5 Tips to Make Your Freight Claim Experience as Painless as Possible
One of the more complex parts of the shipping experience is what to do when your freight is damaged during transit. Freight claims can be stressful and confusing if you’re not familiar with the processes and the jargon associated with them. But understanding how they work and the steps of the claims process is essential for your shipping department and your business as a whole. It may seem difficult; however, there are a few things you can do to make freight claims quick, efficient, and painless. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the freight claim experience more easily.
1. Keep Timeframes in Mind
Our first piece of advice is simply to stay patient and keep all timeframes in mind as you go through the freight claim process. By law, once a carrier has received a claim submission, they are given 30 days to acknowledge receipt of the claim. After that, they are permitted another 120 days to investigate the claim. In addition, the National Motor Freight Traffic Association allows carriers an extra 60 days after that, providing that they send written status updates, if a decision hasn’t been reached by the end of the initial 150 day period.
This does seem like a lot of timelines to worry about, but one way to manage them is to simply set a reminder for yourself to check in with the carrier every 3 or 4 weeks. This will give carriers plenty of time to do their investigative work and provide beneficial status updates to you.
2. Give Information when Requested
You should expect that multiple carrier agents will be working on your claim during the process, especially if your claim involves a high-value shipment. With as many people involved in the freight claim as there are, there may be an instance where one agent is missing some key information that another agent already knows. During the 150 day claims process, the carrier may reach out to you to get that information, and your claim will be put on hold until that information is delivered. When this happens, make it a priority to contact the carrier to deliver that information to ensure delays with your claim are minimal. Often, a quick phone call is all that is needed to clear up the issue.
3. Gather All Necessary Documents and Evidence Before Submitting a Claim
With the rapid pace at which the transportation industry moves nowadays, you might easily assume that filing a freight claim is a time-sensitive matter. However, it is best to ensure that you have gathered all documentation, inspected your goods thoroughly, and make sure it is in your possession before submitting the claim. It will help you save a lot of time later on because you will be prepared for everything the carrier may need in the course of their investigation. In addition, as a shipper, by law you have 9 months after date of delivery to submit a formal freight claim to a carrier, so there is no need to rush. Be thorough and gather everything you need before submitting your claim.
4. Mitigate Products If You Can
A shipper should try to do one of three things when a commodity is damaged in transit: salvage, repair, or discount it. If your commodity can be repaired for less than it cost to make it, it is better to make the repairs and file a claim for the cost of those repairs. If you go this route, make sure the carrier has a chance to inspect the products first and let them know clearly that you may mitigate your goods before you continue with the freight claim.
5. Get Insurance
Unless otherwise specified in your contract with the carrier or third party logistics provider, all LTL shipments tend to fall under the carrier’s limits of liability. Liability limits vary depending on the class or weight of the shipment, the actual products being shipped, and whether the products are new or used. And, depending on the situation, the carrier may choose to pay out the maximum liability allowed or decline your claim if they determine the shipment falls under their exclusion list. However, you can protect yourself and your company by purchasing shippers’ insurance, which will cover your shipment at full invoice value in case something happens during transit.
AFP Global Logistics
For any and all of your freight shipping and warehouse storage needs nationwide, look no further than AFP Global Logistics. We provide a full range of shipping and logistics services, and our 25 years in the business have given us the tools we need to create customized logistics solutions that are tailored to the needs of each client we serve. We have what it takes to provide the superior shipping and logistics solutions that your business needs to thrive. For more information or to start designing your own logistic solutions today, get in touch with AFP Global Logistics at 410.590.1234 (toll-free 800.274.1237), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our quick and easy contact form here!