When household goods are delivered, check all items for loss or damage before signing any documents. Be sure to list damages in as much detail as possible while your property is being unloaded. The carrier should give you DD Form 1840 (pink form) and ask you to sign the form.
Service members and Department of Defense civilians are now eligible for full replacement value protection for personal property damaged, lost or stolen during most DoD funded property shipments.
Shipments to or from the contiguous United States have had full replacement value protection since last year. Domestic shipment coverage began Nov. 1, 2007, and protection of non-temporary storage shipments and local move/direct procurement method shipments began March 1, 2008.
Claims for full replacement value are made directly with the carrier or through a military claims office. But those who file claims at a military claims office give up the right to have the carrier settle the claim on the basis of full replacement value. The Fort Leavenworth Claims Office will settle claims by paying the depreciated replacement or repair cost, whichever is less.
Claims must be filed with a carrier within nine months of delivery. The carrier will settle the claim by repairing or paying to repair damaged items. For items that are lost, destroyed or damaged beyond repair, the carrier will either replace the item with a new item, or pay the full replacement cost with no depreciation.
A few large items, such as pianos, organs, all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, vehicles and motorcycles, as well as firearms and objects of art are not covered by full replacement value protection. Likewise, the carrier cannot replace some missing items with new ones. These are items that have value because of their age, such as collectible figurines, antiques, collectible plates, baseball cards, comic books, and coin and stamp collections.
On full replacement value claims, the carrier is liable for the greater of $5,000 per shipment or $4 times the net weight of the shipment in pounds, up to a maximum limit of $50,000. Those who believe the full replacement value of their property is more than $50,000 may be able to obtain additional coverage at their own expense from a private insurance company or from the carrier, if the carrier offers additional coverage.
In addition, if a claim is filed directly with the carrier within nine months of delivery, the carrier will be responsible for obtaining all repair costs from reputable repair firms or replacement estimates when not repairable.
When claims are filed directly with the carrier more than nine months after delivery, the carrier will only pay the depreciated replacement cost or repair cost, whichever is less. Also, the carrier will not be responsible for obtaining repair or replacement estimates and the carrier will not pay more than $1.25 times the weight of the shipment. For example, if a claim is filed on a 10,000-pound shipment 10 months after delivery, the carrier would not be required to pay more than $12,500.
Finally, claims filed directly with the carrier by mail should be sent by certified mail so that there is a record of the date the claim was submitted. Once the carrier receives a claim, it will have up to 60 days to pay, deny or make a final written offer. Once a claim is settled, the carrier has 30 days to make the payment.
Most claimants will obtain more money for less work if they file directly with the carrier within nine months of delivery. The Fort Leavenworth Claims Office is available to assist in filing claims with carriers, sending DD Form 1840R (the pink form the carrier provides upon delivery of shipment) to the carrier, and providing advice about the fairness of carrier offers.
If a claim is filed directly with the carrier within nine months of delivery and the carrier’s final offer is unsatisfactory or a final offer is not received within 30 days, the claim can be transferred to the claims office. However, the Army cannot pay full replacement value immediately. On transferred claims, the Army will pay the depreciated replacement cost or repair cost, and then try to recover the full replacement value from the carrier. Once the Army has recovered the full replacement value from the carrier, you will be paid the difference between what is recovered from the carrier and the amount already paid to you.
Providing prompt notice of loss and damage is an essential part of the new claims process, whether the claim is filed directly with the carrier or with the claims office.
The carrier’s delivery agent must list all loss and damage discovered upon delivery on the DD Form 1840, which is provided upon delivery of a shipment. Any loss or damage discovered after delivery must be noted on the DD Form 1840R and sent to the carrier by certified mail within 75 days of delivery, or through the claims office within 70 days of delivery; this will ensure the form will be forwarded to the carrier within the 75-day limit. Note that submitting the DD Form 1840R merely gives the carrier notice that a claim may be filed -- it is not filing a claim.
The carrier has the right to inspect the damaged items once it receives the DD Form 1840/1840R forms. Normally the carrier will arrange to inspect goods within 45 days of receipt of the DD Form 1840R, but it has the right to inspect damaged items up until the claim is finally settled. If the carrier does not make contact, call the claims office for further instructions. If retaining the items for long periods will cause a hardship or if you are planning to dispose of any of the items, call the claims office as soon as possible. If the carrier cannot claim an item for salvage, the carrier may reduce its payment for that item by 25 percent, regardless of the actual condition of the item.
The Fort Leavenworth Claims Office at 415 Custer Ave. can help and advise on filing full replacement value claims. Walk-ins are welcome from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Fridays or you may contact the claims office at 684-4948. The claims office is closed for federal holidays.
If you need assistance in obtaining necessary documents (such as the Government Bill of Lading), visit the Personal Property Office on the second floor of the Transportation Office on Pope Avenue, or phone 684-5656.