What is Inland Marine Coverage?
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Inland Marine Insurance

Inland Marine coverage is not for amphibious assault teams or yachts trapped out on a prairie, despite what the name suggests. It's a type of Property Insurance that covers certain kinds of moveable property and other specialized items that standard Property Insurance policies can't cover. Many Inland Marine policies cover insured property no matter where it's located.

An Inland Marine Insurance policy can cover a range of items, such as cameras, musical instruments, and catering equipment. These things move from location to location, which subjects them to more opportunities for loss, damage, and theft. These increased exposures call for a separate form of property coverage, and that's where Inland Marine coverage comes in.

The Meaning Of "Inland Marine"

To best understand what Inland Marine coverage means, it's good to know a little about insurance history. Before the Industrial Revolution, goods were largely transported by ship through waterways and across oceans. Marine insurers offered "all-risk" coverage for this cargo, meaning that it was covered no matter how it was damaged or lost. As railroads and telegraphs allowed shipping and business opportunities to move inland, these marine insurers jumped at the chance to provide coverage for new types of equipment and technology that other insurers had no experience in.

From there, Inland Marine Insurance grew to cover a wide range of property that no other policy would cover, with broader coverage in terms of damaging events.

So don't let the name confuse you. Insurers have simply caught up with the times without bothering to change the name of the policy. It's kind of like how people still call movies "films" even when they're shot digitally and there's no film involved.

What Inland Marine Insurance Covers

Inland Marine Insurance can protect several classes of property, including…

  • Property in transit. This might include movie equipment that you transport from a set to a filming location.
  • Property in your temporary care. Many bars and cafés exhibit artwork from local artists. These businesses are temporarily in possession of someone else's property.
  • Property that stays in a fixed (but movable) location. This might cover the cooking equipment in a food truck (but not the truck itself).
  • Property that moves around. This can cover tools that move from worksite to worksite.
  • Property that aids in the transfer of information. This may include accounts receivable, computer equipment, and data.
  • Unique or valuable property. Your business may have special decorations or artwork that can't be insured with standard policies.

Certain types of businesses might own instrumentalities of transportation (e.g., bridges or piers), or they might possess instrumentalities of communication (e.g., radio towers). Inland Marine Insurance can also cover these.

It's important to note that though Inland Marine coverage protects property in transit, it does not cover the actual vehicle that you use to transport property. For that, you might need Commercial Auto Insurance or Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance.

In addition to covering a wide variety of property types, Inland Marine coverage often covers a wide variety of damaging events, or "perils," that put property at risk. An Inland Marine Insurance policy can be written as…

  • An all-risk policy, which covers all types of perils unless otherwise stated. Usually, it includes a list of exclusions that details events the policy won't cover.
  • A named-peril policy, which only covers events listed in the policy and nothing else.

All-risk policies usually cover perils such as fire, windstorms, other natural disasters, collisions, and theft. But be sure to read the exclusions carefully so you know exactly what's covered.

When you run a small business, you're captain of the ship, so make sure you're protected against the sea of business perils. Talk with an agent to find out if Inland Marine Insurance can help protect your property, or fill out an application to receive free Inland Marine quotes.

Commercial Property Insurance: Further Reading