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.
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.
An inland marine policy provides coverage for insured property no matter where it’s located.
Specifically, your inland marine policy provides protection for:
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.
Some forms of inland marine insurance can protect property that's temporarily in your care, such as computers or a painting.
Inland marine insurance covers business property that's in a fixed but movable location, such as heavy equipment installed inside a van or truck.
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.
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.
This may include coverage for computer equipment that travels to different locations, along with electronic data processing insurance for loss of data.
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.
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.
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 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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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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Review answers to frequently asked questions about inland marine insurance coverage.
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.
There are a few different types of coverage, each providing its own specific protection. These include:
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.
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.