concealed damage

Concealed Damage in Freight & What You Need to Know

concealed damage Concealed Damage is one of the worst parts of freight shipping. No doubt about it. You take the time to package the freight correctly, you inspect the freight at delivery, you sign the POD “clean,” and then you finally unpack your shipment and…damage. Ahhhhhhhhh!!! But fear not. All is not lost. There is a process that deals with concealed damage, one that *fingers crossed* can help you file a damage claim, and hopefully retrieve money lost. This blog will walk you through the process, supplying you with the information you need to know, and the steps on what to do. But first, let’s start with a simple definition.
Concealed damage is freight that might have been damaged during transit, BUT, the damage/loss/shortage was not notated on the POD.
To avoid getting burned by concealed damage, follow these steps:
  • When the consignee (you) accepts the shipment, take the time to inspect the freight before signing the Proof of Delivery. Of course, this requires the driver to wait until the completion of the inspection, and some drivers can be pushy or impatient (not all the time, but it happens!). If this is the case, sign the POD with “Pending further inspection.” This can help during the claims process later down the line. 
  • If you find yourself dealing with concealed damage, time is of the essence! Contact your broker immediately. Explain the situation. They’ll take care of contacting the freight carrier and alerting them of the damaged shipment. On your end, take pictures and notate the damage. These pictures will be essential in the claims process
  • Take control of your freight. Drivers and carriers have a lot of pickups and deliveries on their plate, so don’t take their word that they’ll alert the carrier, or take pictures and start the claim process. If you run into concealed damage it will be up to you and your freight broker to alert the carrier, file the claim (usually within 5 days), and perhaps even set up an inspection appointment when the carrier could come out and see the damaged freight.
Concealed damage is a real pain in the butt, and we’re not going to lie to you, it can be difficult to get full payouts from damaged freight that doesn’t have notations on the Proof of Delivery. Filing damaged freight claims and getting the full payment due is hard enough as is, and that’s with a signed POD at the time of delivery stating, emphatically, THE FREIGHT WAS DAMAGED AT THE TIME OF DELIVERY – HERE’S THE PICTURES. To get payment when that doesn’t exist makes things difficult. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow these steps! We’ve talked before about third party insurance, but it’s a really important weapon in the fight against concealed damage (or damage of any type, really). If you purchase third party insurance, you have a much greater chance at getting a full payout for damaged freight, concealed or otherwise. So if you are worried about the consignee not properly inspecting the freight at the time of delivery, we recommend getting third party insurance!

Note EVERYTHING on the delivery receipt.

How you fair with your freight’s concealed damage comes down to timeliness and attention to detail. Do everything in your power to inspect the freight before you sign the POD, while the driver is right there beside you. If you find that you’ve been a victim of some concealed damage, alert your freight broker immediately. They’ll give you the best chance at recouping at least some of your loss. 
frequently asked questions claims

Frequently Asked Questions About Claims

frequently asked questions claims
FAQs with Claims
Being a claims specialist with FreightPros can be a difficult job. No one wants to get that call or email that your freight has been damaged, refused by the consignee, or outright lost by the carrier. Unfortunately, as a freight broker we don’t have any control over how the carrier handles your freight. However, we can supply you with the tools to fight the good fight when it comes to damage and claims. We have lots of blog posts on how to receive an LTL shipment, why PODs/delivery receipts are so important, how to actually file a claim, and even the importance of getting third party insurance on your freight. This post, however, will focus on some of the many questions I get about the claims process, and hopefully these answers will help to set the proper expectations when filing your freight claim. Q: “If my freight damage was signed for, I took pictures, and put all the accurate information in my claims documents, I’m guaranteed a 100% payout on my claim, right?” A: Not necessarily. Some important things to remember about your claim are: the amount you are asking for, the weight and class of the freight, and whether or not the product was new or used. All claims require a commercial invoice declaring the value of the damaged product. If the freight was only partially damaged and some of it was salvageable, the carrier may not pay out the full amount requested. If the product was used, the value would also be deemed less. Weight and class are also very important factors. Carriers have limited liability for cargo claims and can base maximum payouts based on the freight’s class and weight. If you are shipping a high value item, it is always best to check with your claims specialist about a particular carrier’s liability for cargo claims, or inquire about third party insurance prior to shipping. Q: “My claim has been ‘under review’ for more than 30 days now. Why can’t this process move faster? Can you do something about it?” A: Unfortunately, no. As a freight broker, we do not have any control over the time frame a particular carrier sets to review and resolve their claims. Once this is process has started, it is completely up to the carrier’s claims department to either close the claim quickly, or take their time to review all the evidence presented to them before making a decision. The claims process can take up to 90 days or even a little longer depending on the carrier, so patience is always appreciated. Q: “Our freight was clearly damaged and our claim was denied because the carrier said the POD/delivery receipt was ‘signed clean.’ Is this right?!” A: This is why it is incredibly important to notate any damage on the POD when the freight is delivered. If no damage is signed for and the freight is accepted by the consignee, the carrier can easily say that the freight may have been damaged after the delivery, and outright deny the claim. It is not impossible to get some sort of positive claim outcome in these instances, but it does make the process a lot more difficult. If this is ever the case with your freight, be sure to move quickly on concealed damage claims, and be very detailed with your documentation. Q: “Is it really worth getting third party insurance for my freight?” A: Third party insurance is always a great thing to get if you are shipping high value freight. However, just like with any other insurance company, there will be a deductible. When you’re considering getting third party insurance, keep in mind the commercial (not retail) value of your freight. If you’re shipping something that is valued at $25,000, it’s a good idea to get third party insurance, however, if you’re only shipping freight that’s worth $650, you may be looking at a possible, maximum $150 pay out after a $500 deductible and it may not be worthwhile. Take these things into consideration prior to shipping and do what’s best for your cargo. CC Image courtesy Tracey Adams via Flickr 
first freight shipment checklist

First Freight Shipments: A FreightPros LTL Checklist

first freight shipment checklist
Don’t Fear Your First Freight Shipment
First freight shipments can be scary. LTL is not for the faint of heart, and it starts right from the beginning. Is my freight packaged correctly? Do I have the right insurance? Am I using the right carrier? The right bill of lading? When will the driver make the pickup? The delivery? These are valid questions, and at FreightPros, we have the answers. We also have a customized First Shipment Process that we enact with all our new customer’s first shipments. This enables both broker, and customer, to get off on the right foot when it comes to first freight shipments. Here’s a checklist for your first freight shipment in LTL, and some ways that FreightPros assists the process. Is my freight packaged correctly? This one is easy. Is it palletized, or crated? If you’re shipping boxes, are they wrapped and secured on the pallet? Depending on the commodity, is it safely secured for LTL shipping? Check out our blogs on standard-sized pallets, and the 65% pallet rule for more packing info. Do I have the right insurance? We REALLY push our customers to get third party freight insurance. Read the blog for details about why, but quickly, we’ve found that the carrier insurance often does not have sufficient coverage for expensive items. It’s not too expensive most of the time, and peace of mind is worth it. What about my Bill of Lading (BOL)? Bills of lading are some of the most important parts of freight. Check out our blog on freight bill of ladings for more information. And ALWAYS use the customized FreightPros BOL at the time of pickup to avoid delays in transit. When will the driver make the pickup? Standard LTL procedure dictates that most deliveries are done in the morning, and most pickups are in the afternoon. Of course, exceptions exist for certain circumstances, but afternoon pickups are a good benchmark to hold. With FreightPros, your first freight shipment will be monitored with ETAs up to three hours before the “shipper” close time, to confirm the freight is on board for pickup. When will my freight deliver? It’s important to remember that LTL shipping deals in “estimated transit times.” Unless you’re willing to pay extra for guaranteed freight service, pickups and deliveries are not a 100% certainty. This sounds ominous, but it’s really not. Especially with our first freight shipments, we make sure to use the best carriers (with the best pickup and delivery success rates), and using ETAs and freight tracking, we make sure to handle your first freight like the professionals we are. We can also look at expedited shipping. It’s right there in the name: FreightPros! cc image courtesy andrechinn via Flickr
5 mistakes shipping freight

5 Mistakes You’re Probably Making With Your LTL Shipping

5 mistakes shipping freight
And how to avoid them
Shipping freight shares some interesting qualities with life, mainly, they can both (at times) be a pain. They can also be glorious. There is little more satisfying than the hand-raised victory dance that accompanies a particularly difficult delivery. I’m not kidding. I’ve seen dancing in this office because freight picked up or delivered. But yeah, sometimes things can get tough. We’ve got a full archive of Freight Papers to prove it. But like life, most of the time in freight you’ve got to push through. Grit your teeth. Squeeze those eyes shut. And just do it. Who knows, maybe you’ll reach your moment of cathartic glory on the steel podium of a liftgate. So here’s 5 shipping mistakes you might be making. Maybe you’re making one, maybe all five, but addressing these freight mistakes will make your life easier, and bring you one step closer to the glory of a successful LTL shipment. 1. You’re not using a freight broker This is not a shameless plug for FreightPros (even though we are the best freight broker if you’re into freight brokers). A freight broker can offer you so many things that you didn’t even know you’re missing. Better rates. Customer service. Customized TMS. The list goes on and on. 2. You’re not getting insurance In life as in freight, not having insurance is a bad idea. It’s like my dad told me when espousing the merits of defensive driving: “It’s not you I’m worried about…it’s everyone else.” He said that when I was 16, so he was clearly lying. I was a road-terror on par with Mad Max, but you get the point. Mistakes happen in life and freight. Get insurance. It will be worth it in the long run. 3. You have crazy expectations Don’t take it personally. All of us have crazy expectations from time to time. Remember that LTL shipping deals in estimated times of transit. Just because something is supposed to deliver on Tuesday doesn’t always mean it will deliver on Tuesday. Sometimes it might be Wednesday (or later). But hey, maybe it’ll be Monday! If timing is your thing, take advantage of guaranteed shipments and hot shipments. Set your expectations correctly, and you’ll be more flexible in an industry that requires it. 4. You’re not using pallets LTL is not Fedex. It’s not Amazon. It’s not a good idea to ship fifteen boxes, untethered, floating willy-nilly in the back of a semi-truck in not one, not two, but probably five different trucks from five different terminals. One of those boxes will probably not make it. True story. Consolidate your freight on a standard pallet. It makes everyone’s job easier, from broker to carrier, and gives you a better chance of a perfect shipment. 5. You’ve never heard of “The 2 Hour Window” This is not some lost Alfred Hitchcock film. An LTL carrier requires a MINIMUM of two hours heads-up to make a shipment. That’s a minimum. In shipping, the more planning the better, so plan ahead in contacting your broker and carrier for pickups. If you call at 4pm on a Friday and frantically need to have freight picked up, chances are it’s not going to happen, at least not without the help of a hot shot carrier, and those can be pricey.
understanding freight insurance

Freight Insurance for LTL & Truckload Shipping

freight insurance

Freight Insurance

Freight insurance can save you time and money on your damaged or lost freight. Sounds good, right? Surprisingly enough, we’ve learned at FreightPros that some of our customers aren’t aware of the option for this third party insurance. Hmmm… How to remedy this situation? Suppose we could write a blog about it… To start, there are a few kinds of freight/cargo insurance including third party (additional) insurance, and the coverage carried by the freight carriers on a standard load. In truckload shipping the owner/operators will also likely carry a certain amount of insurance before they are booked on a load (unless they’re not properly vetted). The insurance covered by the carriers is included in your freight quote and varies based on carrier and commodity. As the coverage is not purely value-based, and subject to the carrier’s insurance policy, there is the possibility that the carrier’s freight insurance will not cover the full cost of damage or replacement to a shipment. This brings us to our third party cargo insurance…

Third Party Insurance

Third party insurance offers greater coverage for shipments at an additional cost. The cost can vary based on commodity and the amount of coverage needed, but you’ll receive a specific insurance document with third party insurance, as well as greater peace of mind knowing that your shipment is covered in the event of damage or loss. As freight brokers, we suggest to our customers to use third party insurance if they are shipping valuable or fragile items regularly.

Truckload Shipping Seasons

The final kind of freight insurance comes in truckload shipping, and is carried by the owner/operator as a prerequisite to picking up the load. Often this coverage is around $100,000, but that number can vary. As truckload shipping is very different from LTL, coverage is required for a legitimate truckload shipping quote in a more stringent way than typical less-than-truckload. When it comes to shipping freight, damage is part of the program. This doesn’t mean that all or a majority of your shipments will be damaged, but we believe it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Correct planning and packaging can cut down on many damage issues, but sometimes things happen, and when they do it’s best to be covered.

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