Even if your shipping strategy is perfect, and you are using a good shipping provider, sometimes freight damage is difficult to avoid. There are different reasons why your load may suffer damage upon arrival, like multiple handling, inconvenient packaging, extreme weather, etc. Of course, this might not happen to you, but when at a certain point you find out about your freight shipment being damaged, it is better to be fully prepared. This includes knowing how to file a freight claim.
To start off, getting proper freight insurance for your shipment is a must to deal with such situations. Carrier’s liability has very limited coverage and will not refund you your shipment’s value. Also, if you properly pack and protect your shipment, you can significantly reduce the chance of an incident. But if the damage had already happened, and you are not insured, you should file a freight claim. To avoid devastation and financial loss because of a damaged shipment, you must do it as soon as possible.
What is a freight claim?
A freight claim is a legal document; a demand for a monetary refund that you file in the case of loss or damage of your freight shipment. There are specific laws, like the Carmack Amendment, that regulate the rules for freight claims filing and handling process. When filing a freight claim is a necessity, you need to learn how to do it properly. Without knowing the intricacies of the process, it may be a stressful procedure that can end up being pointless.
How to file a freight claim?
Firstly, notify your carrier or freight broker as soon as you recognize the damage or loss. An important thing to do is to inspect your freight upon arrival. Before you sign any documents, check the load for any damages. If you spot them right away, it will be faster and easier for you to proceed with a claim. Generally, here are some key tips for smooth freight claims process:
- Take the detailed pictures of the damage, and notify your carrier/broker. If you have recognized the damage upon delivery, make the notes on the bill of lading.
- Carrier will conduct an inspection of the shipment first, so don’t dispose of the packaging before the claim is finalized.
- If the carrier is liable for your damage, and your claim is finalized, it usually takes up to 90 days to proceed with a claim, depending on the commodity, value of goods, the carriers, etc.
What documents do you need to file a freight claim?
Some additional papers or proofs might be required, however, the standard document set includes the following:
- Pictures of the damage
- Proof of delivery (POD)
- An original invoice with a stated price paid for the shipment
- A repair estimate (if necessary)
If you need a detailed guide on how to file a freight claim, GoShip.com provides the necessary information on our Claims page. We make the claims process smooth and quick.