Brrrr. In most parts of the country, the temperature is starting to inch downward. On top of that, millions of people are still recovering from seasonal events such as hurricane-related damage and flooding. When bad weather and other disasters strike, they can impact many areas of your business, including your shipping. This vital part of your business can often be dependent upon weather factors that are not always predictable or easy to prepare for.
Consequences of inclement weather and natural disasters on your shipping could include service interruptions for shipments to or from the affected areas, delays on shipments passing through those areas, rising fuel prices and more.
Some common weather-related scenarios that could impact your shipping include:
- Microburst winds
- Other types of natural disasters
Sounds scary, right? There are ways to mitigate the risks so that current or potential bad weather won’t keep you from maintaining your business’s vital shipping activities. Understanding the facts and your options can help prepare you to deal with weather-related issues if they do arise.
Always Be Aware
It’s always a great idea to stay on top of your shipments, and inclement weather makes tracking all the more important. For UPS shipments, you will still be able to track your shipment online, although you may find that your shipment has been temporarily diverted. You can also contact your Unishippers office for support in tracking your shipment.
For freight shipments, your Unishippers office may be able to track down the current location of your shipment, depending on the situation.
Remember Reimbursement Limits
Many shippers assume they’ll be reimbursed for weather-related service failures on guaranteed shipments. This is a false assumption. Unfortunately, weather is considered “an act of God” and is therefore exempt from reimbursement for unmet delivery dates.
The same goes for issues with your shipment being lost or arriving damaged. Weather-related damage will likely be considered the result of an “act of God” and may be exempted from carrier liability. Claims for lost shipments may be paid depending on the situation, but reimbursement is far from guaranteed.
The bottom line on reimbursement is that it’s always a good idea to insure your shipments to protect your business from predicted and unexpected weather events. Which leads us right into the next topic!
Be Sure About Insurance
One of the best ways to maintain peace of mind with your shipping is to ensure that you’re insured. Here are a few insurance-related items to be aware of:
- Carrier liability covers only loss or damage incurred from the negligence of the carrier. When shipments are lost or damaged through “an act of God” (such as weather or natural disaster), your business will be out the value of the good. Insurance steps in to help cover the costs and keep your business financially whole when a shipment is lost or damaged due to circumstances outside of the carrier’s control.
- Insurance only covers loss and damage and won’t reimburse for guaranteed delivery delays in the case of weather.
- For liability rules and exclusions on freight shipments, you’ll want to review your carrier’s current General Rules Tariff, which is typically available on their website.
- In addition to insuring your heavy freight shipments, be sure to declare the full value of your small parcel shipments to take advantage of shipment insurance rather than relying on the generally lower coverage amounts of default carrier liability.
- For Small Pack loss or damage rules, refer to the Declared Value section of the UPS rates and service guide (Acts of God – PG. 170) or check out UPS’s rates here.
Don’t let bad weather give you soggy shipping and an even soggier bottom line. The shipping pros at your Unishippers office are also always available to answer your questions, rain or shine!