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UPS Declared Value Q&A

Q. What is declared value? Is it insurance?

A. Declared value is not insurance coverage. The declared value of a package represents UPS's maximum liability for the package in the case of loss or damage. If no value is declared, UPS's maximum liability for loss or damage to a package or international shipment is US$100 (or the equivalent in local currency).

Shippers sending goods with values exceeding US$100 can choose to declare a higher value for the goods, up to certain maximum amounts and subject to restrictions, by paying an additional charge. 

UPS is not liable for loss or damage to a package that is not properly packed to withstand the series of movements through the small package environment (as described in the UPS Tariff/Terms and Conditions of Service (see Section on Responsibility for Loss or Damage). In such a case, even if the shipper declares a value for the package in excess of $100, UPS will not reimburse the shipper for the damage to the package. (Read these tips on how to properly pack a package.)

Limits on declared value and restrictions on UPS's liability (including for packages not adequately packaged as described in more detail below) are described in the UPS Tariff/Terms and Conditions of Service, available at ups.com. For non-U.S.-origin shipments, please refer to the UPS Terms and Conditions of the origin country. 

Q. Who determines whether a package was properly or adequately packed?

A. UPS uses a third-party vendor to manage the claims process for packages with values declared in excess of $100. This vendor adheres to the small package carrier industry standard ISTA 3-A packaging guidelines for analyzing the integrity of packaging and associated materials.

Q. What is the maximum value that can be declared?

A. The maximum value that can be declared varies by the type of shipment:

  • US$50,000 or local currency equivalent for a package shipped when a UPS account number is provided or from a location of The UPS Store.
  • US$5,000 or local currency equivalent for a package shipped using a payment card (for example, a debit or credit card) as the payment method via UPS Internet Shipping.
  • US$1,000 or local currency equivalent for packages returned via UPS Print Return Label, UPS Print and Mail Return Label, Electronic Return Label, or 1 UPS Pickup Attempt, Return Services, and UPS Returns on the Web.
  • US$1,000 or local currency equivalent for a package shipped via a third-party retailer if the package was previously manifested before it was given to the retailer.
  • US$500 or local currency equivalent for a package shipped at a UPS Drop Box.
  • US$500 or local currency equivalent for an international shipment containing jewelry (not including costume jewelry).
  • Shippers cannot declare a value for UPS Prepaid Letters.       
  • US$999 for packages shipped using Shipper Release (authorizing UPS to deliver the package without requiring a signature on delivery).

For more details on maximum declared values and exclusions to UPS's liability, see the UPS Tariff/Terms and Conditions, Section on Responsibility for Loss or Damage.

Q. What other items are restricted?  

A. UPS's liability for certain items is also limited based on the nature of the commodity.  These are set forth in the UPS/Tariff Terms and Conditions of Service (see Section on Liability Limits) in greater detail. The most common items are below:

  • Checks: If a package containing a check is lost or damaged, UPS will not pay for the face value of the check. UPS's liability for a package containing a check or checks is limited to the cost of stopping payment on and reissuing the check(s), not to exceed US$100 per package.
  • Phone Cards, Tickets, Gift Cards, and Similar Cards: UPS's liability for a package containing a phone card, ticket (such as event or airplane ticket), gift certificate, gift card, coupon, or other similar printed matter with an exchange value is limited to the cost of replacing the physical card(s), certificate(s), or printed matter, not to exceed US$100 per package. As with checks, UPS is not liable for the face value of any phone card, gift certificate, gift card, coupon, or similar printed matter.
  • Media: UPS's liability for loss or damage to a package containing documents, film, photographs (including negatives), slides, transparencies, videotapes, compact discs, laser discs, computer tapes, and media of similar nature is limited to the replacement cost of the media on which the content is recorded.
  • Pairs, Parts: In the event of loss or damage to a pair or set of articles, UPS's liability is limited to the value of that part of the pair or set that is lost or damaged, and UPS shall not be liable for the value of the whole pair or set. In the event of loss or damage to any part of property (including any part of a machine) that, when complete for sale or use, consists of several parts, UPS shall be liable only for the value of the part lost or damaged, not to exceed the declared value of the part lost or damaged. In no event shall UPS be liable for the value of the complete item.

Q. What about hard-to-value items? How does UPS determine the value of heirlooms, antiques, etc.?

A. A proof of value must be provided. This proof may come in the form of an invoice, sales receipt, appraisal, or value of a “like” item that can be verified. UPS cannot reimburse for “sentimental value” whose value cannot be determined.

Q. Are there instances when UPS determines that the value of goods is lower than what the shipper declared?

A. As with any claim, you must prove the value of the merchandise, regardless of the value declared. The declared value is the maximum amount that UPS would pay on a claim (not including shipping charges), subject to proof of the declared value. You must still provide documentation that verifies the replacement or repair cost of the merchandise.

Q. What should I do if my package is lost or damaged?

A. If you believe your package is lost or damaged, follow these steps to begin the claims process. It is important to note that only the shipper may file a claim; the recipient of the package cannot file a claim. A recipient who believes a package has been lost of damaged should contact the sender (shipper) of the package to begin the claims process.

  • In the case of a damaged package, follow the damaged package claim process. In the case of damage, keep all of the packaging materials as they may need to be examined as part of the claims process.
  • In the case of a lost package, follow the lost package claim process.
  • Please note that, in the case of either lost or damaged package claims, shippers should keep receipts for items shipped.

Q: Why does the claim need to be submitted by the shipper and not the recipient?

A. Because the transaction with UPS was conducted with the shipper, and not with the recipient, UPS must work with the shipper on the claim process.

Q. How long does the claim process take once UPS has received the claim documentation?

A.  Once UPS has issued a claim, the shipper must formally submit claim documentation that serves as a demand for payment on the claim. UPS will register the claim upon receipt of the claim documentation and audit the claim for additional information that will impact the package investigation and final processing that will lead to a claim payment or denial. On average, this process will be completed within five to 10 business days. For domestic shipments, claims must be filed within nine months after delivery of the package, and for international shipments, claims must be filed within 60 days.

Q. Under what circumstances would UPS deny a claim?

A. Claims may be denied for a number of reasons. Improper or inadequate packaging is one of the more common reasons for a claim denial. Also, once the claim documentation is submitted, additional information may be provided that may lead to locating the package or its contents.  

Q. How can I avoid having a claim denied based on insufficient packaging?

A. It is the sender's responsibility to ensure a shipment is properly packaged to move safely though the small package environment (ISTA 3-A standards). (Read these tips on how to properly pack a package.)

Q. Is the claim process different if the package was packed and/or shipped via The UPS Store or a UPS Authorized Shipping Outlet (ASO)?

A. Yes. If you shipped your package at a location of The UPS Store, you need to contact the respective store to start the claims process. In the case of damage, keep all of the packaging materials as they may need to be examined as part of the claim process. In the case of loss or damage, shippers should keep receipts for items shipped.

Many locations of The UPS Store offer the Pack and Ship Promise. If a shipment is packed by The UPS Store and shipped via UPS and is lost or damaged, the customer is reimbursed the item's value (subject to the lesser of the actual value, replacement or repair cost), the cost of packaging materials and service as well as the shipping costs (excluding declared value charges). Please note: You must declare the value of the item at the time of the transaction and pay the additional charge for declared value for that amount. Otherwise, your maximum reimbursement for the item is $100.

If you shipped your package through an ASO, you need to contact the ASO to start the claim process. ASOs are third-party retail locations where you can ship packages via UPS. They provide a variety of packaging services and usually offer shipping services from multiple carriers. Because the ASO is responsible for all aspects of the transaction, the ASO is the shipper. As such, claims need to be filed by the ASO. 

Q. What are tips from UPS for shippers to keep in mind when shipping valuable packages?

A. Packaging and label accuracy are the two most important factors in making sure a package is delivered on time and intact. Watch UPS's packaging tips segments on YouTube or read about proper packing supplies and techniques on UPS.com. Also, The UPS Store franchisees are certified packing professionals. To find your nearest The UPS Store, visit http://www.theupsstore.com/Pages/index.aspx.

Q. How is it decided how much I will be paid for claim?

A. The amount paid on a claim will be the lowest of the following amounts: 

  • The cost of repair or replacement of the merchandise up to $100, if there is no value declared in excess of $100.
  • The cost of repair or replacement of the merchandise up to the amount of the declared value, if the package had a declared value (as set forth on the UPS shipping document or in the UPS shipping system used, and if the declared value charges have been paid).

Repair or replacement is defined as the purchase price paid for the property; the actual cost of the damaged or lost property; the replacement cost of the property at the time and place of loss or damage; or for the cost of repairing the damaged property. For more details on liability limits, filing a claim and the claims process, see the UPS Tariff/Terms and Conditions of Service, Sections on Responsibility for Loss or Damage, and Claims.

Q. Who is responsible for getting repair quotes?

A. You must provide a third-party repair evaluation. If the third-party deems the merchandise as un-repairable, the actual or replacement value will be paid up to the UPS's maximum liability.

Q. Who is responsible for getting my items repaired?

A. You must provide the repair quotes and submit to the UPS Claims department; while UPS may pay the cost of repair, it is your responsibility to have the item repaired.

Q. Who is considered an acceptable party to provide a repair quote? 

A. A certified third-party repair facility as determined by the UPS customer or the claims vendor used by UPS can help UPS customers to find a repair vendor depending on the merchandise.

For more information, contact:

404-828-7123

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