Protect Your Business Wherever You Go With Inland Marine Insurance

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Inland marine insurance covers equipment, cargo and other business property while being shipped over land — perfect for businesses that transport high-value items inland and need coverage during transit. It can also cover customer’s property stored with you, such as rings left with a jeweler or your own commercial property stored elsewhere, like power tools left at a construction site.

Learn how much inland insurance costs, as well as the various coverage types you can choose from.

Key Takeaways

  • Inland marine insurance provides protection for commercial property that is being transported over land, usually by truck, van or train.
  • Examples of covered property include computers, science equipment, artwork, construction equipment and medical equipment.
  • Inland marine insurance may also include coverage for items stored off-site like construction equipment.
  • You may also be covered for property your customers leave with you such as dry cleaning or jewelry.
  • If you are a trucker, mail service or some other business that moves property over land, you should consider buying inland marine insurance.

How Does Inland Marine Insurance Work?

Inland marine insurance is commercial insurance that covers property during transit over land, such as inventory being transported via freight truck. It will also cover property that is stored by a third party or at another location. For example, contractors who leave heavy equipment at a construction site can rest easy knowing their tools are covered under their inland marine policy.

In addition, inland marine insurance can also cover items that customers or clients leave with your business. For instance, if you own a dry cleaning service, then your coverage may extend to the clothes of customers left in your care.

The policy can cover a wide range of movable property, such as equipment, tools and inventory. Common types of damages or losses covered under an inland marine policy usually include theft, fire, wind, hail, water damage from sudden leaks, mysterious disappearances and accidental drops.[1]

In the event of a covered loss, the policyholder can file a claim with the insurance company to receive reimbursement up to the policy limits. You will usually need to pay a deductible. Keep in mind that the insurer may require documentation of the value of the property that was lost or damaged, such as receipts, invoices or appraisals.

What Does Inland Marine Insurance Cover?

Inland marine insurance can cover several types of physical business assets:

  • Inventory
  • Cargo
  • Computers
  • Telephones
  • Machinery
  • Construction equipment
  • Tools

Depending on your business, your inland marine insurance will cover your customer’s belongings left in your care, such as dry cleaning, jewelry, electronics and more.

What Isn’t Covered?

While inland marine coverage can cover a wide range of physical property, there are some items that may be excluded from coverage. This may include property not listed on the policy, business vehicles and permanent fixtures or appliances, such as industrial ovens in a restaurant.

Moreover, certain types of losses will be excluded from coverage such as:

  • Intentional acts of vandalism or theft
  • Wear and tear or gradual deterioration
  • Nuclear events
  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Losses from war or terrorism

Types of Inland Marine Insurance Coverages

Inland marine insurance coverage can take several forms depending on the needs of your business. Below is a breakdown of several types you can choose from to help protect your business.

Bailee’s Coverage

Bailee’s coverage protects businesses that have clients' property in their possession for storage, repair or servicing from the risk of damage. This is ideal coverage for jewelry stores, dry cleaners and tailors. There are different coverage options available, such as:

  • Unlimited: Insurers do not have to estimate the value of any covered property.
  • Damage in process: Those with this coverage do not have to worry about claims arising due to operator error when they're repairing an item.
  • Mysterious disappearance: Any client property that is misplaced is covered.

Builder’s Risk

Ideal for contractors and other construction professionals, builder's risk insurance is specialized property insurance that safeguards materials and equipment during construction or renovation projects. It provides coverage for losses or damages caused by accidents, weather events and theft that take place on the jobsite. Typically, coverage periods span from the start to the completion of the construction project.

Fine Arts & Exhibits Coverage

Fine arts & exhibits coverage is a type of insurance that provides protection for art and other valuable items that are on display or in transit. This type of coverage is typically used by museums, galleries, collectors and other organizations or individuals who own valuable art or exhibits.

Motor Truck Cargo Coverage

Motor truck cargo insurance shields cargo and inventory from physical loss during transit, loading, unloading or waiting for final distribution. It can be tailored to your needs by including add-ons that cover spoilage or temperature changes due to equipment failure, both at terminals or on a truck. Coverage can last up to 72 hours after arriving at the destination.[2]

In addition, this coverage may provide some liability protection. For example, say you get into an accident while transporting cargo and the impact causes the cargo to spill onto the highway. Multiple people are injured. Your carrier may cover the cost of debris removal, the medical bills of the injured parties, legal expenses and more.

Installation Floater

Installation floater insurance is a form of inland marine coverage that safeguards your business property during transportation or installation at a jobsite. For example, if a car accident causes damage to a fountain you were going to install for a client while you were on your way to the jobsite, your installation floater would cover the replacement of the damaged item.

In some ways this is similar to builder’s risk coverage, with a key exception. Namely, builder's risk coverage is more comprehensive and covers anything that’s at the jobsite unless specifically excluded. An installation floater will only cover specifically named equipment and may cover items excluded by a builder’s risk policy such as ditch diggers and bulldozers.

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Who Needs Inland Marine Insurance?

Businesses transporting goods over land should consider obtaining inland marine insurance to safeguard their products during transit. This includes trucking companies and mail carriers. And if your business stores goods, such as customers clothing, jewelry or food, you should also consider obtaining inland marine insurance.

How Much Does Inland Marine Insurance Cost?

An inland marine insurance policy with $100,000 of property coverage generally costs $61 per month on average, but pricing varies based on factors such as the type and value of property covered and coverage limits.[3] Coverage needs also depend on the type of business, with some businesses required to purchase specific types of coverage, such as motor truck cargo for household goods transportation companies.

How To Get Inland Marine Insurance for Your Business

You can insure your business through one of several inland marine insurance companies by following these steps:

  1. Identify potential risks, like the nature and value of the items being transported, as well as local crime and motor accident rates.
  2. Research insurance options from providers specializing in your industry. For example, companies that specialize in fine arts & exhibits coverage are ideal for art dealers and museums because they understand the care required for artwork and other valuables.
  3. Obtain quotes and compare coverage to find the best pricing.
  4. Purchase insurance and carefully review policy documents to ensure adequate coverage.
  5. Review coverage annually, as business risks may change.
  6. Keep detailed records to facilitate future insurance claims.


What’s the difference between inland marine and marine insurance?

Inland marine insurance covers goods that are being transported over land, usually by truck, van or train. Marine insurance does something similar but it’s specifically for products being transported over water by way of boat or ship.

Is inland marine the same as flood insurance?

Inland marine insurance is specifically designed to protect equipment and other property while it’s being shipped over land. Flood insurance is meant to protect property damaged due to a naturally occurring flood event.

Why is it called inland marine?

Insurance companies first offered ocean marine insurance when cargo was transported primarily by ocean. When demand for cargo transportation beyond ports and away from the ocean, or inland, increased during the Industrial Revolution, inland marine insurance was created as a result.


  1. UFG Insurance. “5 Examples of Inland Marine Insurance Coverage.” Accessed May 3, 2023.
  2. Zurich North America. “Motor Truck Cargo Coverage,” Page 1. Accessed May 3, 2023.
  3. AdvisorSmith. “Inland Marine Insurance.” Accessed May 3, 2023.

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