Tips on how to get a claim paid in a timely manner.
If your freight arrives damaged, don’t refuse the shipment. However, inspect your cargo and take pictures before you sign anything. The driver will want to leave before you have time to open the shipment for a thorough inspection.
If you do not list the condition on delivery it creates a loop hole for insurance companies. Lack of documentation will make the proof of damage much harder if not impossible. In addition, the claim for payment will take longer.
Normally, the driver will inspect the shipment during pickup from the shipper and won’t accept visible damage without a formal acknowledgement from the shipper. This means that if there is damage or loss, it occurred during transit.
There are several types of damage or loss to look for. If some items are missing, that is called a shortage claim. If you never receive the shipment, that means you file a loss claim.
Concealed damage is a tricky claim you won’t know about until you open the crates or boxes. If the packaging looks suspicious, make notes on the delivery receipt that the contents may be damaged. Include the box or crate number as well as why you think there may be damage. For instance, the corner of the crate looks like a chunk is missing and the contents is glassware. Open the packaging as soon as possible and file the claim immediately. Time is of the essence.
Get everything documented. Emails, texts, phone calls, and any other record you have as proof will save you time and money in the long run.
Do not discard any dunnage or exterior containers until the claim is resolved. Do not accept compensation from the carrier as it may void the insurance.
Contact the carrier’s insurance company or companies beforehand to make sure the cargo is covered and there are no modifications (clauses or addendum). Just adding yourself as a holder does not carry as much weight as you would think.
The claim for damages or loss is filed with the carrier’s insurance company.
Third Party Insurance
Confirm that the logistics companies or any other third party involved carries blanket insurance. This is an added policy that logistics companies carry in the event the direct carrier’s insurance does not cover the damages or denies the claim.
FreightMonster requires shippers to have Shipper’s interest “All Risk” coverage for damage to, loss of, or delay in transportation of goods.
File promptly if your freight arrives damaged
You have only days to file a claim. Most insurance companies’ rule of thumb is to deny and hold the claim. It seems like they hope you and everyone else involved will go away. Contact your attorney if the claim is not being handled promptly. Cargo claims can last months and even years if not taken care of properly.
FreightMonster can help you.
Each insurance company may have a variation of the damage claim form, but this standard form should suffice.
High value cargo can always be self-insured or added to the policy before shipment is loaded. Contact the carrier and ask what it will cost for “spike” or single load insurance?
Lastly remember everyone involved will ultimately be at the insurance company’s mercy. So, documentation, clarification and communication are key.
Note: FreightFather is not an attorney and these tips are based only from experience.