How to Deal with Concealed Damage in Freight Shipping

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What’s Concealed Damage and What to Do When It Happens

One of the challenges businesses may face in freight shipping is dealing with concealed damage or shortages. Such damage refers to issues that are not immediately visible or noticeable upon delivery and it can be quite confusing for both the shipper and carrier. Here’s some information that can help you maneuver the process if you ever find yourself in that situation.

What is Concealed Damage?

Concealed damage or shortage refers to any harm or missing items from a shipment that was not evident or noted at the time of delivery. If there is damage or shortage and it’s not recorded on the Proof of Delivery (POD) document upon receiving the shipment, it is considered concealed.

Reporting Concealed Damage

The most crucial aspect of dealing with concealed damage is time. Damages or shortages must be reported within 24 hours of delivery. While some carriers may allow up to 48 hours, it’s always advisable to report within the first 24 hours to avoid any complications or straight-up rejections.

Upon noticing any concealed damage, immediately inform a Freightera Client Care representative. We will then notify the carrier and send a letter of intent (LOI), to make the carrier aware of the potential claim.

Just like with standard claims, ensure you have all the necessary paperwork ready. This might include the original shipping documentation, POD, photographs of the damage, and any other relevant evidence.

In some cases, carriers might require a unique report for concealed damages. Though this does not affect the ability to file a claim, it is a requirement by some carriers, and we’ll let you know in a timely manner if any additional action is required of you.

Inspection: Some carriers may wish to conduct their inspection for concealed damages. It’s essential to cooperate and provide any necessary access or information they require.

Challenges and Considerations

If there’s visible damage, the carrier’s insurance specialist might wonder why it wasn’t noted during the delivery. The responsibility is on the consignee to prove the damage occurred during transit and that it was not a result of actions post-delivery.

Generally, if the consignee accepts the shipment and damage or shortage isn’t noted on the POD, it is assumed that the shipment was received in good condition without any issues.

Even with timely notifications and the correct documentation, carriers may decline hidden damage claims if there are no notations of damage or shortage on the POD. Some carriers may offer partial approvals as a sign of good faith, but this should not be understood as a full claim approval.

The deadline for filing a claim may vary depending on whether it concerns damage/shortage or a lost shipment. Always consult with your Freightera representative for specifics, but the rule of thumb should be followed that the carrier must be notified of the issue within 24 hours.


Navigating concealed damage in freight shipping can be complex. However, with timely actions, accurate documentation, and a clear understanding of the process, your business can effectively manage and mitigate the impacts of concealed damage. 

Always work closely and openly with your Freightera rep to ensure you’re following the best practices and adhering to any carrier-specific requirements.

Please ask Freightera Client Care for help via Online Chat or by calling (800) 886-4870 Ext. 1. 

To learn more about freight shipping, please browse our blog. We recommend starting with getting acquainted with the correct freight shipping documentation in this definitive guide!

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