Excuse me, sir, have you got the time?
What’s worse than waiting around for something to happen? Not knowing how long you have to wait around for! We get a lot of questions surrounding claims and the timeline of events. To help you better understand how long the process is really going to take, read on.
Filing the Claim
First and foremost, let’s talk about how long you have to actually file the claim. You have a maximum of nine months after delivery to file a loss or damage claim (unless it is a concealed damage claim) – but the quicker you can file a claim, the better. Also, be sure to always pay the freight charges when you file a claim.Often, carriers will not process claims on unpaid shipments and failing to pay freight charges can result in the denial of a claim. And always remember to keep your shipment in the condition it was delivered until the claim is completely resolved.
When a claim is submitted, the carrier has 30 days to acknowledge receipt of the claim; therefore, it is not necessary to follow up with a carrier on the status of a claim before 30 days has elapsed (and it won’t change anything). Note that acknowledgement of receipt is not the same as a settlement. If after 30 days has elapsed and you have not received communication from the carrier, you can then go ahead and follow up with the carrier.
Settlement of Claims
The general guideline for carriers to settle claims is 120 days. Keep in mind, however, that 120 days is simply a guideline. There is no government regulation requiring that claims be settled in 120 days. That being said, if the claim hasn’t been settled in 120 days, the carrier must notify the claimant (that’s you) in writing every 60 days with the status of the claim. They can continue notifying every 60 days as long as is necessary. If 120 days has elapsed and the carrier has sent no communication, then it is okay to follow up on the status of the claim. However, it is important to note that the carrier then has 30 days to respond to your request for an update.
As you can see, the carrier claims process can be lengthy, which is one reason why we recommend purchasing shipment insurance as the claim process can be significantly shorter (for more on shipment insurance, go here). To help ensure that the claims process goes as smoothly as possible, you can also read up on our Tips for Filing Claims page.
Loving this series devoted to all things claims? We’ve got more info coming, so come back next week when we delve into what you do with your stuff while your claim is being processed.