Claims for Household Goods Damage

Regional Claims Attorney

Office of the Staff Judge AdvocateNewly assigned personnel and students are coming into the Fort Leavenworth area from all corners of the globe. Some may be fortunate enough to have their household goods picked up and delivered by the same moving company. Most people arriving here will either have had their personal affects stored for an extended period or they will have been handled by a number of different moving companies. Some will be seeing their furniture and other belongings for the first time in a number of years. Regardless of how your property arrives or who handled it there is a possibility some items may have been lost or damaged.When your household goods are delivered, the mover should provide you with some pink-colored forms. (DD Forms 1840/1840R)

As your goods are unloaded you should note on the DD Form 1840 any items which were damaged or missing. These major missing or damaged items should be noted before the mover leaves your new quarters. The mover will sign the form, take the original and leave you with three copies. If you find additional lost or damaged items after they leave you should list them along with the inventory number on the reverse side of the form. (DD Form 1840R)70 DAYS TO TURN IN DD FORM 1840/1840 RYou must turn in the pink form (DD Form 1840/1840R) to the Claims Office within 70 days from the date your goods were delivered. This form is the official notification to the carrier that there may be a claim and they may be held responsible. If the form is not filed within the 70 day time limit, the government cannot recover any money from the moving company.

Your claim will be offset by the amount the government could have recovered had you properly notified the carrier. In many instances you may not receive any compensation for a lost or damaged item which you did not put on the pink forms. This is not to mean you have only 70 days to file a claim. The pink forms must be turned in to the Claims Office within the 70 days. The moving company is entitled to timely notice of potential claims. You will have two years from the date of delivery to actually file the claim for damage or loss.If you have lost or missing items you should immediately notify the Transportation Office at 684-5653. They will try to trace your missing items. When you bring your DD Form 1840 to the Claims Office it will be signed and dated. You will be given a copy for your records.

You should retain your copy as proof you did your part to notify the carrier within the 70 days. When you turn in your pink form you may also pick up a claims packet. The claims packet is also available on our web site.  The packet contains forms, examples and instructions. A separate claim should be filed for each shipment that sustained loss or damage.ESTIMATES ARE REQUIREDBefore turning in the actual claim, you will need to obtain one estimate of the cost to repair or the replacement cost for each item where the repair or replacement cost is over $100. All electrical items, regardless of cost, require a written estimate of repair or replacement. You may also be asked to provide a statement as to the condition of the electrical item before shipment. If you are a member of another service you should contact the Claims Office for specific instructions. We have claim forms for Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force claims.We are not able to inspect all shipments because of the large number of personnel arriving in a short period of time.

It is not always necessary that damage to your household goods be inspected. A conclusion as to if an inspection is necessary may not be made until the claim has actually been filed.NEED IMMEDIATE REPAIR - CALL FIRSTShould you have items that need immediate repair, you should contact the Claims Office before having the repairs performed. If there are health or safety reasons why certain items should be thrown away contact the Claims Office before you dispose of them. The carrier has the right to inspect any damage that is reported to them and pick up items damaged beyond repair for their salvage value. The carrier will frequently contact a repair firm in the local area to inspect the damage and provide the carrier with an estimate of repair.The Claims Office has a list of repair firms and a variety of catalogs and brochures to help you in obtaining replacement and repair cost. This information is also available on our web site. Don't hesitate to talk with one of the claims representatives if you have a question. We can often help you to find someone to make an estimate.MUST FILE WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANYMany individuals who have high value or unique items have private insurance; others have purchased replacement value insurance from the carrier.

Prior to submitting your claim against the government you must file a claim and settle with your insurance company. Many insurers provide coverage for missing and water-damaged items. If you do not file with your insurance company the processing time for your claim will be delayed. Most insurance companies allow a 90-day period following receipt of your shipment in which to file a claim. If you have a loss you will need to immediately notify your insurance company. All claims for replacement value insurance purchased through the Transportation Office are to be made directly with the carrier and not through the Claims Office.NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR INSURANCE The Army Claims System is not a substitute for insurance. For many items, it is to your advantage to have private insurance. The time it takes to receive your money is directly related to the size of the claim, the number of damaged or lost items and the completeness of the required documentation. Once your claim is submitted it normally takes between three and four weeks to process it.

The Claims Office is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between the hours of 0730 and 1600. On Wednesday the office is open between 1300 and 1600. Appointments are not necessary. For further information you may contact the Claims Office at 684-4945.


Last Reviewed: July 18, 2008

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