Inland Marine Insurance always seems to come up in conversation with clients, especially in Austin, TX with so many unique businesses. Since it seems to come up frequently when discussing business insurance, I wanted to write about it and share some information that might be helpful to fellow business owners.
Inland Marine Insurance covers property that is mobile, so think about food carts, machines or equipment that move locations based on certain jobs, and most commonly contractors equipment. It is designed to cover the property while mobile (in-transit), off-site, and when it's at a temporary location.
You may be thinking since you already have property insurance, you're covered. If in doubt, I would definitely read your policy or contact your agent. Some insurance companies may even offer "Property Off-Premises" or "In-Transit" coverage, but beware of exclusions to these coverages/endorsements as there could be gaps in coverage. Inland Marine Insurance might be able to fill that gap in coverage or you may be able to "schedule" your equipment. For example, I have several photographers that take expensive camera equipment to photo shoots and the insurance company will "schedule" that property, so it's covered. I also have catering companies that do this with their equipment as well. However, some insurance carriers will only allow you to schedule up to a certain amount, say $20,000. If that's the case, Inland Marine Insurance may be a solution to fill that coverage gap.
Once you determine there is a need for Inland Marine Insurance, you need to find out the value of the property and how you want it insured. You basically have two options, Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value. Replacement Cost is going to be the broadest form of coverage offered, but it is also the most expensive. Actual Cash Value is Replacement Cost – (minus) Depreciation. Actual Cash Value might not be a bad option, if the property is somewhat new. However, if it’s old, this could have a big impact on your business come claim time, especially if the property is a key component to your business.
Another item to look at, as with any policy, is the deductible. Come claim time you don’t want any surprises and a $5,000 deductible could be big surprise. Also look at the exclusions on the policy. Sometimes theft is excluded so if this is a concern, make sure you address it with your agent. It may be real easy to have it added by simply answering a couple questions, like: When the property is stored, is there a monitored alarm at the storage facility? Except when it’s in storage, is the property ever outside your care, custody, or control?
If you’re still not sure whether or not you need Inland Marine Insurance, or still have questions, give us a call or contact your agent. The information in this article is only meant to be a guideline to help you understand Inland Marine Insurance. For more details, read your policy or contact a licensed agent. As always, we are always happy to help with all your business insurance needs.
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