Carrier Liability, Freight Insurance and Your Peace of Mind


Many people believe (incorrectly) that liability coverage and freight insurance are so similar that they could be twins. In reality, they’re more like cousins, which is to say they’re related, but they aren’t identical. And that becomes clear when shippers file damage claims. Recognizing what liability coverage is, as well as how freight insurance can help, will save you an aspirin and some cash in the event of freight damages. 

While we want to help you avoid any and all hiccups in the shipping process, accidents happen. In the event of freight damage, you’ll come out like a Boy Scout: always prepared. 

So, what's carrier liability?

When freight arrives to its final destination in less than tip-top shape, eyes turn to the carrier. Carrier liability refers to what the carrier is responsible for covering when damages, delays or losses occur. However, more often than not, the damages discovered fall outside of the carrier’s purview: If damage is the fault of shipper/packager’s error, a public authority’s or what the industry calls an “act of God”—which is defined as extraordinary weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes (this does not include ordinary bad weather, like snow and rain)—the carrier is not liable.

Even though all shipments come with limited liability, it’s important to note that carrier liability covers a certain dollar amount per pound, and generally won’t cover the full value of the damaged commodity in question. 

The carrier ultimately determines how much coverage the shipper will receive in the event of damages, and the amount of coverage offered correlates with the freight class or commodity-type. 

My freight is damaged. Now what?

When filing a damage claim, proof that damage occurred between shipment and pick-up is critical.

After shipment is delivered (and freight inspected):

- Double check the description of the item on the Bill Of Lading (BOL). 

- Take pictures if the damages.

- Upon receipt of your freight, make sure to inspect it and notate any damage on the proof of delivery/delivery receipt. If there is damage that may be concealed, note that as well. As always, the devil is in the details.

- Per FreightCenter’s Terms and Conditions, file the claim with the shipment carrier within 48 hours of delivery.

- If you discover damages after you begin unpacking your freight, stop. Keep all the packaging. Contact your carrier and request an inspector to review the damage.

Prep before transit:

- The consignor (or the person sending the shipment) should take pictures of the freight before shipment.

- Make sure the description of the freight on the BOL is clear; every detail is worth noting. 

- Cover your bases by looking at our packaging tips.

How will freight insurance help me?

Since carrier policies don’t adjust to your cargo’s value, purchasing an insurance policy for your freight is invaluable. Insurance is redeemable no matter what happens between the freight and the carrier (though it’s wise to make sure your policy covers your freight). With proof that the freight was in good condition when it was shipped, a repair estimate or a replacement value can be provided.

FreightCenter is partnered with Falvey Insurance, a full-service freight insurance provider that goes above and beyond to cover your cargo. With Falvey, there will be no additional account paperwork required. When you book a shipment online with FreightCenter, you will simply be asked if you would like to add insurance.

Insurance is there to protect the full value of your cargo, and claims are handled between the you, the consignee, and the insurance company. It’s there to cover all your bases and offer peace of mind, since freight should be the least of your worries.

If you’re interested in learning more about carrier liability, Falvey Insurance, or are ready to get a freight quote, contact one of our freight agents through live chat, or call (800) 716-7608.