Mobile Health Clinics Need Inland Marine Insurance
Craig Skerpac, MBA
Numerous medical practices now take their services on the road. They often use mobile medical units to take office services into communities in need. If you plan to do so with your practice, you must put some thought into moving. After all, you'll want to protect what you take with you. With certain items, you might only be able to do so by using inland marine insurance. What is this coverage?
Transporting medical supplies means moving a significant amount of property value. So, these items need enough insurance to protect the practice's finances in case of their loss. Sometimes, the only way to achieve full coverage is to buy an inland marine policy.
Mobile Medical Clinics in Brief
Countless Americans in rural or disadvantaged communities do not have easy access to health care. Yet, medical professionals of every specialty have envisioned genius ways of taking care to those areas. It's called a mobile medical clinic.
Mobile medical clinics are essentially fully-stocked doctor's offices on wheels. Usually, they are vans or large conversion vehicles. They might visit communities to provide diabetes testing for home-bound senior citizens. They might travel to rural communities that don't have access to full hospital services. They can often provide lab testing, pregnancy care, X-rays, vaccinations and more.
However, to provide this care, you'll need to take certain equipment with you. Given the high cost of most medical items, you’ll want to have insurance to protect them offsite. Inland marine insurance is usually one of the best ways to achieve this coverage.
What's Inland Marine Coverage
Many people transport business equipment off the business's premises. Doctors working in mobile clinics might need to transport machines and stock to render services. In these cases, insurance is a must.
You might expect your business's property insurance to cover equipment damaged during transport. However, you might find that your policy won't cover these items. This could occur for various reasons. For example, coverage might not provide high enough limits to cover high-cost equipment. Others might explicitly exclude certain items, like medical devices.
Therefore, to cover these items, turn to inland marine insurance.
Inland marine insurance covers items in transport. The marine portion of coverage is a historical term. Coverage today will cover items in transport over land, too. It generally applies to specialty equipment, usually of significant value. For example, a medical office's sonogram equipment will likely qualify for coverage.
How Does it Work?
Let's say it is a day that your practice will host a mobile pregnancy clinic in a rural community without a hospital. You might need to take along pregnancy tests, examination and lab supplies, and a host of other items.
However, while on the way to the clinic, you stop to get gas. While you go into the store, someone jumps into the medical van, and speeds off. They have stolen the vehicle, and thousands of dollars in supplies along with it. That's a major financial loss to you if you don't act.
You'll have to report the theft to police, and you'll likely need to involve your commercial auto insurer. Those two parties will help process, investigate and start recovery of the vehicle. However, call your inland marine insurance provider to claim the lost equipment.
Most inland marine coverage will consider theft of the medical items as a covered loss. The policy might help you recover, repair or replace the lost items. Talk to your agent about the financial limits you need to achieve full protection. Of course, don't forget that you will need a commercial auto insurance policy for your vehicle itself.
Protecting Items in Transport
If you need to make a claim on your inland marine insurance, then your insurer will likely be able to help. However, they will also want you to do your part in protecting medical equipment when you take if offsite.
By doing so, you'll be able to improve your risk profile as an insurance customer. That might lower your chances of having to file a claim at all. It might even help both you and your insurer reduce your costs of coverage.
Careful use and oversight of items in transport will likely prove a saving grace in your clinic.
- Always know what items you are taking with you. If you must disassemble items, store and secure them appropriately.
- Keep an inventory and checklist of all your equipment. Check the list before you leave both your office and your worksite.
- Drive safely. You'll want to avoid accidents. You'll also want to keep sensitive equipment from coming loose in the back.
- Keep the vehicle locked whenever you get out of it. Even if you only need to leave for a second, flip the lock switch.
With the right care, you'll be able to avoid losses that lead to inland marine insurance claims. You'll likely save yourself a lot of hassle by avoiding potential problems.
If you would like to learn more about how inland marine insurance can help protect your assets, call the Joseph A. Britton Agency today at (800) 462-3401.
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