Maybe you are a physician who makes house calls. Or, perhaps, you run a mobile medical clinic. In these cases, you and your medical equipment will likely leave the confines of your office. Thus, you'll expose this property to damage risks you might not encounter every day. What if one of these items sustains damage? What insurance can you use to protect the damaged items?
Usually, medical equipment benefits from a type of insurance called inland marine coverage. This is protection for expensive items in transit. Medical equipment usually fits this bill. You'll probably want to invest in this coverage before travel.
What's Inland Marine Insurance?
Don't let its name confuse you. Inland marine coverage has nothing to do with water. The concept of this policy developed at a time when America's shipping industry depended on river travel. That's where the marine element comes from. In the 21st century, we depend much more on interstate travel as opposed to water to move goods. Nevertheless, the inland marine name has stuck.
For items lost or damaged during transport, inland marine insurance can step in to help. Rather than losing out financially because of expensive losses, let your coverage help. It can help you pay for damage sustained in wrecks, weather, fire or theft. Check your policy to see specific covered perils.
Why Does Medical Equipment Need Inland Marine Coverage?
You might think you automatically have protection for medical equipment. After all, your might have under BOP coverage or a commercial property policy for these items.
However, not so fast. Standard BOP or property insurance has its limits. First, your policy might exclude high-value materials. Second, all property policies will include financial limits.
Given that medical equipment can cost thousands of dollars, such an expensive item might not have enough coverage. Should you try to make a claim on your policy, you might find that it won't include enough protection. If you can't get the funds to replace a damaged item, that's a financial and professional loss to your practice.
With inland marine insurance, you can extend coverage to the equipment you transport. Should damage occur, you'll likely can make a claim on your policy and receive coverage.
Inland marine coverage will also often cover more than just medical equipment. It might also cover computers, network equipment and other materials in that vein. So, whenever you carry exceptionally valuable materials in your vehicle, you'll likely have coverage under this policy.
How Much Inland Marine Coverage Will Need?
No inland marine policy is the same. Sometimes, how much coverage you receive from a claim might vary. You could receive the full replacement cost, or a cash value settlement. These will often vary based on the age or depreciation of the item. Keep in mind, you will often face deductibles alongside your policy premiums. Those who transport medical equipment will need their coverage to match the value of their equipment.
Enhancing Inland Marine Insurance with Other Protection
Inland marine insurance is not a stand-alone policy. It has to work in conjunction with your other commercial insurance coverage. By carrying other coverage, you'll protect yourself from more risks.
Inland marine insurance will likely work alongside your commercial auto insurance. However, these are two very different policies. Commercial auto coverage usually doesn't include a cargo or shipment element. Furthermore, it won't include inland marine insurance. Still, commercial auto insurance will help you pay for vehicle damage and damage you cause to others. Therefore, alongside inland marine coverage, commercial auto insurance will create a comprehensive level of protection when you hit the road.
Inland marine coverage can also add extra protection to your standard commercial property insurance. However, it won't cover items stored in your business. Regular BOP property insurance can often extend to these items. With inland marine coverage, you'll likely have protection for all materials, at all times.
Coverage can also extend certain protection to items belonging to your clients. Therefore, it will look a lot like commercial liability insurance. For example, if you take a patient's equipment for repairs, you can use this coverage to insure the item. However, you might need to add an element to your policy called motor truck cargo insurance.
Protecting Medical Equipment
Rather than expecting your inland marine coverage to be your first line of defense, use it as a backup. Your priority must be to protect medical equipment in transport. That can reduce your chances of having to file a claim on your policy. If you don't file claims, you'll be better able to maintain a low risk profile. That might help you keep your premiums affordable.
Whenever you hit the road with your medical equipment, protect it in all ways possible. Wrap it, pack it securely, and keep it locked within the vehicle at all times. If a problem arises, however, don't hesitate to turn to your inland marine coverage for help.
If you would like to learn more about how inland marine insurance can help protect your medical equipment, call the Joseph A. Britton Agency today at (800) 462-3401.
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