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March 16, 2018

It is the car owner’s worst nightmare that after entrusting their beloved vehicle with someone else for shipping, to find out that the car was damaged in the process. Whilst the odds of this happening are not that great, it can, and the owner needs to know what to do in the aftermath of such an unfortunate event.

What to do beforehand

Be aware of the insurance offered by the shipper. Know what you will be entitled to in the event of damages. See if the shipper allocates responsibilities to you as the owner to fulfill prior to shipping the car, such as draining the gas tank and leaving only a small amount of gas behind. Do what is required of you, document it in writing and take photographs.

Take all the necessary precautions to prevent damage to your vehicle such as ensuring that there are no leaking fluids, removing ornaments from the car such as roof racks, and waxing the car to protect it from the elements. Document any precautions you have taken to protect the car in writing and take photographs as well.

When you deliver the car to the shipping company, take photographs of the entire car. Make sure that the photographs are clear.

What to do when you receive the vehicle

Upon receiving the vehicle, immediately check it before signing off on any documentation such as a delivery note or bill of lading. Inspect the car thoroughly and take your time doing so. Check the undercarriage of the car for any damage or leaking fluids. Inspect the exterior and interior of the car to make their condition has not changed. Check the odometer of the car to make sure that the car has not been driven a substantial distance during the shipping process.

If you discover damage

The moment you see that there is damage to the car, take photographs and point it out to the shipping company representative who is attending to you. Ask if the shipper will issue you with a Vehicle Condition report. It is common practice that after you have signed for receipt of the car (usually a bill of lading), the company representative issues you with a Vehicle Condition report. Do not sign it unless it contains all the damages you have noted on the car. If there is no Vehicle Condition report, write down all the damages noted on the Bill of Lading before you sign it. Make sure you get clear copies of all the documentation.

Institute your claim

Once you have the necessary documentation and you have taken possession of your vehicle, approach the offices of the shipping company to initiate an insurance claim for repairs. You will need to fill in various forms. Make sure you get copies of any documents you sign. If the claim is denied outright or you feel the process is being stalled, it is best to contact the Better Business Bureau for their help.