5 Key Ingredients for the Perfect Car Hauler Inspection Report



To avoid damage claims, auto transport companies must inspect vehicles for previous damage. The inspection report must be prepared both methodically and precisely, in what is called the ‘condition report’ or ‘bill of lading’ (BOL).

Car shipping inspection report documentation historically has been paper-based, but with the use of modern tech,  digital car hauler BOLs can now be completed entirely through your mobile device.

…if anything is damaged between pick up and delivery, blaming the driver is nearly always the first reaction.

Regardless of the circumstance, if the owner of the company cannot prove the driver did not cause the damage, it may result in incidence reports and insurance claims that can cost create added expenses for the car transport company. It also can result in an increase in the transporter’s insurance premium, and an overall negative impact on the business of said auto transport company moving forward.

To avoid this, haulers must do everything in their power to avoid auto transport damage claims from the very beginning. Here are the five best ways to complete the perfect car hauler inspection report.

1) Get Signatures

Car Hauler app digital signature

Obtaining a signature at both the pickup and delivery locations can make a world of a difference. Ideally, the driver should verify that the signer has some legal authority to speak on behalf of the transport customer.

Oftentimes, the driver cannot obtain any signature at locations like auctions, dealerships, or terminals when outside normal business hours but it’s always important to attempt to get a signature as often as possible. No matter where you are, that signature is gold if anyone raises a question after the fact, so you must always try your best to get a signature every time.

…but the driver knows if they have pictures of the damage before they ever touched the car, there is little other proof they will need…

2) Take Pictures

Timestamped BOL App

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Taking photos only takes a few minutes of extra time, and can often go a long way — if drivers have pictures of a vehicle’s condition before ever touching it, then there is little other proof that will need on their auto transport inspection report for disputing damage claims.

Getting clear photos of vehicles can be harder than it looks because of a car’s naturally reflective surface, with sun brightness and shadows sometimes getting in the way. Because of this, make sure you take a lot of pictures including close-ups, different angles from top to bottom, and photos of the damaged areas. These photos help serve as supporting evidence and will help in the event of a damage claim.

Additionally, BOL apps like Super Dispatch have added features such as time stamping and geo-tagging which adds an extra layer of protection for you and your company.

“…our drivers always take inspection photos with ‘Superman,’ we sent him the pictures clearly showing that same dent was there before we ever picked it up. That claim immediately went away, and we never heard about it again!” – Miguel from 2740 Trucking

3) Mark All Damages

In order to fully record the condition of a vehicle, auto transport drives must accurately mark all damages in addition to photographing them. The key takeaway is the word accurate — if a vehicle is ‘dented,’ do not mark it as ‘scratched.’ If there is a ‘crack,’ then don’t mark down ‘chipped.’ For many drivers, these may seem like semantics, but details like these are crucial when fighting a claim. Whenever a vehicle has signs of damage, the hauler is typically the first to be blamed.

In many instances, the tow yard or terminal accidentally causes minor damage to a vehicle that goes unnoticed, and the blame is put on the driver if they fail to mark damages; in this scenario, the driver takes all of the blame and is stuck paying for repairs. One tip to avoid this is by also taking photos of additional documentation and attaching those files to a digital BOL app like Super Dispatch.

4) Complete Additionally Required Documents

Even if the transporter has just completed an excellent inspection report, they may also be required to mark any and all damages on additional forms, such as auto auction gate passes and manufacturing plant gate copies. A digital BOL can be very helpful in this regard.

Additionally, terminals and tow yards sometimes have their own variations to this rule, and the brokers that use them frequently often have their own in-house BOL or condition report that they require to be completed and signed before a transport may meet their own standards of completion. While it can be a hassle for auto transporters to follow through with all of this documentation, not doing so can create exponentially more problems in the future.

Call the dispatcher, call the owner of the company, but be sure to call somebody!

5) Communication Is The Key

If a driver notices something that doesn’t seem quite right, identifying and communicating with the auto broker can stop the issue from getting any worse. If a floor mat is obviously missing, if there’s a strange smell, if a fluid is leaking from underneath – anything out of the ordinary – the driver is responsible for letting somebody know right away.

If it’s not explicitly stated on the dispatch sheet, there could be something wrong that no one else is aware of. So when a broker indicates on the dispatch sheet to call them 24/7 with any questions or concerns, heed their advice and call them. Call the dispatcher, call the owner of the company, but be sure to call somebody! To follow up, take photos and send them, and do not load the car. Good communication prior to loading can be indispensable in order to avoid a major damage claim.

Super Dispatch makes completing inspection reports easier than ever before, with everything from sending BOLs to signing paperwork all done from the convenience of their mobile device. Super Dispatch speeds up the process of shipping vehicles and truly allows drivers to move cars faster than ever before. You can try it for free today.

Published on August 19, 2016

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