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If your small business transports items such as materials, equipment, and tools from one location to another, you’ll need coverage for issues like fire, theft, and vandalism. Relying on your commercial property insurance may be insufficient. This is where inland marine insurance comes in.

Inland marine insurance is a key type of coverage for small businesses that need to transport commercial goods on land or store them in different locations.

What is Inland Marine Insurance?

Inland marine insurance is a type of insurance for small businesses that covers your business assets, such as equipment, materials, products, and tools, while temporarily in storage offsite or in transit on land by cars, trucks and trains.

This coverage is separate from marine insurance, which covers your company’s property while it is being transported on water.

What does inland marine insurance cover?

Inland navigation insurance generally covers:

  • Commercial goods transported by land
  • Commercial property inside a commercial truck
  • Commercial property in temporary custody
  • Commercial goods stored in different locations, such as vending machines stored at a customer’s site
  • Commercial assets that are part of the infrastructure, such as bridges or communication towers
  • High-value goods stored at your fixed location, such as a client’s artwork stored at your auction house
  • Movable property in a fixed location

For example, if you are a contractor moving tools and equipment around different job sites, inland marine insurance covers your business assets while they are on your work truck and being transported on construction sites.

Here are some examples of the types of commercial property covered by inland waterway insurance:

  • Construction and subcontracting equipment
  • Communication and networking equipment
  • Electronics, such as computers, audio or radio equipment, and televisions
  • Fine arts and collectibles
  • Medical and scientific diagnostic equipment
  • Photographic equipment
  • Tools and equipment
  • Fair exhibitions

What is not covered by inland marine insurance?

Inland navigation insurance does not cover:

  • Commercial goods shipped by air or sea
  • Professional vehicles
  • Damage caused by floods or earthquakes
  • Well damaged before shipping
  • Fixed property at your primary location

Who needs inland marine insurance?

The commercial property insurance portion of your commercial insurance covers your business property for issues such as damage, lost or stolen items. This includes things like your tools, inventory, and gear. But commercial property insurance may be insufficient for some small businesses, especially if your business moves or stores your commercial property in different locations. Commercial property insurance does not cover goods in transit.

If your business does things like the list below, you might want to consider adding inland marine insurance to your commercial insurance policy:

  • Your business frequently transports commercial goods overland
  • Your company occasionally transports high-value goods
  • Your business has assets that move between different business locations
  • Your business stores goods in a location owned by a third party
  • Your business owns property in a utility vehicle that is on the move often, such as a repair vehicle or food truck

Different Types of Inland Marine Insurance

Here are some examples of different types of river insurance for different types of professions.

Custodian insurance

Custodian insurance covers the property of others while it is in your company’s custody. For example, if you own an electronics repair shop, you might need this coverage to protect your customer’s computer from issues like theft and fire while it’s in your workshop.

Construction site insurance

This covers ongoing equipment, materials and structures for a construction project for issues such as fire, theft and vandalism. Construction site insurance is also called “construction course insurance”.

Coverage typically begins when materials arrive at the job site and ends when the project is complete. You can often add it as an endorsement to your commercial insurance policy or purchase it as a standalone policy.

Contractor’s Tools and Equipment Insurance

This type of inland marine insurance covers mobile equipment and tools that are transported to different job sites. It is also called “equipment float insurance”. It is often used by professionals in the construction, maintenance and repair trades and covers a wide range of equipment and tools, such as backhoes, bulldozers, forklifts, mowers and portable tools.

Related: Contractors Insurance: Cost and Types You Need

Exhibition and artwork coverage

This covers valuables such as fine art when on display, on loan or in transit.

Installation float insurance

This covers materials installed on a site, transported or stored. For example, floating installation insurance would cover copper wire that has been loaded onto a truck for installation at a job site.

Motor Truck Cargo Insurance

Motor truck cargo insurance covers goods and property while in transit in your vehicle. For example, if your business has a refrigerated truck that delivers food to a restaurant, motor truck freight insurance would cover spoiled food if you had a car accident that caused your refrigerator to malfunction.

Certain types of items may be excluded from coverage, such as:

  • Masterpieces
  • Contraband goods such as alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco
  • Explosives
  • Furs
  • Jewelry, gold, precious metals and gemstones
  • Items stored for more than 72 hours
  • live animals
  • Money, coins or stamps
  • Property or property belonging to your business
  • Goods in the custody of any other carrier
  • shipping containers

How much does inland marine insurance cost?

The median cost of inland marine insurance is $14 per month, according to Assuranceon. The median domestic marine insurance policy limits for Insureon policyholders are $5,000.

Your costs will depend on several factors, such as:

  • Your business type
  • Location of your business
  • How much coverage you choose
  • Property value
  • History of your past complaints

Examples of river insurance rates by profession

Inland Marine Insurance vs Marine Insurance

Here is the difference between inland marine insurance and marine insurance:

  • Inland Marine Insurance covers items such as equipment, materials and tools when transported by land, such as by rail or truck.
  • Marine insurance covers items such as equipment, materials and tools when transported over water, such as by boat.

How to get the best inland marine insurance

Here are some tips for getting the best inland marine insurance:

  • Bundle inland marine insurance with other types of commercial insurance. You can often save money by purchasing inland marine insurance from the same company as your other commercial insurance policies. For example, you can usually add inland marine insurance to your business owners policy (BOP).
  • Compare Inland Marine Insurance Quotes. The best way to find cheap business insurance is to compare quotes from several insurance companies. You can often find free quotes online or by contacting an independent insurance agent.

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