Navigating the claims process can be tricky, but these tips will put you on the road to claims success.
Be timely, but don’t rush.
Shippers must submit claims within nine months of the delivery date, and carriers must resolve them within 120 days.
Instead of rushing to file a claim as soon as possible, take the time to thoroughly inspect your freight and have a clear understanding of the quantifiable damage. When you submit a claim with precise, accurate information, it reduces the chances it’ll be sent back to you for adjustment.
Follow the proper format.
The itemization of value and weight is where things can get complicated. A common mistake is listing the damage as one unit when in reality, there are separate items. For example, there could be one damaged box on an entire pallet.
In your claim, you would only need to list one box’s details. You don’t have to outline everything included in your shipment, just the damaged items you’re claiming. This is what causes the most confusion and delay during the claims process.
If you have several damaged items, list them individually in your claim. Use the “Add more” button in the claims dashboard to record additional items and their details. Some helpful tips for this step:
- Provide the number of units for each damaged item.
- List the individual units’ weight, not the total.
- Be sure to provide the exact cost per item shown on the invoice.
Why is this helpful? If one whole pallet is lost, the carrier needs to know exactly what was on it.
Mitigate your losses.
It sounds ironic, but claiming the lowest possible cost of damages will give you the highest potential for success. What does that mean? Essentially, you’ll have a better chance of getting through the process quickly when you submit the most precise quantified losses instead of overestimating.
Trying to upsell losses will hurt more than it’ll help. For example, if you were to submit a claim as a total loss when in reality, only one box had damage, it would be rejected. There’s no negotiating with claims, so don’t overestimate in the hopes that it’ll come down to the correct amount; submit the precise amount of damage from the start.
Keep it consistent.
One of the best ways to support your claim is maintaining consistency across all of your documentation. The most substantial claims have supporting documents that reflect the listed damages.
Thorough records give claims processors solid proof when evaluating the extent of the damage. If a claim is a total loss and the pictures show a small rip in one carton, it would get denied and slow down the process for all parties involved.
Other important supporting documents include an accurate weight. You can support your claim by including website links or spec sheets detailing the exact weight of what you shipped. Carriers outline a per pound liability and guessing your shipment’s weight will affect the claim payment amount. If you’re curious about carrier insurance, check out this helpful article.
Arguably one of the most important documents for your claim, the invoice will verify the value and quantity of items in your claim. If you try to file without one, your claims specialist won’t move forward until they have it.
Hopefully, these tips help you put your best foot forward when beginning the claims process. Happy shipping!