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A brief history of Inland Marine insurance

When business insurance was new, Ocean Marine insurance provides coverage to huge ships from losses sustained while on transit. For instance, should any goods get damaged during shipping because of a storm, Ocean Marine Insurance would reimburse you for some of your financial losses.

This scenario provided businesses with enough coverage when boats or ships were the primary means of transportation.

But as time passes, more and more businesses started transporting goods and items, passing rivers via barges, and travel by land via buses, trains, and trucks. Naturally, cargoes still need to be provided with protection, so insurers also began offering inland marine insurance policies as a part of ocean marine coverage.

What Is Inland Marine Insurance?

Inland marine insurance addresses the needs of many businesses. Whether it is a contractor, a property developer, a specialty operation, or a trucker, the coverage it offers can be essential to protecting business properties in a constantly changing market.

A type of business insurance, the inland marine insurance, helps cover materials, products and equipment while travelling by-land, such as by train or truck. Further, insurance of this type helps protect business properties that are movable or used for communication or transportation purposes.

This insurance may also help cover items that are high in value or those excluded from the list of property coverages in a standard business owner's policy. If you own a business that generally transports or ships products and equipment, you may consider buying this type of insurance.

Inland marine insurance may be bought as an add-on to your existing business insurance policy. It may also be available as a stand-alone policy. You may check with your insurance agent for the options that your insurer provides.


This type of insurance coverage includes paying the fees for the repair and replacement of your movable business property that might have been damaged by an insured or covered risk included in your policy.

Dangers that may be included in the coverage may include the following:

  • Fire
  • Hail
  • Wind
  • Water damage
  • Theft

Additionally, an inland marine insurance policy can provide further coverage for certain situations. This also includes protection for:

  • Mysterious disappearances: Missing properties where the cause of loss cannot be traced or remembered.

  • Accidental drop and damage: Losses when items are mishandled (i.e. dropped), either during loading/unloading or in transit.

You may review your policy's provisions, or you may also check with your insurance agent to verify the perils covered (and not covered) by your insurance.

The property types usually covered by inland marine insurance encompass various specialty materials and equipment used for and in business. Some examples are as follows:

  • Personal computers and computer systems
  • Information and communications equipment; networking devices
  • Construction equipment
  • Medical/scientific equipment
  • Trade show presentations
  • Sales & Marketing samples
  • Photography gears and accessories
  • Cargo for delivery
  • Other tools and equipment


Inland marine insurance also has a deductible (the amount you pay out of pocket for a covered or insured claim). It is usually listed in your policy, and you may choose the deductible that may work best for you.

This type of insurance also has a coverage limit. Just like in most insurance policies, if you have an insured or covered claim, your insurer can only reimburse you up to the limit stipulated in your policy.

Inland marine insurance does not cover the following:

  • The stationary or installed property at your main location
  • Your company vehicles
  • Damage from quakes and floods
  • Properties you ship by sea or by air
  • Property damage that occurs before shipment

The insurer may reimburse your insured claim on an actual cash value basis or thru a replacement cost basis. With actual cash value coverage - you will be paid for the damaged property's decreased value. As with replacement cost coverage, you will be paid for fees to replace the damaged properties at current prices.

It is always advisable to understand your policy and check with your agent to learn how your inland marine insurance reimburses losses.

Furthermore, it is imperative to select coverage limits wisely, in that it accurately reflects the value of your movable business property. Some insurance policies include a coinsurance clause stating that it could penalize you for claiming a certain loss beyond your coverage limits by a certain portion.

Who are eligible to acquire this insurance?

Small businesses that own mobile properties or operate in different locations and meet the insurer's requirements will most likely be eligible for acquiring inland marine insurance.


Businesses having movable properties may be able to benefit from inland marine insurance. It's always important to know whether some of your business transactions fall outside and beyond the coverage being provided by your current commercial insurance. For instance, you may already have coverage because you have business owners' insurance policy for risks that may befall your equipment such as cameras, lighting and other gears related to your photography services business. However, this policy type doesn't cover damages to the said equipment if it is being shipped or transferred to another location, such as for a photoshoot event. In this case, inland marine insurance can provide coverage should there be an accident or theft during shipping.

When contemplating if you truly need this type of insurance, carefully consider the nature of your business and its operations. This insurance isn't just limited to companies that transport or forward products to retailers and consumers. For instance, if you have a tradeshow booth that is regularly transferred from one location to another in your country and is stored remotely by one merchant, you may think to avail of the protection provided by inland marine insurance. Additionally, if you are presently holding someone else's portable property, this kind of insurance can provide coverage if a property is lost.

Your insurance broker/agent can help you decide whether this type of insurance is a good deal for your business. If you choose to acquire this type of coverage, your insurer may be able to provide services to assist you in evaluating and minimizing your inland marine risks so that you'd be better able to control losses.

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