What is Inland Marine Insurance?
When goods are moved between locations, they’re exposed to theft, damage and other potential risks. Inland marine insurance can help Massachusetts businesses protect their goods during transit.
Inland marine insurance is specialized commercial property insurance for situations where goods are moved between locations. Because the coverage is highly specialized, businesses should consult with an insurance agent who’s well-versed in these policies when looking for coverage.
What Massachusetts Businesses Should Carry Inland Marine Coverage?
Inland marine coverage can be crafted to cover a wide variety of transportation, including transportation by both third-party carriers and company employees. This makes the coverage useful to most Massachusetts businesses that move goods. The following are just a few examples of businesses that might want this type of insurance:
- Construction businesses, which move expensive excavation, demolition and construction equipment between worksites
- Landscaper, which drive mowers, weed whackers and other equipment to/from clients’ locations
- Distributors, which have sales representatives take large amounts of sample products to customers’ locations
- Wilderness tour companies, which move canoes, rafts, tents or other gear between tour locations
- Multi-site businesses, which transfer inventory and equipment between various locations
In short, any business that’s regularly moving goods between locations might want inland marine coverage. This is especially true of businesses that ship expensive equipment or have large quantities of goods shipped.
Businesses that are unsure whether inland marine coverage is right for them can speak with an insurance agent who’s familiar with these policies. Such an agent will be able to make an informed policy recommendation.
Should Individuals Carry Inland Marine Coverage?
Most individuals don’t have a need for inland marine coverage. Even with an occasional porch pirate, the cost of insurance rarely outweighs the value of a stolen package.
If individuals do receive especially numerous or expensive packages, however, inland marine coverage might be available. An experienced insurance agent can help individuals explore this option.
Does Commercial Property Coverage Protect Equipment When It’s in Transit?
Commercial property coverage normally protects equipment and inventory when it’s on an insured premise. If items are taken off-site, such as transported somewhere else, commercial property coverage might no longer apply. Many policies don’t extend this coverage beyond a location’s boundaries.
Thus, many businesses’ commercial property coverage doesn’t provide adequate protection for goods that are in transit. When this is the case, inland marine coverage may fill in the gap.
Do Third-Party Carriers Insure the Goods They Transport?
Third-party carriers frequently offer some insurance protection for the goods that they transport, but the afforded protection is often limited. Depending on how much goods are worth, third-party protection could be far less than the value of the shipment.
If a third party doesn’t provide enough insurance coverage for a shipment, inland marine coverage may fill in the gap. Policies that cover third-party shipments are readily available.
How Are Inland Marine and Ocean Marine Insurance Different?
Both inland marine and ocean marine insurance generally protect transported goods, but they differ in what types of shipments they protect.
Ocean marine coverage was historically for inter-continental shipments that crossed seas or oceans. The coverage generally provides protections similar to those found in inland marine policies, but the type of transportation that’s covered is different. Sometimes, ocean marine policies today will also cover goods that are stored in a port’s warehouse.
Inland marine coverage traditionally covered shipments inland from coastlines and within continents. The marine terminology is a holdover from when lakes, rivers and canals were the fastest way to move goods. The protections in today’s policies have been updated for more modern modes of transportation.
How Can Massachusetts Businesses Get Good Inland Marine Insurance?
For help finding inland marine insurance in Massachusetts, contact the independent insurance agents of Flavin & Flavin Insurance. Our agents will work closely with you to find a policy that’s well-suited for your business, and we can recommend the best policy options regardless of which insurance company offers them.