Inland marine insurance covers products, equipment, and valuable goods as they are transported over land or stored at an off-site location. Unlike commercial property insurance, inland marine covers property while it is away from your main premises. The cost of inland marine varies, but it ranges from $300 to $1,000 per year for most small businesses.
The Hartford makes protecting your assets during transportation hassle-free. Their team of dedicated agents identify your specific needs to find you the best policy. Get a free quote in minutes.
Top Inland Marine Insurance Providers
|The Hartford||Specialized inland marine coverage tailored for specific industries and professions.|
|Insureon||Small businesses wanting an online broker with access to multiple top-rated insurance carriers.|
|State Farm||Wide range of inland marine coverage and access to local agents.|
|Liberty Mutual||Businesses of all sizes, including large, national corporations.|
|CoverWallet||Low-cost coverage and quick access to certificates of insurance.|
Five of the top inland marine insurance providers are:
The Hartford has a long history of serving the insurance needs for small businesses. The Hartford offers a broad range of inland marine insurance types, including specialized coverage for industries that need it. Examples include Builders Risk, Motor Truck Cargo, and coverage for special types of property, such as collectibles, fine art, musical instruments and vending machines.
Insureon is an online-based provider that partners with several top-rated carriers. This can be an advantage for getting multiple quotes from different insurance companies at one online location. Insureon’s inland marine coverage is not specialized by industry, but it includes everything small business owners need, including property in transit.
State Farm is a large national provider with 19,000 agents in cities and towns all around the U.S. State Farm’s inland marine insurance includes multiple coverage types, such as motor truck cargo, fine art dealers, photographers, vending machines, and trip transit for one-time shipment of goods. Their broad coverage on various types of inland marine insurance allows them the versatility to work with almost any type of business.
Liberty Mutual has been insuring businesses of all sizes for more than 100 years. They offer customized insurance packages for small businesses, as well as some of the largest companies in the U.S, including Fortune 500 companies. Liberty Mutual’s inland marine coverage includes several different coverage types, including motor truck cargo, bailee’s customer, builders risk, and installation floater.
CoverWallet offers the primary coverage needed for inland marine, including Bailee’s Customer, Motor Truck Cargo, Builders Risk, Installation Floater, and more. CoverWallet can be a good match for small businesses with simple needs for inland marine insurance. Their rates for inland marine start at as low as $15 per month for low risk businesses, and they can get you a certificate of insurance (COI) quickly.
What Inland Marine Insurance Is
Inland marine insurance helps your business protect property in transit and property that is being used or stored in a place other than your primary location. Inland marine can also cover property owned by others that is in your possession. This may include cargo you are transporting or others’ property being held on your premises.
The origination of inland marine comes from marine insurance, which first covered ships transporting their clients’ cargo overseas. Now inland marine covers businesses carrying property on land and when storing it off-site. Coverage may include property of your business or a third-party’s property. Inland marine is most used by companies that frequently ship expensive cargo or heavy machinery, such as trucking companies and builders, or businesses that transport expensive and unusual property, such as an art dealer delivering rare art to customers.
What Inland Marine Insurance Covers
Inland marine insurance covers products, equipment, and materials while they are being transported from location to location over land, which is typically done by truck or train. Inland marine also covers your products, equipment and inventory when they are being stored in a third-party off-site warehouse or storage facility.
Most inland marine policies will protect against these perils:
- Wind damage
- Lightning strike
Inland marine coverage is a long-term, ongoing policy for businesses that transport property, but it can also cover property of a third party that is in your temporary care, such as cargo you are transporting for a client. Remember that coverage varies by industry and insurance provider. Be sure to discuss what specific items are covered and what’s not covered in your policy with your insurance representative before buying a policy.
According to Jeff Somers, President of Insureon:
“The purpose of inland marine insurance is to fill the gaps that commercial property insurance and commercial auto policies can’t cover, such as property in transit, property in a business owner’s temporary care, property that stays in a fixed (but movable) location, and any unique or valuable property that may not be able to be covered under standard insurance.”
What an Inland Marine Policy Doesn’t Cover
The most important distinction to make about inland marine insurance is how it differs from commercial property insurance, which primarily covers your property in a fixed location, such as a building and its contents. Inland marine is primarily for property while it is away from your main premises.
Here are the primary items not covered by an inland marine policy:
- Property at a Fixed Location: Inland marine typically won’t cover items covered by your commercial property insurance policy, which are primarily items in a fixed location, such as a building and its contents.
- Your Vehicle: Inland marine insurance doesn’t cover the actual vehicle you use to transport your property. It only covers the property being transported by the vehicle.
- Transport over Water: An inland marine policy doesn’t cover goods or merchandise being transported across bodies of water, which is covered under an ocean marine insurance policy.
Here are specific examples of what inland marine insurance won’t cover:
- Items that have not yet been shipped
- Items that are damaged after they have been shipped
- Damage to construction sites before construction is started
- Intentional damage to property
Various Forms of Inland Marine Coverage
Inland marine insurance comes in several different forms and is packaged differently by various insurance companies, based on what you need to insure. For example, an insurance company might sell their inland marine insurance as “cargo insurance” or “fine arts coverage.” Also, some policies, such as builders risk insurance, are written on inland marine forms.
There are several types of inland marine insurance that are sold under different names:
- Builders Risk Insurance: Most builders risk policies are written as inland marine coverage rather than standard commercial property insurance. This is because coverage is needed at the construction site but also property in transit or at off-site storage facilities, which are not covered under a commercial property insurance policy.
- Motor Truck Cargo Insurance: Usually used by truck drivers to cover property in transit by land. It covers liability for cargo being carried that is lost or damaged due to causes such as fire or collision.
- Equipment Floater: Typical among construction contractors, this insurance covers their equipment that is often moved from place to place.
- Bailee’s Customer Insurance: This insurance type covers the business as a bailee (a business entrusted with the property of another) for property loss or damage that occurs while the property is in the custody or care of the business. Examples of bailees include warehouses, jewelers, dry cleaners, and repair services.
- Jewelers Block Insurance: Inland marine insurance designed to provide coverage for loss of or damage to jewelry that is the stock of jewelry retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, and pawnbrokers.
It’s an important distinction to make that inland marine insurance covers property that is frequently in transit or primarily stored at an off-site location. This property may be your property or it may be a third party’s property that is temporarily in your care. This differs from commercial property insurance, which primarily covers property in a fixed location, such as a building and its contents at your main business location.
Inland Marine Insurance Costs
The cost of an inland marine insurance policy varies, but most small businesses will pay between $300 and $1,000 per year in premiums. The ultimate cost will depend on a few factors, such as the size of your business, the industry you are in, how much protection you need, and any state requirements that must be met.
Here are the primary factors affecting the cost of inland marine insurance:
- Business Size: A larger business size, in terms of revenue and the value of property being covered, will typically require higher premiums.
- Business Type: The industry you are in will have an impact on premium. For example, a mobile food vendor might pay less than $500 in premiums, whereas a trucker may pay $1,000 for cargo insurance.
- Types of Coverage Needed: If your business stores and transports property, that’s two types of inland marine coverage, which will require more protection than if you had just one type of coverage.
- Type of Property You Are Protecting: Higher policy limits and greater risk is involved with more valuable assets, such as rare artwork, as compared to some construction equipment. More protection translates into higher premium costs.
- State Requirements: Some states may have inland marine coverage requirements for certain businesses, such as trucking companies, that transport goods in their state.
The best way to accurately estimate the cost of inland marine insurance is to get a quote from at least three different providers. When getting inland marine insurance quotes, be sure to review the policy with the insurance representative to assure complete coverage.
Who Needs Inland Marine Coverage
Businesses that work off-site, transport goods and products from location to location, or are in possession of the property of others typically need inland marine insurance coverage. Some businesses get inland marine coverage to protect their own property in transit or storage, or they may need coverage for their customers’ goods, such as cargo or freight.
Here are examples of businesses that typically need inland marine insurance coverage:
- Transport and Logistics Companies: Businesses in the supply chain that ship and store goods in warehouses are prime candidates for inland marine insurance because they are consistently transporting and temporarily storing property of third parties.
- Construction Contractors and Builders: Construction businesses that move equipment and heavy machinery from site to site will need inland marine coverage, which is typically sold as builders risk insurance or contractors equipment insurance.
- Semi Truck Business: Owner/operators and motor carriers will need motor truck cargo insurance, which is a form of inland marine insurance that covers damage or loss to cargo they are carrying.
- Commercial Photography Businesses: High-value photography gear and equipment, such as cameras and related equipment, for large photography businesses that need to be covered when moving from job to job.
- Mobile Food Vendors: Business owners, such as food vendors that don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, need coverage that follows them when they move locations.
- Jewelers: Sometimes called jewelers block coverage, inland marine can be used to protect a jeweler’s inventory, stock on memo or consignment, goods in process and raw materials, as well as customers’ property entrusted to the jeweler.
- Warehouses: When the property of others is in your care or custody, as is the case with a storage business, inland marine insurance can cover loss or damage of the property. Coverage may go by different names, such as warehouse legal liability.
There are dozens of other businesses and professions that may need inland marine insurance. Without this coverage, you may have a gap in your business insurance coverage because neither property insurance nor commercial auto insurance can protect your property as it travels.
Tips for Getting Inland Marine Coverage
Small business owners need to remember that most insurance providers will do a good job of uncovering all the risks associated with your business. However, it doesn’t always make sense to buy coverage just because there is a need. While inland marine insurance may be necessary for some businesses, it may not be the right fit for others.
Here are three tips to consider before you decide to get inland marine insurance quotes:
1. Weigh the Cost vs. Benefits of Buying Inland Marine Insurance
If you transport property from one location to another, you are a candidate for inland marine insurance. However, it’s possible that buying the coverage doesn’t make financial sense. For example, a landscaper who hauls $2,000 of machinery every day on a trailer may not justify paying $300 to $500 per year for insurance.
2. Don’t Assume You Are Covered by Commercial Property Insurance
Be aware that many commercial property policies have very limited coverage for property taken off the specified location unless you’ve had your policy written for your specific business needs. For example, if you have equipment that is frequently taken off-site to various locations, your commercial property policy likely won’t cover this. When getting inland marine insurance quotes, be sure to clarify what’s covered and not covered in your property insurance.
3. Add Coverage You Need to Commercial Property Insurance
Many small business owners need commercial property insurance but their need for inland marine coverage may be minimal. While a standard, out-of-the-box commercial property insurance policy may exclude property in transit or property stored at an off-site location, it’s possible that your insurance provider can write endorsements into the policy to get this coverage included, rather than buying an inland marine policy.
Types of Insurance Related to Inland Marine
Most small businesses do not need inland marine insurance and can get the coverage they need through other business insurance types. For example, commercial property insurance provides the coverage most businesses need to protect their assets. And commercial auto insurance may be enough to cover a business owner that moves from location to location.
Here are some business insurance types that may be needed as an alternative to inland marine:
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance covers assets owned by the business, such as building, equipment, or inventory. A standard property policy typically protects buildings and contents at a particular location, or within 1,000 feet of that space. This coverage is right for businesses that want to protect stationery items. For assets taken off-premises, such as equipment, you’ll need inland marine coverage.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance protects against claims arising from accidents involving vehicles you use for your business. Coverage includes medical payments, physical damage and more for your business and for third parties. Commercial auto will also typically cover property that is attached to the vehicle, such as a boom on a tow truck. But it won’t cover unattached property, such as a lawnmower.
Ocean Marine Insurance
Ocean marine insurance works like inland marine except that instead of covering property in transit on land, ocean marine covers property while being shipped by sea. Ocean marine coverage protects merchandise, goods, workers, and cargo in storage during marine transport domestically and abroad.
Inland Marine Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Inland marine insurance is not the most common type of insurance, which means there may be more questions you need answered about this unique coverage type. The following frequently asked questions may provide the clarity you need. But if not, feel free to ask questions in our forum.
How do I know if I need inland marine insurance?
The primary determining factors that would make you a candidate for inland marine insurance is if you frequently transport property from location to location, such as various job sites, or you store property at an off-site location. This is because a commercial property insurance policy primarily covers only property in a fixed location.
Do I need inland marine coverage in addition to property insurance?
Although inland marine insurance is not a common insurance type for most businesses, it is used to fill gaps in coverage on other policies, such as commercial property insurance. For example, if you have property, such as equipment or machinery, that is used for business at various locations, your property insurance won’t cover the equipment or machinery at a location other than your main premises.
Is inland marine insurance included in a business owners policy (BOP)?
Inland marine insurance can be added to a business owners policy (BOP). Most insurance providers offer a BOP, which is a cost-effective way for small business owners to bundle insurance types into one policy. Although inland marine is not a standard insurance type in a BOP, most insurance providers will add inland marine to the package.
Inland marine insurance is an often overlooked insurance type that may be needed by businesses that regularly transport valuable property from location to location or businesses that are in temporary possession of the property of others. It’s important to understand that a standard commercial property insurance policy does not typically cover these unique insurance needs.
Make sure your property is covered by contacting the experts at the The Hartford. Their agents get you the best policy for an affordable price. Get a free, no obligation quote today.