In the dynamic world of international trade, cargo insurance plays a pivotal role. As businesses send cargo across vast distances, they must contend with potential risks associated with shipping goods. International cargo and freight face numerous threats, from the turbulent seas to unpredictable weather, potential theft, pillage or breakage. 

That is where cargo or marine insurance comes into play, offering a safety net for importing businesses. If importers were to search online how many times shipping containers fall off vessels, they would be surprised; they would be even more surprised to learn that no insurance policy means no coverage. The cargo or marine insurance policy can cover the risks of your cargo from the place of departure to your warehouse or final destination.

Why is Cargo Insurance Crucial?

Cargo insurance is more than just an extra added cost; it is a financial investment in your business to provide certainty and security that your business can continue if an event occurs. The cargo or marine insurance policy will shield your business against a potential financial loss if your cargo is damaged, lost or pillaged. Platinum® has seen situations where importers had never considered a cargo or marine insurance policy and trusted their overseas supplier to insure the goods in Australia. When the imported contacted us [at a late stage] it was too late to establish a cargo or marine insurance policy. The risk was extremely high. However, the cost to mitigate that risk would have been very low. Imagine sending a Full Container Load [FCL] of cargo from overseas to Australia; lets say you spent $100,000 AUD for the goods and shipping; the FCL falls off the vessel en route to Australia, and the cargo could not be salvaged. Without cargo insurance, you are left to shoulder a huge financial burden.

Moreover, having a cargo or marine insurance policy assures your business partners and clients. It demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding the goods and safeguarding the ability of the business to continue, ensuring trust and confidence. Whether you are shipping by 1) an air express company, 2) general air cargo, 3) sea freight Less than a Container Load (LCL) or 4) sea freight Full Container Load (FCL), cargo or marine insurance adds an extra level of certainty and security.

Types of Cargo Insurance

Cargo insurance comes in several forms, each offering different levels of protection. ‘All Risk’ coverage is the most comprehensive, covering most causes of loss or damage to the freight. 

The cargo and marine insurers will risk assessing your goods by the commodity,  the method of transport, and the value of the goods before calculating a premium against the risk. Some importers establish a cargo or marine insurance policy per shipment, and some have annual policies covering their cargo up to the specified limit. 

Key Considerations

Choosing the right cargo or marine insurance policy requires considering several factors. The coverage scope is crucial; ensure that the policy covers all potential risks, from natural disasters to theft. Also, look at geographical limits. Some policies may not cover specific regions or routes. 

Understanding the claim process and reimbursement time is essential. You want an insurer that settles claims quickly and without unnecessary bureaucracy. Be sure to check the exclusions, deductibles and policy limits. These determine what is not covered, how much you’ll pay out-of-pocket and the maximum payout figure.

Finally, consider the premium costs against the risk. If the goods are low in value, securing a cargo or marine insurance policy may not be necessary. 

Additional Services and Benefits

In today’s competitive market, many cargo insurers are going beyond the traditional coverage offerings to provide value-added services that cater to the evolving needs of their clients. These additional services enhance the overall customer experience and offer peace of mind, knowing that your cargo is in capable hands.

One such service is risk assessment. Insurers can thoroughly evaluate your shipping processes, identify potential risks and offer recommendations for mitigating loss. They examine every facet of your operations, from the loading methods to the handling procedures, ensuring that your goods are transported safely. This proactive approach can prevent costly claims down the line.

Packaging guidance is yet another valuable service offered by some insurers. Proper packaging can greatly reduce the risk of damage during transit. Insurers can provide expert advice on the best practices for packing different types of goods, ensuring that the cargo withstands the rigours of transportation. This guidance can be particularly useful for businesses shipping fragile or high-value items.

Importance of Reading the Fine Print

When it comes to cargo insurance, understanding every clause is crucial. From terms of freight to specific exclusions, every detail matters. If there’s anything that you don’t understand, seek clarification. This ensures that you know exactly what you are signing up for.

Terms of freight, for instance, define the responsibilities of the buyer and the seller in the shipping process. Misunderstanding these terms could lead to gaps in your coverage. Specific exclusions are another key area to focus on. These outline what incidents or damages your policy doesn’t cover. Knowing these exclusions upfront helps you manage your risks better and consider additional coverage if necessary.

Exclusions are another critical aspect of your policy. These provisions specify the situations or types of damage that your policy does not cover. Understanding these exclusions can help you manage your risks more effectively and consider purchasing additional coverage if necessary.

The Claims Process

Lastly, don’t overlook the claims process. Knowing how to file a claim, what documentation is required and what to expect regarding reimbursement time can make a significant difference when dealing with a loss.

If you are unsure of anything in your policy, don’t hesitate to ask your insurer for clarification. It is better to spend more time understanding your policy upfront than to discover too late that you are not adequately covered.

Cargo or marine insurance is indeed a game-changer in the realm of freight and cargo management. It is an added layer of protection and an integral part of any successful procurement process. Cargo insurance serves as a steadfast guard, shielding your valuable goods from unforeseen incidents.

This cargo or marine coverage offers invaluable peace of mind, allowing you to focus on other critical aspects of your business. The insurance coverage takes care of potential risks associated with goods in transit. It provides financial security to your business, ensuring that an unfortunate incident doesn’t result in a severe financial setback for your enterprise.

So, take the time to select the right policy and let it carry the heavy lifting when safeguarding your international cargo.

If you need cargo or marine insurance support, rely on Platinum®. As experienced customs brokers and freight forwarders, we have the knowledge and guidance you need to ensure a smooth process. 

In the event of a claim

The following documents must be presented to validate any claim under a cargo or marine insurance policy:

(1) The certificate of insurance

(2) Copy of bill(s) of lading / Air waybill(s)

(3) Copy of commercial invoice and packing list 

(4) A copy of the receipt for the goods issued upon delivery 

(5) Clear digital pictures of the damaged goods 

(6) Copy of this Certificate of Insurance 

(7) A detailed statement of claim indicating how much you are claiming for