Questions and Answers About Inland Marine Insurance (IMI)
“Inland marine” could well win the title for most misleading insurance term. Even if you’re entirely landlocked,
with no water for miles around, you might still need inland marine insurance.
Inland marine insurance protects items that move around in some way – “float” around, if you will – even
though no water is actually involved.
Here are answers to some of the questions you may have about inland marine insurance.
What is inland marine insurance?
Confusingly, IMI generally protects items transported over land via train or truck, such as
inventory, materials and equipment. It also provides protection for items while they are temporarily stored or
Inland marine policies can also be used to cover certain specialized business and personal items that
traditional property insurance won’t cover, like guns, furs and valuable papers or records.
Several categories of property are normally covered, including:
- Property in transit, such as film equipment that is transported from a set to a location shoot.
- Property in your temporary care, such as customers’ clothes that are dropped off at a dry cleaning establishment.
- Property at a definite but mobile location, such as machinery attached to a truck.
- Property that moves around, such as tools that move from worksite to worksite.
- Property that helps transfer information, such as computer equipment.
Unique or valuable property. Your business or home may have special décor or high-value
items that can’t be insured with standard policies.
How is inland marine coverage different from my commercial property coverage?
Commercial property insurance usually covers assets that stay in one place. This means that if inventory is
destroyed while in transit between two business locations, standard commercial property insurance won’t
provide coverage – but inland marine insurance covers the gap.
How can inland marine insurance protect
While inland marine insurance is primarily used to protect commercial goods shipped over land, it can also
cover personal property while it’s being shipped, as well as valuables that are stored at a home or business. In
many cases, inland marine insurance can step in to fill gaps left by a homeowners policy.
For example, inland marine insurance will provide protection for shipped valuables that are lost or damaged
and exceed the shipper’s declared value limits.
Does my business need inland marine insurance?
If you frequently ship equipment or products, you may want to consider purchasing inland marine insurance.
Coverage is beneficial for the following types of businesses, according to Fundera:
- Home contractors
- Construction businesses
- Food truck vendors and caterers
- Trucking companies
- Business owners who attend trade shows, exhibitions and conventions
- Businesses that ship raw materials or finished goods over land
- Businesses that engage in specialized types of storage or transport (such as animal trainers who
transport dogs or jewellery dealers who hold others’ pieces to sell on consignment)
- Businesses like wineries that transport their product for distribution
What are some industry-specific types of
inland marine coverage?
IMC have a variety of names and different insurance companies provide an assortment of
options. Some of these include:
- Bailee’s customer coverage
- Builder’s risk
- Exhibition and fine art coverage
- Installation floater
- Motor truck cargo coverage
- Jewellers block
- Tool and die floater
How do I purchase inland marine coverage?
Inland marine is often included in a business owner policy (BOP) or bundled as an add-on option with other
coverages such as general liability, property and crime.
Many inland marine policies cover insured property no matter where it’s located — these are often called
What are the main types of inland marine claims?
Collisions and cargo theft are the two most frequent causes of inland marine losses, according to the
Insurance Information Institute.
Does IMI have
anything to do with boats or water?
IMI doesn’t currently have anything to do with boats or water, but it got its name back
when goods were largely transported by ship. Marine insurers offered coverage for this cargo.
As railroads allowed shipping and business opportunities to move inland, these marine insurers expanded to
provide coverage for new types of transportation, equipment and technology. From there, inland marine
insurance grew to cover a wide range of property moved over land.
To learn more about how to protect your assets that are on the go, contact your insurance broker, who can
help you assess your risks and specific inland marine coverage needs.
This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing, financial, medical or legal advice.
You should contact your attorney, doctor, broker or advisor to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or