Why Medical Offices Need Inland Marine Insurance
Craig Skerpac, MBA
You generally think of your medical office as staying in one place. Usually it does. Still, that doesn’t mean that you won’t transport materials, equipment and valuables between locations from time to time. When you do, these items might benefit form a type of insurance called inland marine coverage. What is this coverage? Is it any better than property insurance?
Any item you transport off your business site could sustain significant damage if accidents occur. Given the value associated with medical equipment, any loss to such items could prove devastating to the practice. You’ll want to recoup your losses from such accidents, and it is inland marine coverage, that might help you do that.
What’s Inland Marine Insurance?
In general, inland marine coverage applies to expensive items during times that they are in transit or outside the business premises. Businesses that frequently transport materials or take possession of the materials of others can benefit from the coverage these policies supply.
Commercial property insurance might not cover all of the losses associated with the damage to your most-expensive items. Within a medical practice, as you might expect, there are usually quite a lot of these. They might include things like computer systems, diagnostic equipment, communications networks and more. Even seemingly-simple assets in your practice, like a portable sonogram machine, could cost thousands of dollars.
It is inland marine insurance that can help protect items like these that sustain damage. Therefore, if you have any plans to move these items, you will likely benefit from coverage. It can pay to help you repair or replace the damaged or destroyed item.
What Will it Cover?
Most inland marine insurance policies cover a variety of movable items. To simplify this, you can think of it as insuring four types of items. These are:
- Movable items, or items in transport: In medical practices, these could be any variety of equipment. It might include items that you take with you on house calls.
- Property in your care: If someone leaves their belongings in your care, this coverage can help you pay in case you damage or destroy these items.
- Instruments of communication, information transfer, or transportation: Both computer systems and data are transferable items. It is this coverage that might insure these items in certain circumstances.
- Unique or highly-valuable property: This might be a particularly-important type of insurance for medical equipment. If you have very expensive equipment, or if no other type of insurance will cover said item, then this coverage might help you get that coverage.
Often, you will need to talk to your agent to determine if you need inland marine insurance for certain items. As a rule of thumb, if you ever plan to transport expensive medical equipment offsite, then you will need this coverage.
Isn’t Property Insurance Enough?
Most commercial insurance offers some degree of coverage for your business’s contents. Items belonging to medical practices are no exception. Many of them often have coverage under your contents policy. But, there’s a catch.
Whether the policy applies to equipment taken offsite of the business might vary. That is because the risks of damage or loss of these items changes (and grows) when you move items out of their normal surroundings. Some policies will pay for smaller or less-valuable items if you take them offsite. Others will only pay for property damaged while on the business’s premises.
Not only that, but property insurance also has financial limits. Policies will pay maximum amounts of money for damaged items. They might even exclude certain items from coverage. Your most-valuable equipment might fall outside the offered property coverage altogether. This is especially true if you have to move those items off the premises of the business.
Situations like these are when inland marine insurance might be able to step in. The most-valuable equipment in your possessions almost always can benefit from the extra protection offered by an inland marine policy.
Is this Commercial Auto Insurance?
Inland marine coverage does apply to items in transport, including by road. However, it is not commercial auto insurance. Coverage will not apply to damage that a practice’s vehicles sustain. Nor will it apply to the property damage that you cause to other parties. Rather, commercial auto insurance collision and liability insurance will pay for damage to these items.
Commercial auto policies almost never cover business possessions transported in vehicles. Rather, property damaged in car wrecks might be able to receive coverage from your commercial property insurance. As a result, that is exactly the reason that you need inland marine insurance. The standard property insurance simply might not cover items in transport. Therefore, if you want protection, you will want the most-effective policy you can get.
If you have any movable items within your medical practice, contact your agent at the Joseph A. Britton Agency. We’re here to help you in all cases where you might need inland marine insurance.
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