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What to Consider When Purchasing Marine Insurance

Posted on February 1, 2017

What to Consider When Purchasing Marine InsuranceMarine insurance is a shipping insurance that will cover damages or loss of cargo while at sea and during transport to and from port terminals. Although it covers parts of the journey organised by shipping companies, it isn’t automatically included in most quotes so it is important that you double-check whether you need to purchase one yourself.

Even if marine insurance is included in your quote, it is always a good idea to ask for a full copy of the shipper’s insurance policy to ascertain exactly what is and isn’t covered – Any good-quality, reliable shipping company will be happy to provide it promptly. There could be a cap on the value covered, a high excess or restrictions for certain types of vehicles like ex-military or police cars, which could be an issue for you if your vehicle is particularly valuable or unusual. So, although marine insurance would technically be included in your quote, it could actually not meet your needs.

If marine insurance isn’t in your shipping company’s quote, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to buy one specifically: some car insurers will cover such journeys so it is always a good idea to give them a call to save yourself unnecessary expenses.

Should you be toying with the idea that you don’t need marine insurance as the risk of ships sinking is so minuscule, let us put your mind at rest: Yes, you need one, and we have been in this business for over two decades so you can take our word for it!

Granted, modern ships are rather reliable nowadays, but as the Titanic proved, no ship is unsinkable! But even without such an extreme event, your car will travel great distances and be handled by various people, so accidents can happen. At the end of the day, it is always best to have insurance in place and not need it than need it and not have it.

Different types of marine insurance

There are a few levels of cover available but, whichever one you choose, it is always recommended not to store cargo in your car. It can create complications and delays during Customs clearance and some companies will actually refuse to insure your vehicle if you do, as loose objects increase the risk of damage during transit.

The premium you will pay will usually be a percentage of the value of your car, and depending on the cover you purchase, you may or may not have an excess.

Levels of cover will bear different names depending on the underwriter, but the two main types are ‘all risk’ and ‘total loss’. An all-risk insurance covers all damages from the day of packing or loading, through the transit and to the delivery to the final destination. It is sometimes conditional on the shipping company packing the vehicle to ensure it is protected to professional standards.

A total-loss marine insurance is less comprehensive and covers only fire, theft or loss.

What will happen

  • Before shipping

When the shipping company takes possession of your vehicle, they will conduct a thorough inspection of its state, inside and outside. It is highly recommended that you be there, as their inspection will be the basis on which any claim would be handled. No matter how insignificant a detail may seem now, it could result in a claim being turned down later so make sure every is recorded properly.

Taking pictures of your car, inside and outside, is a good idea, as it will provide an excellent record of the state of your vehicle should you need to make a claim.

  • After shipping

When your car is delivered back to you, you will have to fill the Bill of Lading, which is basically the counterpart of the condition report that is done when your vehicle is collected by the shipping company. If your vehicle is delivered at night, make sure you have enough light to see it well so that you can check it thoroughly, including the engine and the undercarriage. Note any problem on the Bill of Lading before having it signed by the driver.

The crucial point to remember is that once you sign the Bill of Lading, the responsibility of your vehicle is transferred back to you. If you missed something, you won’t be able to claim for it later.

McCullough has been shipping cars and other vehicles throughout the world for over 20 years and we handle our clients’ cars as if they were our own but it is still wise to be prepared and have marine insurance, just in case. Should you have any question about shipping your vehicle with us, contact us on +64 9 303 0075 or via our contact form. You can also request a free quote online.


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