Commercial inland marine insurance is fairly broad and could include things such as a mobile equipment, business contents stored at a non-owned location, equipment stored in a vehicle, goods being transported, construction materials awaiting installation, and even property on bridges or in communication towers. In most cases it’s another policy that’s added to a commercial insurance package, a contractor’s truck, or even cargo being hauled by semi-trucks.
The easiest way to determine whether you or your business needs inland marine insurance is to talk to an independent insurance agent about your concerns. They’ll be able to tell you what kind of coverage you need for your valuable items or business equipment and whether an inland marine policy could be beneficial for you.
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Who Sells Inland Marine Insurance?
Just about every property insurance company out there sells some type of inland marine insurance. Whether it’s a company that only offers personal insurance, such as homeowners or renters, or a company that only offers business insurance, both will have some type of inland marine insurance policy available.
Inland marine insurance is different from most other types of insurance policies, partly because it’s flexible and comprehensive in nature.
The best way to buy inland marine insurance is through an independent insurance agent. Whether you’re buying personal or commercial inland marine coverage, an independent insurance agent will be able to go over your policy with you and explain to you how, where, and when you have coverage.
The Best Inland Marine Insurance Companies
Since nearly every insurance company that offers property insurance, including both personal and business, also offers inland marine insurance, the options are nearly endless. Having said that, much depends on the type of inland marine insurance that you’re looking for. If you’re looking to schedule personal items on your homeowners policy, you’ll need to use your current homeowners insurance company or get a quote on a new policy on all your home insurance.
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Types of Inland Marine Insurance Coverage
Inland marine insurance has made a lot of progress since those early days of covering goods shipped over land in horse-drawn transport. While covering shipped goods in transit is still a part of inland marine coverage, it’s grown to be much more than that.
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Personal Inland Marine
Personal inland marine insurance is rarely called by that name, and is often called term scheduled personal property, or scheduled items. It’s one of the most comprehensive types of personal insurance out there, meaning it offers the best coverage for certain items.
Most insurance companies will add scheduled personal property items to your homeowners policy. It’s a separate section of the policy and it specifically lists the items you want covered. When you receive your copy of the entire policy by mail or email, you’ll see that the scheduled items have their own contract section in your homeowners policy, where it expands the coverage on those items.
Some of the most common items that are scheduled for personal inland marine coverage include:
- Furs: A mink coat can range in price from $1,000 to $10,000. Inland marine insurance can help protect that coat and make sure you're kept warm this winter.
- Jewelry: Whether it cost $5,000 or $25,000, your jewelry is a beloved possession. Inland marine coverage can be integrated into your policy to help cover costs if your jewelry is stolen.
- Silverware: Did you ship an expensive silverware set as a wedding gift to your niece, only for it not to show up? Inland marine will save the day.
- Cameras: Take your camera on all kinds of adventures when you have inland marine insurance and take comfort in the fact that you'll have help covering costs if it's damaged or stolen.
- Golf equipment: When you have inland marine insurance for your golf clubs, you can work on your golf game without worrying about lost or damaged equipment.
- Computers: Computers and computer data can hold a lot of valuable information that could be costly if they are damaged or stolen. Inland marine can provide coverage to help you recover.
- Collections: You've been working on building this collection for years, make sure you have inland marine coverage to cover the costs of any damage that may occur to it.
- Fine art: If you are buying or selling an expensive piece, inland marine coverage will make sure your items are protected during transit.
- Musical instruments: An instrument is a costly investment, and inland marine insurance can not only help you protect it, but also any equipment or accessories needed for it.
Under a homeowners insurance policy , personal contents are typically covered anywhere in the world, just like scheduled items are, but there are a few key differences between regular personal contents coverage and scheduling items:
- Scheduling items allows you to avoid a deductible on those items. You don’t have to choose a $0 deductible on your scheduled items, but it’s an option that’s not there with regular personal property coverage, where the lowest deductible is normally $500 or $1,000.
- Scheduling personal property adds coverage for mysterious disappearance, which is the insurance company’s way of saying you lost something. Losing items isn’t covered under regular personal contents coverage, but is covered if you schedule it.
- Scheduling guarantees that you’ll receive the full value of the item, with nothing left in doubt. Without scheduling, the insurance company could argue that you can replace it for less money than what you wanted coverage for.
- Scheduling removes the sublimits for theft on many of these items. All homeowners policies have sublimits for theft on certain items, such as jewelry, guns, silverware, etc. Usually, the limits are between $1,500 and $5,000. So if somebody steals your jewelry that’s worth $20,000 and you don't have it scheduled, you’ll only receive $1,500 on that claim.
Commercial Inland Marine
Commercial inland marine insurance encompasses a wide range of property. In the commercial insurance world, inland marine policies are often called floaters. Generally speaking, they can cover the following types of business property:
- Equipment that’s being transported to job sites or simply moves around from location to location.
- Business property that’s located at a different location than your building that’s insured.
- Property or equipment that’s stored in a vehicle, such as in a food truck or mobile medical equipment.
- Customers’ property that’s temporarily in your control.
- Cargo that’s being transported in a semi-truck.
- Materials that are being used to build things.
- Business property that’s part of certain types of infrastructure, including bridges and communication towers.
For bailee's insurance, businesses that could benefit from inland marine bailee's coverage include:
- Dry cleaners
- Jewelry repairers
- Furniture or appliance repair shops
- Computer repair shops
- Storage facilities
“Inland marine coverage can cover damage to a piece of equipment and related infrastructure. For example, if a truck gets stuck under a low bridge and both are damaged, proper inland marine insurance may cover this.”
Put simply, business personal property insurance is designed to cover contents that are permanently stored or kept in one location. Inland marine insurance is designed to cover contents that move around from place to place.
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Finding Discounts and Savings on Inland Marine Insurance
Since inland marine insurance is a very specific type of insurance, you probably won’t be able to find any savings or discounts on the actual policies themselves. Part of the reason for this is that inland marine policies are typically a component of a larger policy.
On personal inland marine policies where the personal property is scheduled, it’s usually a part of a homeowners insurance policy, so the savings and discounts would be found on your homeowners insurance, not on the scheduled personal property. There may be some exceptions to this, like if you keep your jewelry in a locked and secured vault. But most of the time, the savings and discounts are found on the homeowners portion of the insurance.
On commercial inland marine policies, there won’t be much room for savings either. This is mainly because commercial inland marine insurance is just a component of a broader insurance program, which may include things such as commercial general liability and commercial property insurance. If your business is eligible for credit that can reduce your premium, it will be applied to the entire package policy, not just the inland marine portion.
Typically, the only way to save money on the actual inland marine part is by carrying a higher deductible on the items. But this defeats one of the purposes of inland marine, which is the ability to have full coverage without any deductible. But if you do choose to have a deductible, your premiums will be less.
Frequently Asked Questions about Inland Marine Insurance
In the 1800s, trade was booming across many parts of the world. People started to buy ocean marine insurance, which was actually the first type of modern insurance policy, to protect their cargo while it was being transported across the seas. As countries expanded and trade boomed, those goods started to get transported over land. If a company was shipping from London to New York City on a boat, the ocean marine insurance policy would cover it while it was being shipped. But once those goods started to be shipped further, say from New York City to Philadelphia, the ocean marine insurance wouldn’t cover it because it wasn’t on the seas. That’s when insurers came up with the idea of an inland marine policy to basically extend coverage of those goods while they were being transported on the land. It was called inland marine because it was basically a companion policy to the ocean marine policy they were already selling. Since those early pioneering days in insurance, inland marine insurance has adapted and expanded to include many types of coverage. There are now some subcategories of inland marine insurance, but it’s always kept its original name.
Inland marine insurance covers your mobile business equipment and scheduled items for almost anything. There are typically fewer exclusions to coverage under inland marine insurance than for other types of insurance. Wear and tear is still not covered by inland marine insurance, though mysterious disappearance (losing an item) often is.
Since inland marine insurance varies so much on what it can cover, there isn’t an exact amount that you can expect to pay. The rate will largely be based on the total value of the items that you’re covering, as well as your overall account. Scheduling jewelry that's worth $20,000 on a homeowners policy may cost a few hundred dollars a year, while insuring contractor’s equipment that's worth $50,000 on a commercial insurance policy may cost a couple thousand dollars each year.
An inland marine insurance policy is a type of property insurance that covers specific items, including both personal and commercial items. Typically, these items are somewhat mobile in nature, meaning they could easily move around to different locations.
Commercial inland marine insurance is fairly broad and could include mobile equipment, business contents stored at a non-owned location, equipment stored in a vehicle, goods being transported, construction materials awaiting installation, and even property on bridges or in communication towers. In some cases, a commercial inland marine insurance policy could be a stand-alone or monoline policy, but in most cases it’s another policy that’s added to a commercial insurance package.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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