Every year, thousands of businesses just like yours purchase marine insurance, although they don’t have a boat and aren’t even located near the water! You might be surprised to learn that your company should have marine insurance as well.

Although the term “marine insurance” was coined centuries ago to describe a type of coverage written to protect goods in transit over the oceans, today the term has expanded to describe the coverage purchased on goods in transit of any type, including rivers, roadways and by train. If your merchandise or goods leave your business and travel to someone else, your business could benefit from marine insurance. Similar to the policies written years ago, today’s ocean marine insurance protects your merchandise from damage or loss while at sea. If you ship goods via ocean carrier, this type of marine insurance fits the bill.

Inland marine insurance, also called cargo insurance, is a newer version of this ages old coverage. These policies – which are often called “floaters”, due to the fact that the insured items are often moving, or “floating” – are essential to protect a wide variety of goods that are involved in some way with transportation. This can include goods that are:

  • Actually in transit
  • Held by a bailee
  • At a fixed location that is an instrument of transportation
  • A movable type of goods that is often at different locations


It is important to remember that risks are unavoidable in the transport of goods. Every day, goods are loaded and shipped. Accidents can occur during packing and loading; shipping instructions can be misunderstood or incorrectly transcribed. Travel on the ocean, rivers or via overland methods provides its own set of perils, ranging from acts of nature to human error. These risks require that the shipper take steps to protect their investment while it is out of their hands and entrusted to another.

Almost any kind of merchandise or important item, including jewelry, weapons, fine art, food products, important papers and legal documents can be insured under an inland marine policy. In addition, your company needs to consider if specific types of equipment crucial to your business need to be covered as well. If your company has tools, equipment or machinery that is regularly used offsite, an equipment “floater” may be a valuable component to your insurance coverage. Virtually any type of mobile equipment can be covered under a “floater”. Property as simple as hand tools may be covered, as could very large tools and machinery such as cranes, conveyors, concrete mixers, tractors, engines, drag lines and drilling equipment. These items can be used in home improvement, strip mining, construction or dozens of other activities. Smaller, more advanced equipment such as computers, camera and video equipment and medical equipment can also be covered. Coverage is provided for direct physical loss to the equipment, but additional coverage can be added for hired or borrowed equipment or to cover the rental costs involved if your own equipment has been damaged.

It is also essential to realize that your company needs to protect itself from liability caused by equipment malfunction or failure. Equipment liability policies are available to ensure that your company will be covered in the event of damage to another’s property or well-being caused by your equipment.

Don’t take unnecessary risks with transit and equipment glitches that plague businesses just like yours every day. Bernard Williams & Company can do a thorough review of your company’s shipping practices and equipment usage to determine which combination of marine and equipment insurance is needed to ensure that in case of emergency, your everyday routine isn’t derailed.