What is inland marine insurance?

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Learn about inland marine insurance and how it can protect mobile business property, such as cooking equipment in a food truck or artwork on display in a restaurant.
Customers at a food truck.

One of the most common questions we get from small business owners shopping for property insurance is about inland marine coverage. We hear you: the name's pretty confusing. After all, “marine” suggests an association with water, and “inland” does just the opposite.

Here's a guide to what inland marine insurance is, how it protects business property, and how to know whether your business could benefit from this type of coverage.

Behind the name: what “inland marine” means

In the early days of business insurance, ocean marine insurance did what you would expect: it protected a ship's cargo from losses incurred during its voyage across the sea. If your ship capsized or was plundered by pirates, your ocean marine coverage would offer some compensation so the loss didn't destroy your business.

Over time, though, people started to ship things beyond major port cities. From ocean-faring vessels, goods were transferred to barges and trains that traveled over rivers and land. Shipping companies still needed to insure their cargo over this part of the journey, so insurance companies started offering inland marine insurance as an offshoot of ocean marine coverage. 

Today, most inland marine insurance protects items that spend little or no time on the water.

What does inland marine insurance cover?

Inland marine insurance offers protection for business assets that are movable or involved in transport or the transfer of information.

Common examples of property that requires inland marine insurance include:

  • Transportation equipment (food trucks)
  • Property in transit (cooking supplies stored and used in a food truck)
  • Artwork or other valuables (sculptures or paintings in a restaurant)
  • Accounts receivable

Do I need inland marine insurance?

If you're not sure whether or not your business has assets that could be protected by inland marine insurance, be sure to ask your insurance agent. In most cases, inland marine coverage is often included in (or can be added to) a property insurance policy.

Ask an Insureon agent about your inland marine needs today.

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