Preventing Missing Item Claims

September 07, 2023

By Casey Myers

Champion Risk & Insurance Services welcomes the opportunity to provide you with important information about insurance coverage and issues that can help you mitigate risk for your business. This month, we’re sharing information about preventing missing item claims.

Missing items are a significant problem that affects the moving industry nationwide.  Many claims are paid simply because the drivers, packers and warehouse personnel are not taking the time to accurately notate on the shipping documents items to be moved or not moved.   


If your company doesn’t use an electronic inventory system, now may be the right time to consider one. It’s a great way to reduce the risk of loss or misplaced items. In addition, it helps streamline operations, enhance the customer experience and improves overall efficiency.


Here are some top tips to reduce missing item claims at origin, destination and storage in transit (SIT).


Tips to Reduce Missing Item Claims at Origin

Here are some tips to help limit missing item claims at origin: 


  • Walk through the home with the customer to ensure tender of all items intended for transport.
  • Be sure to inventory last-minute items.
  • Confirm the pack inventory matches the number of cartons tendered.
  • Separate shipments in the van.
  • When using more than one set of tags, use different color inventory tags and number sequence to avoid confusion when checking off at delivery.
  • Use the utility carton (also known as a parts box) for small hardware and accessory items, like remotes, phones and casters.
  • Record serial numbers of all firearms and follow federal regulations for their safe transport.
  • Record makes and models of electronic items.
  • Use appropriate locks on trailers. We recommend Enforcer
  • Control entries to the trailer during loading operations.


Controlling Shipments at the Warehouse

When shipments enter or leave the warehouse, the warehouse manager should require staff to:


  • Check inventories carefully when receiving or releasing items.
  • Prepare an inventory of “no tag” items.
  • List missing and “no tag” items on Exception Sheets.
  • Make sure all items that do not fit in storage vaults, such as ladders and physical fitness equipment, are properly accounted for.
  • Restrict parking of privately owned vehicles next to warehouses.
  • Train your staff to be vigilant in reporting suspicious activity.
  • Do not allow unauthorized personnel into the warehouse.
  • If a shipper retrieves items, update inventories to note that the item was received by them. Do not leave them alone in the warehouse.
  • To reduce loss, close and secure all doors when not in use.
  • High-value items, like high-end electronics, should be secured in the warehouse cage.


Limiting Missing Item Claims at Destination

Tips to limit missing item claims at destination include:


  • Explain the importance of the check-off process to the shipper and suggest that they participate.
  • Provide the Descriptive Inventory and Inventory Control forms before beginning delivery.
  • Account for and confirm delivery of “no tag” items.
  • Sign and have customers sign all inventories, including inventory control forms and the Bill of Lading.
  • When using a bar code system, scan all items and have customers sign the Exceptions and Inventory Control forms.
  • For their safety and to minimize claims, do not allow shippers to enter trailers during the unloading process.


Why Use an Electronic Inventory System?

One of the simplest ways to reduce missing item claims is by switching to an electronic inventory system. While there may be upfront costs associated with implementation, the long-term benefits in terms of improved efficiency, reduced errors, and enhanced customer satisfaction can lead to significant cost savings. Here are a few more reasons why an electronic inventory system makes good business sense:


  1. Efficient Tracking and Management: With digital records, you can easily keep tabs on the location, condition and quantity of each item, reducing the risk of lost or misplaced items.
  2. Optimized Resource Allocation: Electronic inventories allow moving companies to allocate resources more effectively. This includes assigning the right vehicles, personnel and equipment based on inventory demands and job requirements.
  3. Reduced Paperwork: Electronic inventories eliminate the need for manual documentation, saving time and reducing administrative overhead.
  4. Minimized Errors: Automated electronic systems help reduce human errors, which means your records are more accurate and there are fewer costly mistakes.
  5. Compliance and Reporting: Electronic inventories facilitate easier compliance with regulatory requirements and reporting obligations.


No matter whether you use paper-based or an electronic inventory management system, it’s worth the time and effort to be certain that you’re training and providing refresher training. Your company will benefit from the time it takes to manage inventories with the utmost care, eliminating costly missing item claims.