What You Need to Know About Inland Marine Insurance


The term “inland marine insurance” sounds like a kind of boating insurance or something marine-related. It’s not. It’s misleading, yes, but it’s actually more common than you think.

Inland marine insurance, which is a type of property coverage, has a long history behind it. Its origins are as old as insurance itself.

Here’s a brief historical overview:

Back in the early days of shipping, merchants were heavily dependent on oceans and other bodies of water to transport goods. As a result, goods had to be insured both in the warehouses where they were stored, as well as in transit when shipped inland and on any marine vessel or ocean going freighter.

Inevitably, the scope of inland marine coverage extended to other modes of transportation over time. People no longer just rely on marine transportation and goods are now shipped on planes, automobiles and trains. This is how the term evolved, from an exclusive ocean-going transit coverage to coverage designed to protect valuables moved using all forms of transportation.

But how is inland marine coverage different from property coverage?

While inland marine coverage is a type of property coverage, it’s extremely important to identify one from the other.

  • On the one hand, property coverage insures stationary valuables or property that predominantly stays at a single location and is not considered unique.
  • By contrast, inland marine coverage insures property that may be moving from place to place and is considered unique enough that no traditional property policies cover it.

This “uniqueness” factor alone explains why inland marine coverage is generally broader than property insurance. These policies cover valuables and collections which may have limited coverage under your homeowners policy and receive more broad coverage when insured on their own.

For example, let’s take a piece of art valued at more than $10,000. Your homeowners policy, with its limited coverage, won’t likely offer full coverage for an item of such unusual value. But this type of valuable can be covered by inland marine policies. There are many other valuable items covered by such insurance, from jewelry to high-tech equipment.

What are the usual types of valuables insured by an inland marine coverage?

There are at least four main types of valuables covered by inland marine policies:

– Valuables or items being transported

– Properties held by bailee

– Instruments of transportation, including those in a fixed location

– Goods that are usually moved from place to place

It also covers other expensive and “unique” property cases such as:

– Fine Arts

– Furriers Block

– Jewelers Block

– Equipment Dealers

– Accounts Receivable

– Computer Coverage

As you can see, inland marine policies provide broad coverage for a wide variety of personal property. What’s more, it even covers items that are not specifically excluded. Think of a missing stone in an insured ring or damage to an expensive painting.

Is purchasing an inland marine policy the best way to cover valuables?

In addition to providing critical coverage for your most prized personal possessions, inland marine policies can offer coverage for business assets that might otherwise not be covered by your commercial insurance policy. Think about goods and valuables usually found in your company vehicle. The policy will not only cover your computer equipment, it will also insure sensitive data. Most traditional property policies exclude coverage for these.

Almost all businesses in any industry can benefit from purchasing an inland marine policy. It can protect a contractor’s equipment, which is typically very expensive. And it can even cover damages or losses to goods at your premises as they are being transported or kept in storage.

Don’t be fooled by the word “marine.” There’s more to this type of insurance than what it sounds like. Make sure your valuables are covered wherever they may be by purchasing an inland marine policy.


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