Know more about Inland Marine Insurance and its importance

Definition of Inland Marine Insurance

Inland Marine Insurance was first created to cover the transport of goods over water, but the definition of the term has extended to refer to the coverage of transport of goods on land, as well as to the belongings of others that is at your sites or being transported to or from your sites.

The words “inland marine insurance” originated during the 1920s to distinguish these floater rules from “marine insurance” that still applied to boats or commonly named as “ocean marine insurance”.

A National Marine Definition was created in 1933 to define what could and could not be covered under marine insurance. The document was modified in 1976, and presently covers six categories:

  • Imports
  • Exports
  • Domestic shipments
  • Bridges, tunnels and other instrumentalities of transportation and communication
  • Commercial property floater risks
  • Private property floater risks

Of this list, the last four items are mainly inland marine, while the first two items are ocean marine.

This category of insurance consists of property coverage for construction equipment and tools, medical diagnostic equipment, solar panels and wind turbines, cameras and movie equipment, fine arts, musical instruments, and a wide variety of other types of property.

The property that is insured under inland marine coverage is typically one of the following:

  • 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

When you are working off-site, your commercial owners’ policy doesn’t always protect your tools and office equipment including computers, and this can put your company at risk. Inland marine insurance is required to cover most business property including contractors’ tools and equipment, as well as the property of others.

Inland marine insurance normally covers property that is portable or transportable in nature. It often covers goods that needs wider protection than what may be provided by the usual property policy. Examples are:

  • Computers and other IT Equipment
  • Tools and equipment for artisan workers
  • Fine Art Dealers and Art Galleries
  • Camera equipment of photographers
  • Pet Groomers and Veterinarians
  • Motorized Vehicle Cargo
  • Transportation Form
  • Vending Machine Form
  • Dealers’ Service Form


Inland Marine Coverage

Property insurance for goods in transit over land, certain types of moveable property, transportation equipment, communication equipment, and legal accountability exposures of bailees provides coverage without concern to the site of the covered property; these are occasionally called “floater” policies.

Marine insurance offers coverage to businesses for goods that are mobile in nature or needs unique appraisal. Many categories of property are covered, including those associated to construction, transportation, fine arts, and communications.

Less heavily regulated than fire and casualty, marine insurance has stiffer competition overseas. It also focused in covering risks that were in transport. It was a short step from there to covering “floating” risks — goods that relocated without problems from one area to another, such as jewelry, fine art, and cameras.

Soft regulation made it easy for marine insurance to diversify into more and more coverage, while more liberal policies, as well as coverage against all risks and throughout the business’ operating region made it attractive to Policy holders.



Written by: John Brown
John has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry. He grew from a star insurance producer to owning one of the largest agencies in the country; he's a reference regarding contractor's insurance, commercial insurance, and builders' risk insurance.