Inland Marine Insurance
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Inland marine insurance

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Inland marine insurance

Inland marine insurance provides coverage for business property, such as products, tools, and equipment, while it’s in transit over land or stored at an off-site location.

Why is inland marine insurance important?

Inland marine insurance is a “floater” policy, which simply means the coverage goes where the insured property goes. A small business that ships valuables, transports tools, or owns a truck with specialized equipment may need this policy.

Commercial property insurance only covers business property at the location listed on the policy. Inland marine insurance protects against damage and theft outside your place of business.

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Inland marine protects property on the move

Inland marine insurance protects business property when it's on the go from a variety of perils, such as theft, fire, and inclement weather.

What does inland marine insurance cover?

An inland marine policy provides coverage for insured property no matter where it’s located.

Specifically, your inland marine policy provides protection for:

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Property in transit

Commercial inland marine insurance protects business property in transit, which is typically excluded from commercial property insurance.

For example, a contractor moving landscaping equipment between job sites in a vehicle would be covered by inland marine insurance, but not by a commercial property policy.

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Property in your temporary care

Some forms of inland marine insurance can protect property that's temporarily in your care, such as computers or a painting.

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Movable property in a fixed location

Inland marine insurance covers business property that's in a fixed but movable location, such as heavy equipment installed inside a van or truck.

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Property that moves around

Inland marine insurance covers property that moves from location to location, such as a contractor's equipment, musical instruments, and medical equipment that’s taken to different job sites.

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Unique or valuable property

Your business may have collectibles, fine art, and other high-value items that can be hard to insure with standard policies.

In this case, you could add inland marine insurance to your commercial property insurance to cover these items. If the artwork is stolen, the policy would cover the costs.

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Property that transfers information

This may include coverage for computer equipment that travels to different locations, along with electronic data processing insurance for loss of data.

How much does inland marine insurance cost?

A small business owner calculating their inland marine insurance costs

Inland marine insurance typically costs an average of $29 per month, or $350 annually.

Several factors affect the cost of an inland marine insurance policy, including:

  • Property value
  • Coverage limits
  • Industry risk
  • Past claims history
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Who needs inland marine insurance?

Inland marine insurance benefits both small businesses and independent contractors that own or are responsible for business property that is on the move.

However, there are a few specific professions that need inland marine coverage more often than others, including:

Videographers and photographers

Videographers and photographers often have specialized equipment that move from place to place, and are prone to damage. An inland marine policy would protect this equipment while it's in transit and at a shooting location.

For example, a video production studio's inland marine policy would cover valuable cameras, lighting, and other equipment that moves to different filming locations in the company's van.

Bar and café owners

Many bars and cafes exhibit artwork from local artists. These businesses are temporarily in possession of someone else's property. If they were stolen, a form of inland marine insurance called bailee coverage would cover the cost.

Food truck owners

Inland marine coverage protects the cooking equipment in a food truck, but not the truck itself. For example, if a fire damages the kitchen, it would pay for repair or replacement of the damaged equipment.

Construction and contracting businesses

Professionals who work in the construction industry usually carry a variety of tools with them in order to do their jobs. Inland marine insurance protects these tools when you're working at different locations.

For instance, a carpenter may want to purchase contractor's tools and equipment insurance to protect carpentry tools and equipment brought to job sites. This type of inland marine insurance provides coverage for items under $10,000 that are less than five years old.

IT professionals

IT professionals are often dependent on computer equipment to complete their jobs. Inland marine coverage protects the policyholder's electronics no matter where the IT professional goes.

For example, employees at an IT consulting firm might bring laptops to clients' homes and offices. To provide protection wherever the computers go, the consulting company invests in inland marine insurance.

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It's easy to buy inland marine insurance with Insureon. In fact, it can usually be added to your business owner's policy (BOP). Fill out our free online application to get quotes from top-rated providers.

When you purchase a policy, you’ll get a certificate of insurance as proof of insurance for your small business.

What does inland marine insurance not cover?

While inland marine insurance is important for a wide variety of small businesses, it does not provide all the protection you need.

Your policy does not include coverage for:

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Commercial auto insurance covers business-owned vehicles. It's required in almost every state for any company that owns a vehicle. You might also need a mobile equipment endorsement for forklifts and other machinery driven on public roads.

A small business can protect personal, rented, or leased vehicles used for work purposes with hired and non-owned auto insurance (HNOA).

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Uncovered perils

An open perils policy, also called an all-risk policy, covers all types of perils unless otherwise stated. Usually, it includes a list of exclusions that lists the events the policy won't cover.

Open perils policies typically cover fires, windstorms, natural disasters, and theft. Make sure to read the exclusions carefully so you know exactly what's covered.

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Items not listed in the policy

A named perils policy only covers events listed in the policy and nothing else. Because its coverage is more limited, it often costs less than an open perils policy.

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Other types of small business insurance you may need

While inland marine insurance can be an important policy for your business, you likely have other risk exposures that need coverage.

Inland marine doesn’t cover your business headquarters, injuries, and common lawsuits. To fully protect your small business, you should also consider:

General liability insurance: This policy covers common business risks such as a customer’s bodily injury, damage to a customer’s property, and advertising injuries.

Commercial property insurance: Covers your business’s physical location, and other assets like equipment and inventories. It’s often required to sign a commercial lease.

Business owner's policy: A BOP bundles general liability coverage and commercial property insurance, and can be less expensive than buying each policy separately.

Workers’ compensation insurance: Workers’ comp helps pay for medical expenses from work-related injuries and illnesses. It's required in most states for businesses with one or more employees.

Cyber insurance: Also known as cyber liability insurance, this policy covers costs related to data breaches and cyberattacks. It's important for any business that handles personal information belonging to employees or customers.

FAQs about inland marine insurance

Review answers to frequently asked questions about inland marine insurance coverage.

Why is it called "inland marine" insurance?

This policy is called inland marine insurance because it's an offshoot of ocean marine insurance, which protects property transported over water. Marine insurance came first – hence the distinction "inland" marine for land transportation coverage.

Is inland marine insurance the same as builder's risk insurance?

Builder's risk insurance is a type of inland marine coverage that protects equipment and materials during a specific construction project, along with the structure in progress.

Inland marine insurance is a broader category that encompasses several different kinds of property insurance that go above and beyond your standard commercial property insurance.

Unlike a standard commercial property policy, inland marine policies protect your business property at locations other than your business address. You may need them for certain kinds of property, such as valuable artwork, or for items that you are taking care of for a customer.

What are the other types of inland marine insurance?

There are a few additional types of inland marine coverage, each providing its own specific protection. These include:

What's the difference between property and liability insurance?

Property and liability insurance both protect small businesses against common financial threats. Property insurance focuses on your physical assets, and can replace items that are stolen, damaged, or destroyed. Liability insurance, on the other hand, protects against legal defense costs if a customer, client, or employee sues your business.

Just as there are several types of property insurance, different liability policies protect against different types of lawsuits. If you're unsure which coverage you need, our licensed insurance agents can help.

How do you buy inland marine insurance?

It’s often possible to add inland marine insurance to another policy, such as a business owner’s policy or a commercial package policy (CPP). Bundling insurance policies usually costs less than purchasing each policy separately.

A BOP includes both general liability insurance and commercial property coverage, protecting your business against the most common risks faced by small businesses. A CPP is similar to a BOP, but it has more flexible protection options and is generally purchased by small or medium-sized businesses with higher risks.

To compare quotes from top-rated U.S. insurance companies for a business owner’s policy or commercial package policy, fill out Insureon’s free online application.

What are the common characteristics of inland marine insurance forms?

There's no single form for inland marine insurance used by every insurance company, but the forms will look similar. You can expect it to include:

  • The type of inland marine insurance purchased
  • Named perils covered by your policy, such as fires and windstorms
  • Exclusions, such as damages related to war or civil unrest
  • Your policy limits and deductible
  • A coinsurance clause affirming that the limits are appropriate for the value of the insured property
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