While the vast majority of vehicles are shipped without incident, sometimes damage happens. Auto transport damage claims are rare, but it’s important to understand how they work and how to file one if your vehicle is damaged.
All shippers, including us, will tell you how damage claims are processed in their terms and conditions. But it’s still a good idea to read up on what to expect.
Auto transport damage claims – what to know before you ship
So, when you ship a car, you have to sign what’s called a Bill of Lading (BoL) both at pickup and delivery. The BoL acts as a contract, inspection report, and receipt of shipment all in one. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on the BoL as an inspection report.
When the carrier arrives to pick your vehicle up you are required to do an inspection with the driver to note any current damage. You have to do the inspection – it’s federal law. Not doing so may result in your inability to file a damage claim.
The same goes for delivery – you and the driver do a second inspection to note any new damage. The vast majority of the time, there’s no damage. Carriers don’t want to deal with damage claims. It hurts their reputation and costs them money, so they’re almost always careful. But accidents happen, which is why this process exists.
Failure to report pre-existing damage at pickup, or new damage at delivery, releases the carrier of any liability. It also results in you being unable to file or process a damage claim. Make sure you do a thorough inspection.
Who is liable for damage?
If your vehicle is damaged during transport, responsibility falls on the carrier – not on the broker. Every carrier has to have insurance to cover damage caused by negligence or theft during transportation. If there is damage to your vehicle, you have to report it to us within 24 hours of receipt of the vehicle. If you fail to report within that window, you could forfeit your right to file a claim.
In order to get the damage claim process started, you have to notate all new damages on the final inspection report and also pay the remaining balance as stated on the BoL. Note that the driver also has to sign the final inspection report – no exceptions.
Damage must be clearly marked on the Bill of Lading. Once the damage is properly notated and the shipment is completed (i.e. you’ve paid the driver), you need to contact the carrier’s main office as well as their insurance company.
Who handles the damage claim?
Any damage claim will need to ultimately be processed through the carrier’s insurance company. However, they will only process claims for damage due to the carrier’s own negligence.
But if you’ve done your pickup and delivery inspections, gotten the carrier to sign the BoL, and completed the shipment, let us know within 24 hours. If you’ve done everything you need to do, we’ll provide you with a full insurance packet for the carrier to file your claim.
We won’t file it for you – no broker will. Remember, we are not liable for any of the damages incurred during transport. We are happy to help you start your damage claim process, but it all happens after delivery, once your shipment is completed. It will be up to you to follow up on your claim.
Make sure to keep in contact with the carrier’s insurance company and that you follow all of their advice, rules, and guidelines. Failure to do so could result in your damage claim being rejected.
Use American Auto Shipping for all your transport needs
If you’re looking to ship a car, get a quote from us. Simply fill out our online form or call us at 800-930-7417 to get started.
If you need to file a damage claim, we can help. Just make sure that you’ve done all that you need to do before contacting us. If you have, let your representative know and they’ll get you an insurance packet.
We’re here to help. No matter where you’re shipping, what you’re shipping, or how you need it shipped, American Auto Shipping is here to help.