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Inland marine insurance is a critical yet often overlooked component of business risk management. Businesses and residents alike can help to protect their assets beyond a fixed location. In other words, this type of coverage provides protection as goods, equipment, and other valuable properties transit across the country or sit at off-site locations.

Inland marine insurance has evolved to fill the gaps for goods in transit on land, offering tailored coverage that standard policies may not provide. Today, we take a dive into the world of inland marine coverage, shedding light on its importance, who needs it, and how to select the right policy. 

Join us as we explore the ins and outs of this coverage to ensure your mobile assets are protected.

Understanding Inland Marine Insurance

Many businesses and homeowners have comprehensive coverage to protect their assets on their property. But, what about when items are being transported? The truth is, that whenever items are moved between locations, they face various risks.

Items large and small can be lost, damaged, or stolen during their journey – regardless of whether it is a cross-country haul or across town. Commercial inland marine insurance offers protection for these assets until they safely arrive at their destination. These policies generally cover items once they’re loaded onto a land-based vehicle, such as a truck or train, or stored in a third-party warehouse for loading onto a vehicle at a later time.

This very specific type of property insurance fills in coverage gaps to safeguard goods in transit over land and can help pay to repair or replace your property in the event of a loss. Few items are too small or too large to benefit from this type of property coverage.

What Does Inland Marine Insurance Cover?

This type of insurance is appealing to many businesses because it can cover high-value products that may be excluded from basic commercial property insurance.

Specifically, inland marine insurance coverage can protect:

  • Business property in transit
  • Landscaping equipment and tools
  • Construction equipment and tools
  • Computers, laptops, and other technology
  • Communication and networking equipment
  • Video and photography equipment
  • Fine art and collectibles
  • Medical and scientific equipment
  • Sales samples
  • Company trade show exhibits

It’s also important to note that this coverage protects products shipped to customers, especially high-value products. Learn more about the potential inclusions in this type of insurance.

This insurance is paramount since items in transit are prone to many risks, including:

  • Theft
  • Drop and damage
  • Vehicle collision
  • Water or fire damage
  • Wind and hail damage

Inland marine coverage protects you from these risks and more.

Inland Marine Insurance vs Ocean Marine Insurance

Ocean marine and inland marine insurance are similar in name, and both cover items while in transit. However, there is an important distinction between the two. Ocean marine insurance, as the name suggests, covers items that are sent across the ocean, while inland marine insurance covers items in transit on land.

Ocean marine insurance protects from the time items are loaded onto a ship until they’re unloaded at another port. Inland marine insurance picks up where ocean marine insurance leaves off, filling important gaps until your items are safe and secure on your property.

For businesses that ship items from overseas and then need land transportation or storage, having both of these coverages is crucial to protect their assets throughout their journey.

Forklift loading truck with commercial goods to be transported inland

Who Needs Inland Marine Insurance?

Surprisingly, an inland marine policy is one of the few insurance policies that may be beneficial to both businesses and individuals. Let us begin with businesses. Many businesses use this coverage to protect their goods and equipment when in transit.

The experts at the Insurance Information Institute emphasize that businesses that utilize specialty equipment and products such as the following should consider this type of coverage:

  • Computers, everything from servers to laptops
  • Communications and networking equipment
  • Construction and contracting equipment
  • Medical and scientific equipment
  • Photography equipment

Anyone from food truck vendors and landscapers to photographers and medical professionals can benefit from inland marine insurance.

Inland marine insurance may also be suitable for some residents. For those who do a lot of online shopping, a personal policy can help ensure your products are protected from the time they’re sent by a merchant until they’re safely delivered.

How Much Does Inland Marine Coverage Cost?

As with other insurance options, inland marine insurance costs can vary depending on several factors. Though there is no one-size-fits-all estimate, understanding the factors that influence premiums can help you anticipate expenses more accurately.

Let us take a closer look at a handful of factors that can affect the cost of inland marine insurance:

  • Value of Items: Perhaps one of the most influential factors that determines your premiums is the total value of the items being insured. Naturally, high-value shipments or equipment will be deemed riskier and result in higher premiums.
  • Type of Items: Similarly, an insurer will need to know the nature of the items being stored. High-risk items like electronics or fine art may come with higher premiums compared to more durable goods like certain heavy-duty equipment or smaller mail samples.
  • Transportation Frequency: How often is your business transporting goods on land? Frequent transport increases the risk of an accident, potentially raising premiums.
  • Risk of Damage: Insurers will also take a hard look at the perceived risk associated with where and how goods are being transported or stored. This risk assessment may look at factors such as the method of transport and routes taken.
  • Location: Speaking of routes taken, the location where items are being transported can also affect premiums. Areas prone to natural disasters or routes with high theft rates are often deemed higher risk.
  • Claims History: Finally, businesses or residents with a history of claims pose an increased risk to insurers and may face higher premiums.

Given these variables, the cost of inland marine insurance can range significantly. However, it is an extremely important type of coverage for businesses of all sizes that transport goods on land. That’s especially true for high-value goods or specialized equipment.

At World Insurance, we understand that the last thing you need to deal with is a loss to your business property while it is in transit on land or being stored at an off-site location. Our professionals can provide a commercial inland marine insurance quote and coordinate coverage with your other business policies.

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