The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) recently made significant changes to the filing of claims for concealed damage that could affect your business drastically. Specifically, prior to this update under the NMFC, consignees had 15 days from delivery to notify the carrier and file a concealed damage claim. However, this new change now requires all concealed damages to be reported to the carrier within five days of delivery.

Concealed damage occurs when a consignee signs for freight without noting any damage upon delivery, but later when the item is opened the receiver finds that the product was in fact damaged during shipping. Those receiving shipments need to be much more timely and diligent when it comes to inspecting products; and in notifying carriers of concealed damage as soon as possible. If you act otherwise, you run the risk that the carrier will decline the claim.

Here are a few key takeaways from the announcement:

1. If the delivery receipt did not note any damage, you must notify the carrier within five business days and file the claim as soon as possible for a chance at the best outcome.

2. When you discover concealed damage, make sure to take digital photos of the damage and forward them to your carrier representative. They will forward this evidence to the delivering terminal to make them aware of the damage, which will greatly support your claim.

3. You can still file a claim at any time. However, if you file six or more days after delivery, there is a chance the carriers will not honor your claim. It is up to their discretion.

TIA’s Operations Committee is developing a policy recommendation to be sent to the TIA Board of Directors. If you have any feedback, please send to Chris Burroughs (, 703.299.5705).

TIA recently completed work on the Cargo Claims Framework, and this invaluable member resource can be viewed under the members’ only section of the website. Click HERE.