Understanding Inland Marine Insurance

May 2018
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Inland marine, often known as "tools and equipment" insurance, is a must have for contractors who are always taking their work on the go.

Inland marine insurance sounds like something you'd need to insure your fishing boat, but it's actually a type of insurance commonly used by contractors to protect the tools and equipment that moves from project site to project site.

How Inland Marine Got its Name

Wondering how inland marine insurance got its name?

For the majority of history, the best way to transport goods was over sea. Ships hauled cargo way before goods were shipped by train or truck. Ocean marine insurance, quite possibly the world’s oldest form of insurance, came about as a way to protect seafaring vessels and the property they carry on board. But ocean marine insurance didn’t provide coverage once cargo was loaded off ships and started making its way to its land-based destination.

Inland marine coverage was designed to fill this gap. The policy has evolved over the years, and today you can get the protection of inland marine even if your goods go nowhere near the water. Today it covers cargo, work equipment, and other miscellaneous types of business property that travels between locations on land.

How it Works

Commercial property insurance generally covers assets that remain on business property. But what about when your tools and equipment have to leave your place of business for onsite work? That’s where your property insurance stops and inland marine insurance takes over.

Offering protection for businesses with tools and equipment that move locations regularly, inland marine creates peace of mind for contractors who send their tools out into the field with employees and those who move equipment from job site to job site within a policy’s predetermined territory of coverage.

What it Covers

For fixed businesses that stay in one place, with no goods or cargo in transit, inland marine insurance is probably unnecessary. But for businesses that are on the go with their goods and services, protection against loss and theft of the materials is essential.

Inland marine insurance covers:

Mobile property
Tools and/ or equipment that is moved from job site to job site.

Property in transit
Goods that are being transported/ shipped

Property that stays in a moveable location
Example: Food truck with kitchen equipment inside

Property deemed to be an “instrument of transportation or communication”
Such as bridges and radio towers.

As long as these valuable business assets stay within the area of coverage outlined in an individual policy, inland marine protects all equipment, tools, and inventory that are on the move.

Takeaway: Inland marine is insurance for property that’s on the move. If it can be moved, whether it’s a skid steer loader or a circular saw, you’ll want inland marine coverage to protect it.

Why Contractors Should Consider Inland Marine Insurance

Professionals across many industries benefit from the protections of inland marine insurance. Contractors are particularly well served, in an industry where expensive and necessary tools and equipment are constantly moving from one job to another.

Loss of tools and equipment is one of the biggest problems faced by contractors. The single most common cause for loss of heavy equipment is theft. For thieves, the risk is low and the reward high. Hard to track and easy to sell, heavy equipment is in constant danger of being taken from a job site.

Tools and equipment often go missing – contractors are protected from these losses with an inland marine insurance policy. Rather than paying out-of-pocket every time a smaller tool is misplaced or a large piece of equipment disappears, inland marine pays to replace lost and stolen items.

Commercial property insurance is great for covering everything that stays at your place of business. For all the tools and equipment that travel off of the property, inland marine is the safety net that protects the assets you rely on to get the job done.

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