculate Declared Value Across Carriers: USPS, UPS, FedEx

by Jaidyn Farar

When you hand shipments off to a carrier for delivery, the carrier takes responsibility for the safe arrival of each package. This means that if one gets lost or damaged, the carrier will send a reimbursement. But how much do they owe you? To answer this question, you need to determine the declared value for each package you ship. 

What is declared value?

In shipping, a declared value is the worth of goods being transported and is equal to the cost at which you intend to sell them. By declaring a value for your shipments, you can insure them against loss or damage during transit. 

Carriers use a package’s declared value to determine their liability for shipping mishaps, and declaring a value higher than $100 requires an additional fee. Third-party shipping insurance providers also use declared value to determine insurance premiums.

Because a declared value can affect shipping rates and customs clearance processes, it should accurately reflect the value of shipped goods.

Minimum and maximum declared value

The major U.S. carriers—USPS, UPS, and FedEx—assume a declared value of $100 unless you declare a higher value. UPS and FedEx have a maximum declared value of $50,000, but this can vary based on the type of goods and shipping destination. USPS has a maximum declared value of $5,000.

Declared value vs. customs value

The declared value provided by a shipper is used as a starting point for customs authorities to assess the customs value. Customs value determines the import duties and taxes you need to pay. 

Ideally, the declared value and customs value of a shipment should be the same. However, customs authorities may conduct their own assessment of the value of goods based on relevant regulations and guidelines. If they discover that the declared value doesn’t accurately reflect a shipment’s value, you might face fees or customs clearance delays.

How to determine declared value

Calculating declared value is easy—you don’t need any complicated formulas. As a business shipping packages to customers, declared value simply equals the cost at which you intend to sell the items. 

Declaring a value with USPS, UPS, and FedEx

The major carriers allow you to declare a value of up to $100 for free. If something is worth more than $100, you’ll have to pay an additional fee to declare a higher value. 

This section will review declared value fees for USPS, UPS, and FedEx. These fees were effective as of January 2024.

USPS declared value fees

USPS insurance is based on a package’s declared value. Their maximum liability is $5,000.

Declared value 
$0.00 – $100.00 
No charge
$0.01 – $50.00
$50.01 – $100.00
$100.01 – $200.00
$200.01 – $300.00
$300.01 – $400.00
$400.01 – $500.00
$500.01 – $600.00
$600.01 – $5,000.00
$12.25 plus $1.90 per $100.00 or fraction thereof over $600.00 in declared value

UPS declared value fees

UPS’s maximum liability is $50,000 per package.

Declared value (USD)
Fee (USD)
$0.00 – $100.00 
No charge
$100.01 – $300.00
Over $300.00
$1.45 for each $100.00 (or portion thereof) of declared value

FedEx declared value fees

FedEx has a maximum liability of $50,000 per package for most of their parcel shipping services. For FedEx SameDay®, the maximum declared value is $2,000.

Declared value (USD)
Fee (USD)
$0.00 – $100.00 
No charge
$100.01 – $300.00
Over $300.00
$1.40 per $100.00 of declared value

Important qualifications for reimbursement

When you’re using declared value as protection for your shipments, it’s important to know what you will and won’t be reimbursed for. 

When using a declared value service, you must provide proof that the carrier was at fault in order to get reimbursed for a lost or damaged package. If something happens due to an error on your part (such as an incorrect address or insufficient packaging), the carrier will likely deny your claim.

Additionally, keep in mind that prohibited items—those you’re not allowed to ship because they’re illegal or dangerous—aren’t covered by declared value services. If you try to declare a value higher than the maximum limit, that won’t be covered either. 

Declared value vs. shipping insurance

While declared value services are used to determine a specific carrier’s liability if a package is lost or damaged, shipping insurance is provided by a third party and covers loss, damage, and theft regardless of carrier. Insurance premiums are usually less than declared value fees.

While declaring a value is necessary for purchasing shipping insurance, insurance typically offers broader coverage and higher reimbursement limits than the carrier's liability alone. 

So which should you rely on to protect your packages—carrier-provided declared value services or shipping insurance? Let’s review some of the differences.

  • Provider. Declared value services are provided by carriers, whereas shipping insurance is often provided by a third party. 
  • Cost. Declared value cost varies. The fee to declare a value of $200 is $4.60 for USPS, $4.35 for UPS, and $4.20 for FedEx, which puts the cost at around 2.2% of the package’s value. Shipping insurance costs generally range from 1% to 3% of a package’s declared value; EasyPost Shipping Insurance starts at just 0.5%.
  • Coverage. While declared value services only cover loss or damage, shipping insurance also protects against porch piracy (or theft after delivery has been completed).
  • Reimbursement. To be reimbursed by a carrier, you must prove that they were at fault. Shipping insurance claims are paid whether or not the carrier was at fault.

When to use a declared value service

Sticking with the protection offered by a declared value service might be the best choice if you:

  • Ship few products
  • Ship low-value products (worth less than $100)

When to get shipping insurance

It’s probably time to upgrade to shipping insurance if you:

Get comprehensive, low-cost insurance with EasyPost

If you’re looking to insure your packages, check out EasyPost’s insurance offering. It’s a great way to keep high-value shipments safe and ensure customer satisfaction, with premiums starting at just 0.5% of a package’s declared value. And because we cover every carrier and service level, you’ll never have to worry about a shipment again. 

Learn how EasyPost Shipping Insurance can save you money.