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Understanding Commercial Inland Marine Insurance


Commercial inland marine insurance is often a source of confusion among business owners. Even if your company’s operations have nothing to do with the sea, you may need inland marine insurance. Learn more about this important, and sometimes misunderstood, coverage.

What Is Commercial Inland Marine Insurance?

Inland marine insurance provides coverage for equipment, machinery, products, or materials you are transporting over land by truck or train. Coverage also applies to property you are storing in a warehouse or even high-value property you are using at worksites.   

Inland marine insurance is related to marine insurance, which is where its name comes from. Since the word “marine” describes things related to the sea, it makes sense that marine insurance provides coverage for property being transported over water. Inland marine insurance, on the other hand, provides coverage for items being transported over land. The key here is “inland,” not “marine.”

Special Inland Marine Coverage Types

Several types of specialty coverage are written as inland marine insurance. These policies provide coverage for specific situations.

For example, a contractor’s equipment floater covers a contractor’s equipment and tools against loss, damage, or theft. As coverage is not tied to a location, it covers losses regardless of whether they occur in transit or at a fixed location. Contractors can also secure an installation floater – another type of inland marine insurance, which covers property in transit or awaiting installation at a job site.

Motor truck cargo insurance is a type of inland marine insurance that covers for-hire truckers. If cargo is lost or damaged in transit, a motor truck cargo policy will cover the loss.

Bailee insurance is another type of specialty inland marine insurance. It provides coverage for property that belongs to a customer but is in the care of a business. For example, if a customer’s camera is stolen or damaged while at a camera repair shop, the repair shop’s bailee insurance will cover the loss. 

Who Needs Inland Marine Insurance?

Not all businesses need inland marine insurance. For some businesses, commercial property insurance covers the risk of theft and property damage sufficiently. However, for other businesses, commercial property insurance leaves significant coverage gaps. Inland marine insurance can fill in these gaps.

To determine if your business needs inland marine insurance, discuss the following questions with your commercial insurance agent:

  • Does your business use expensive equipment at various locations? Contractors often need inland marine insurance because they have expensive equipment they need to transport and use at various job sites. Other professionals who have expensive equipment they need to move between sites may also benefit from coverage, including photographers and entertainers. Companies that need to move medical, scientific, and communications equipment also frequently need inland marine insurance.
  • Does your business frequently ship products or materials? Inland marine insurance can cover shipments that may not be adequately covered by commercial property insurance against damage that occurs in transit.
  • Is your business in the transportation and logistics industry? Inland marine insurance covers items in transit. This is important for warehouse, logistics, and cargo companies.
  • Does your business take possession of property belonging to customers? Repair shops, dry cleaners, and other companies that act as custodians of property should secure bailee inland marine insurance to cover losses. Art dealers and galleries should use inland marine insurance to protect the fine art in their possession.

You may have other risks that inland marine insurance covers. FICOH offers inland marine insurance solutions that are customizable to meet the needs of your company. An insurance agent will help you review your risks and determine whether you need inland marine insurance. Find an agent.