How to Avoid Freight Damage

Freight damage inspection

How to Avoid Freight Damage and How to Deal with Damage (If It Happens)

[Updated April 2022]

The uncomfortable truth is that shipments do get damaged. It happens rarely in the freight industry (to less than 1% of shipments) but it does happen, and we understand that it can have a huge impact on your business. However, it also holds true that these accidents are often preventable. That’s why we’ve assembled some helpful information — to fortify you against damages and to prepare you in case of an incident.

How do I prevent my shipment from getting damaged?

Package your freight like a pro

How to palletize your freight for safety of your shipmentThe most important thing you can do to prevent damage (and your cargo will thank you for this) is to package your shipment properly. To start with, we always recommend to all our shippers to palletize their cargo. Palletizing your freight is neither hard nor expensive, it can be a cheaper shipping option (as quoting for 1 pallet is often cheaper than quoting for 40 loose boxes, for example), and it protects the cargo.

Palletizing is just the beginning. If your shipment is fragile you may need to take additional steps, such as making sure to shrink-wrap it and then secure it to a pallet, or even put it in a crate. Please keep in mind that carriers reserve the right to inspect the cargo prior to shipping, and they may refuse to ship if they deem the cargo not sufficiently protected.

Okay, my shipment got damaged. What now?

You’ve taken all the necessary precautions, and your shipment still got damaged. Here’s how to proceed.

1. Inspect your freight before signing Proof of Delivery

Most importantly: always inspect your shipment before signing your POD and note any damages or missing pieces on the POD. This helps you with filing the claim with the carrier later — not noting damages on the POD might weaken the claim, as nobody can prove that those damages didn’t occur after delivery.

A breakdown of pallet packaging and shipping documentation

2. Take pictures and gather extensive documentation

Secondly, take pictures and gather as much documentation on your freight as possible. Photographs of items showing damages and the carrier’s Pro # sticker in the same photo links the damage with the specific carrier Pro #. Documents such as supplier invoices or commercial/custom invoices showing the cost of damaged goods, weight and inspection reports — all these will help your claim.

3. Notify the carrier immediately

Finally, respond quickly. Most carriers require immediate notification of damages or within 24-48 hours at most. Carriers who offer expedited services may require sooner notification. Remember that you can always refuse damaged shipments at the delivery location. This immediately indicates the problem to the carrier.

4. You can refuse the damaged shipment


Whom do I notify?

Please notify the carrier first, after you have downloaded the claims forms from their website. Next, please contact our client care at (800) 886-4870 ext. 1 or at [email protected] to request a full and complete invoice. We can also provide you with the carrier claims forms.

I have filled in the claims form. What else do I include in my claim?

  • Signed documentation: PODs or BOLs stating damages from shipper or consignee.
  • Photographs: before and after if possible, and preferably showing damages and carrier Pro. # in the same photo.
  • Emails and correspondence: between clients or consignees and carriers, partner carriers, drivers, Freightera employees, etc.
  • Complete Freightera invoice including any and all additional charges.
  • Your supplier’s invoice showing the cost of damaged goods.
  • Any other relevant documentation pertaining to your shipment:
    1. Weight and inspection reports
    2. Bond documents if applicable
    3. Shipper’s commercial invoices stating values of goods being shipped
    4. Any other documents supporting your claim

Please don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 886-4870 Ext. 1 or email [email protected] if there is anything we can do to support your claim process. We can help you by providing any relevant documentation that we have access to including the client’s invoice, POD, BOL, weight/inspection reports, bond docs, and/or claim forms.

We can also provide carrier contact information if you need it.

Free Freight Quotes
For Businesses

Get Freight Quotes in 15 Seconds

Light Bulb Icon Choose if you’re shipping up to 10 pallets.
Light Bulb Icon Choose if you need a dedicated truck.
Light Bulb Icon Choose if you’re shipping heavy or oversized cargo.

or Sign Up | Login

Offer For Businesses Get Additional $25OFF Your Online Shipment
Thank you for reading our blog!

Ready to Ship?

Access the best freight rates from 100s of carriers in 15 seconds.
Compare prices and book online 24/7!

Sign Up Today

Looking for a Freight Shipping Solution?

Freightera is ideal for wholesalers, manufacturers & distributors,
shipping regularly in the USA & Canada, or cross-border between the two.

Get Quotes