Inland marine can be one of the most confusing types of insurance. Many business owners never even think about it because the name can be deceiving. But it could be one of the most vital coverages you ever get for your operation.
Where does “Inland Marine” come from?
Back in the earliest days of business insurance, Ocean Marine Insurance protected a ship's cargo from losses incurred during its voyage across the ocean. But as land and river trade routes opened up, people started shipping goods beyond major ports via barges, trains, and trucks. Shipping companies still needed to protect their cargo on these journeys, so Inland Marine Insurance was born.
What does Inland Marine Insurance cover?
Inland marine coverage today is extremely broad. In general, it’s property coverage for property that’s not fixed in one place: If it can be moved – whether it's construction equipment, a priceless work of art, or a traveling pet groomer’s equipment – it probably falls under the classification of Inland Marine. Most Inland Marine coverage today is for construction and transportation, but other common examples of property that needs this coverage include:
- Communications and networking equipment
- Medical and scientific equipment
- Clean energy equipment (solar panels and wind turbines)
- Videography and photography equipment
- Computers and electronic equipment
- Musical instruments and works of art
- Property temporarily stored at your location or in transit to your location
Does your business need this coverage?
That depends on the nature of your business and operations. For many businesses, the property coverage provided by a Business Owners Policy (BOP) or Commercial Package Policy (CPP) could be enough. But you should definitely consider getting Inland Marine coverage if:
- Your business frequently ships products or equipment
- You run a construction contracting firm and transport equipment and supplies to and from job sites
- You manufacture and ship goods
- You operate a food vending truck
- You travel around and exhibit goods at trade shows
- You have a client’s property temporarily in your possession
These are just a handful of the many scenarios where you need Inland Marine coverage. Even if your business is stationary, you might need coverage for items such as computer hardware and electronic data processing equipment. Also think about what you or your employees might put in a vehicle each day to go to a job site, including project plans, client information, equipment, or any number of high value items.
Protect yourself from these costly risks
Let’s face it, when you’re transporting products or valuable equipment, these items are at tremendous risk. An accident caused by vehicle failure, inclement weather, or another driver could result in costly damage to those items. In fact, collisions are one of the most frequent causes of Inland Marine losses. Inland Marine coverage is particularly vital if you ship high-value products or materials, which are often excluded from basic property coverage. This coverage can spare you the devastating costs of replacing products, equipment, tools, or materials in the event of an accident.
If you’re transporting products, equipment, or supplies without Inland Marine insurance, you’re taking unnecessary risks that could deliver a crushing blow to your profits. Why take the chance? Talk to your independent agent today to find out if Inland Marine is the coverage you need to eliminate those risks.