Here’s How to Submit a Claim for Lost and Damaged Shipment

facebook sharing button
twitter sharing button
linkedin sharing button
Smart Share Buttons Icon Share

Receiving your parcel in poor condition can be a dampening experience. Even worse when the contents are affected or the shipment completely goes missing! Claiming can be an arduous and tiresome process that we want to avoid all together. At DHL Express, we want to ensure that you have the best possible shipping experience, even if unfortunate scenarios happen.

While we do our best to ensure your shipments are delivered safely, we acknowledge that there are unlikely circumstances where your shipments might get damaged or even lost. DHL Express focuses on service excellence and strives to provide a satisfactory resolution in such situations. 

We assume the responsibility of your shipment the moment it is handed over to our courier or lodged into any of our retail points. When you submit a claim, it has to be within 30 days from the date that DHL accepted the shipment to be considered as a valid claim. 

Here are some important shipping tips on what you should do when your shipment get damaged or lost.


If you or your consignee receives your parcel or document in an unintended condition, you should take the following steps:

  1. Take pictures of the exterior of the box if it shows any sign of compression, dents, or damages. Usually, signs of stress on the exterior corresponds to the damaged portion of the contents.
  2. Take a photo of the interior of the box, how it was packed, and the condition of the actual contents. If the contents of the shipment are in good condition despite the exterior packaging damages, it is recommended that you do not pursue a claim with DHL Express any further as the item is still usable/functional.
  3. Get the original pictures of the condition of the box prior to sending out from the shipper. A comparison between the before and after will be very useful in identifying how the damage might have possibly happened.
  4. Contact your local customer service and notify them of the damage. You will be prompted to provide the 10-digit Air Waybill (AWB) number along with some basic verification proving you are either the sender or receiver. 
  5. Provide as many pictures as you can by e-mail, clearly indicating which pictures are from the shipper, and which pictures are from the recipient to make a distinction between before and after.
  6. The customer service agent handling your case will lodge a ‘trace’ to further investigate the details of the damages by working with all the various transit points that your shipment has been through in our network. 

In approximately 3 working days, you will receive an update from one of our DHL Express representatives on the results of the investigation. If your request to claims is successful, your case will be directed to our claims department, where they will reimburse you accordingly.


Claiming against lost shipments is slightly different, mainly due to the lack of information or photographic evidence. The process might take slightly longer than damaged shipments because our operations team will have to conduct physical checks. 

There are 2 types of cases for lost shipments. First is a complete loss where we are unable to locate your shipment and the second is when the consignee receives the shipment but some pieces or the contents are missing.

  1. When you ship with DHL Express, you are always given an estimated delivery date and you are able to track your shipment. If tracking does not show any progress for more than a day, you should contact your local Customer Service department on its whereabouts. 
  2. You will be prompted to provide your AWB number and do basic verification. 
  3. At this stage, you should provide interior and exterior pictures of the shipment prior to sending out. If the shipment gets lost, it might be due to the physical AWB falling or tearing off, preventing us from continuing the shipment’s journey. A picture would provide a reference to locate the shipment, so we can re-paste the AWB for you!
  4. In most cases, a lack of progression on track could be due to standard shipping or customs delays. The agent will be able to tell you in detail the current status and the reason for the delay. If there is any reason to believe that the shipment or parts of the shipment are missing, a trace will be lodged to request for photographic evidence at its last point of sighting within our network.
  5. At this point, you will receive periodic updates on the whereabouts of the investigation. If the shipment is located, it will be delivered as per normal. If not, your case will be directed to the claims department for processing.


Prior to shipping, you may have opted for shipping insurance, if so, a successful claim will warrant you complete reimbursement of the value of your shipment you have indicated on the shipping invoice. This is only applicable to parcels. If you have purchased extended liability, which is insurance for documents, then you will receive a fixed claim amount in the event of damage or loss of your documents.

If you had not purchased shipping insurance or extended liability, you can claim for standard liability. 


If you follow the steps when you have a damaged or missing shipment above, our customer service team will lodge a ‘trace’ and conduct an investigation, alerting the relevant service points within our network to get more information, pictures and accuracies to the case. Approximately 3 days later, you will receive an update on the findings. 

If you are successful, you can request for a claims template form that you will have to fill in and forward back to the customer service agent for processing. The case will be transferred to our Claims Department, where you will be contacted for a final resolution before the case is closed completely.


For damaged shipments, in many circumstances, damages are due to a lack of proper packaging. We strongly recommend that you take a look at our packing guide to ensure that your shipment is ready for international express delivery.

Having your shipment completely lost is very unlikely because DHL Express operates our whole network independently. All our facilities deploy a standardized process to account for your cargo. Usually, when a shipment is thought to be lost, our security departments will be notified to conduct a thorough comb of our facilities. Sometimes, instead of a shipment being lost, it may be misrouted or missorted to another location. In such cases, a retrieval process will take place to bring it back to its intended destination. 

At DHL Express, we value your positive shipping experience. Our processes and staff are trained to reduce or eliminate the possibilities of damages and losses. 

If you wish to find out more about insurance or claiming with DHL Express,