The last thing any shipper wants to hear is that their freight was damaged somewhere along the way to its final destination. Even a small amount of damage can lead to upset customers and strained relationships. You’re out money and the customer is left without the product they expected. Needless to say, this is not an ideal situation to find oneself in. If and when it does happen, the first thing any shipper will do, as a result of said damage, is to seek out compensation. So what are you entitled to and what are some roadblocks you might face along the way?
At FreightorGator we’re always trying to provide our customers insight on how to ship their product as safely and as securely as possible. We don’t like dealing with damages and claims so providing knowledge on the front end to help mitigate these issues makes sense for all parties involved. If you’re a shipper that sends out freight with any regularity there will always be a chance your freight is damaged. That’s just part of the industry. In this blog we’ll look at the coverage you might receive from a freight carrier and highlight the differences between freight liability and freight insurance.
Many shippers confuse this with freight insurance. As the shipper, there are several things you must prove in order to be compensated for your damaged freight:
- The product was undamaged when it left the shipper’s location.
- The product was not damaged by the receiver upon delivery.
- The product was noted as damaged, shorted (only a percentage of the product actually made it to the receiver) or the product arrived unreasonably late.
Once the shipper establishes these elements it now falls on the carrier to show:
- No negligence on their part.
- The loss or damages were caused by one of the following acts:
- An act of God
- An act of the public enemy
- An act of the shipper
- An act of the public authority
- An inherent flaw in the product itself
Should the carrier be unable to prove any of these requirements were not met, the shipper will be able to receive compensation from the carrier up to the amount of liability they offer as part of their rules tariff. All carriers are different when it comes to the amount of coverage so make sure you know what entitled to for each shipment.
If you are planning on filing a claim with a carrier, here are a few other things to remember:
- Your claim must be submitted within 9 months of delivery.
- The carrier can take up to 30 days to let you know they’ve received the claim and may take up to another 120 days to respond.
- If there is no note on the delivery receipt/BOL that there was an issue with the freight it is highly recommended you file your claim immediately.
I’ve had many conversations with customers who’ve mentioned that their freight is already insured. When pressed about this they say “this is what the freight broker told me.” Freight insurance will almost always be set-up through a 3rd party. At FreightorGator, we’ve worked alongside a company called Falvey Shippers on a number of occasions, and if you’re not sure where to start, they are a strong option. To get started, just send them your freight information. Within a few minutes, you’ll receive a quote back from the insurance company informing you how much they will charge to cover it.
I’m not going to go into all the various types of freight insurance; there’s a lot of options for you. Here are a few pointers:
- There is no such thing as total and complete coverage, no matter what you may have been told elsewhere.
- Read your policy carefully – freight insurance is like anything else; you get what you pay for. Don’t get left out in the cold because your policy didn’t cover what you needed.
- Proving carrier negligence is not necessary for receiving compensation for damages or loss.
- Just like with carrier liability, you’ll be required to show proof of value and proof of loss.
- Claims filed through insurance will usually paid out within 30 days of submission.
Freight damage is both frustrating and inevitable. Make sure you know where you stand with the freight carrier you choose – before you ship.