What is Inland Marine Coverage?

Whenever equipment, inventory, or products are being transported between two locations, they’re exposed to potential risk. Whether construction equipment is being towed across town or products are being sent from New Jersey to California, items large and small are susceptible to being lost, damaged, or stolen while in transit. Inland marine insurance helps protect shipments until they reach their destination.

Inland marine coverage is a specialized form of property insurance that's used to protect items being transported over land. Policies may be used to insure small items, such as product samples, or large equipment, like construction equipment.

How Are Ocean Marine Insurance and Inland Marine Insurance Different?

Ocean marine and inland marine insurance are similar in that both types of insurance protect items while they’re in transit. These two forms of coverage provide coverage for different situations, though.

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Ocean marine insurance typically covers items that are sent across the ocean, hence the term “ocean marine.” Most ocean marine policies provide protection 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. Inland marine policies generally cover items once they’re loaded onto a land-based vehicle (e.g. truck or train) or put in a third-party warehouse for later loading onto a vehicle.  

The phrase “inland marine” can be traced back to days when boats were the primary way to ship goods inland. Items were loaded off of ocean-going ships and onto smaller vessels that could navigate inland waterways. While the term has remained, policies’ coverages have been updated to include more modern and efficient modes of transportation.

(The exact coverages that a specific ocean marine or inland marine policy provides can vary.)

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Who Can Benefit from Inland Marine Coverage?

Inland marine coverage is one of the few insurance policies that may be beneficial to both businesses and individuals.

Many different businesses frequently use this coverage to protect goods and equipment when they’re in transit. Just a few examples of businesses that might benefit from an inland marine policy’s protections include a:

  • Landscaper who tows lawnmowers to clients’ sites
  • Contractor who tows heavy equipment to job sites
  • Videographer or photographer who brings expensive cameras to shoots
  • Pharmaceutical company that mails lots of samples to reps

Residents who might benefit from inland marine coverage are usually people who do a lot of online shopping. A policy can help ensure that products are properly protected from the time they’re sent by a merchant until they’re safely delivered. 

Don’t Carriers Provide Insurance for Shipments?

While many carriers do offer insurance for shipments, the amount of coverage that’s automatically included when sending items doesn’t meet the needs of all businesses and individuals. High-value and high-volume shipments may exceed carriers’ standard insurance protections. In these situations, purchasing an inland marine policy is sometimes more affordable than paying a carrier for additional coverage.

Make Sure You Have the Right Coverage

How Can Businesses and Residents Get Inland Marine Policies?

Businesses and residents can get assistance with finding inland marine insurance by contacting an independent insurance agent in their area. While inland marine policies aren’t as widely advertised as some other types of insurance, many insurance agents are familiar with this type of coverage. An independent insurance agent can help compare policies from different insurers and identify the one that provides the best coverage for a particular business.

Meet Your Industry Specialist

Jeff Kroeger

Principal, Senior Vice President, and Head of Commercial Lines, Mr. Kroeger also manages the company's hospitality book of business and is that unit's primary producer. He is a graduate of Montclair State University and was named a 2015 Young Gun Insurance Business America.

Jeff has been providing exceptional insurance for restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and more for many years. He understands the unique challenges this industry faces and delivers the right coverage at an affordable price.

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