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As a business owner, you might need commercial auto insurance. It’s there to protect you when you or your employees drive a vehicle on regular working duties. Coverage can apply to both the vehicles owned by the drivers themselves, or owned by the business as a fleet vehicle. However, there are some important items that need coverage during transport—those are the business’s equipment and other cargo. The coverage that applies to these items is called inland marine insurance. Here’s how this coverage works alongside commercial auto coverage.

What is inland marine insurance?

When you drive commercially, you might need to take certain business assets with you. These items might include:

  • Equipment belonging to the business
  • Products made by the business and transported to other sites
  • Cargo belonging to other parties, either for shipment or for delivery

What will you do if these items get damaged in a wreck? Or, what if a vehicle fire breaks out, gutting the car and destroying the materials inside. In some cases, the business’s standard property insurance might cover certain items of particular values.

However, if an item is high-value or specialty, then that policy might not adequately apply. Instead, you might need to turn to commercial inland marine insurance.

Inland marine insurance is specifically-tailored coverage for those who transport materials overland, or in other words, take business-related materials off the business’s main property. This coverage is commonly used by commercial contractors because they have to transport equipment and building materials to actual construction sites. Those items have coverage during those times.

Still, inland marine coverage can apply to almost any business, and it can insure items both belonging to the business, and items belonging to others, but in the business’s care. It’s a good thing to have if you ever plan to travel in the line of work.

The Components of this Coverage

Inland marine insurance policies differ, but they usually come with several types of coverage. Among the most common are:

  • Motor truck cargo coverage: When your business transports materials belonging to other parties, such as the stock or deliveries of another business, then this coverage can apply to those items. It is liability insurance in case you damage someone’s belongings in your care.
  • Unique items coverage: If your business has very unique items that it cannot insure under standard property insurance, then inland marine insurance might help cover you. So, if you deal in musical instruments, and need to insure these items, then this coverage can apply.
  • Bailee’s care insurance: When you take another person’s items into your business, such as a piece of furniture that needs repairs, this coverage can insure them.
  • Equipment coverage: Specialty business equipment, like construction materials that you will transport offsite can receive additional coverage.

All in all, if you will take business materials off your business premises in a commercial vehicle, then this coverage can apply to the materials in the vehicle. It can even protect these items if you have to leave them at a commercial property until you complete a job.

Still, remember that there are many different types of inland marine coverage. Always ask your insurance agent how you need to apply the different terms of the policy to your specific operating risks.

How does it work with your commercial auto policy?

Commercial auto insurance applies to business vehicles themselves and their drivers. So, if a wreck occurs, coverage can help the business pay for damage to its vehicles or the harm it does to others. However, for the coverage of the cargo within the commercial vehicle, then inland marine insurance might come in handy. It can help both the business and its customers recover property loses during these occurrences.

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