If you’re like most people, you may never have heard the term “inland marine insurance,” also sometimes called transit insurance. However, if you need to ship personal or business valuables in transit, it could save you thousands of dollars. Attorney Bill Voss explains inland marine insurance and what it does and doesn’t cover.
Let’s say you’re a small business owner selling custom electronic circuits. Your parts come from China by boat and then travel by rail and truck to your business in New York, where your team assembles the circuits according to customer specifications. Your latest shipment of $50,000 in parts arrives from overseas. On the way to New York, the semi-truck carrying everything jackknifes in a traffic accident and your sensitive parts spill all over the road—pretty much destroying everything. Without the right insurance coverage, you could face a huge loss. It can and does happen. According to Packaging Digest, anywhere between two and 11% of goods arrive at shipping distribution centers damaged.
What Is Inland Marine Insurance?
Contrary to the name, inland marine insurance doesn’t provide insurance for your boat. But this insurance coverage did originally emerge from ocean marine insurance roots. Traditional marine insurance no longer covered goods when customers needed to move property between ports and their inland destinations because it was no longer under an ocean marine shipping document or around water. Businesses and individuals were left with the minimal coverage offered by the shipper, typically a very small amount. As a result, insurers developed inland marine coverage to protect valuables after leaving a shipping port. This coverage finally plugged the gaping hole in property insurance coverage. Now, you can add inland marine coverage to your homeowner’s policy or your commercial property insurance to protect your valuables while in transit.
What Does Inland Marine Insurance Cover?
Whether you are shipping commercial or personal property, you can benefit from inland marine coverage, which can cover property damaged or lost from:
In some cases, your inland marine coverage may cover mysterious disappearances and accidental drops and damage.
If you’re shipping personal items, inland marine insurance coverage can fill the gaps left in your homeowner’s insurance policy, covering:
- Golf equipment
- Coin or stamp collections
- Musical instruments
- Camera equipment
- Business property
- Cash or gold
- Trailers, outboard motors, and watercrafts
- Fine art
- Computer equipment
If your business regularly ships products or equipment, you should consider inland marine insurance coverage. It can cover a wide range of specialized products such as:
- Computer equipment and servers
- Photography equipment
- Construction equipment
- Networking or communications equipment
- Medical equipment
- Scientific equipment
Your homeowner’s, Business Owners, or Commercial Package Property policies often won’t fully cover these valuables. However, an inland marine insurance policy can more fully protect these valuables.
What Won’t Inland Marine Insurance Cover?
There are some specific things most inland marine insurance policies won’t cover, including:
- Business or personal vehicles: Your personal or business auto insurance should cover cars.
- Stationary property: Property that isn’t in transit is typically covered by your commercial property or homeowner’s insurance.
- Earthquake and flood damage: You’ll need to purchase separate flood or earthquake coverage.
- Property sent by sea or air: You’ll need ocean marine insurance or air cargo insurance for this coverage.
- Property damaged before shipping.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
In a perfect world, when you suffer a loss, your insurance company would simply verify the claim and pay you. But in the real world, insurance companies often deny inland marine insurance claims for any possible reason because it’s easier than paying for high-value claims. When this happens, you need someone on your side who understands the insurance industry and has the legal knowledge to fight for your rightful claims.
If you have questions about inland marine insurance or you’re getting the runaround from your insurance company, it’s time to consult an experienced attorney. Simply fill out our contact form today to get answers to your questions, or download one of our free guides. We’d love to help you.