Garage Keepers coverage/Bailee coverage is a form of inland marine insurance that protects the property of others and the liability that may occur if property left in your care and custody becomes damaged, destroyed, and creates a liability for a customer.
Don’t let the term “inland marine” confuse you. As opposed to “marine insurance,” which covers products when transported over water, inland marine insurance covers products, materials, and equipment when transported over land—e.g., via truck or train—or while temporarily warehoused by a third party. Collisions and cargo theft are the two most frequent causes of inland marine losses.
For many businesses, the property insurance provided by your Business Owners Policy (BOP) or Commercial Package Policy (CPP) may be sufficient. In general, these types of insurance cover property housed at a specific location, but tools and equipment that travel with employees to nearby job sites may also be covered.
However, if your business frequently ships products or equipment, you may want to consider purchasing inland marine insurance. This type of coverage is especially important if you ship high-value products or materials, which are often excluded from basic property coverage. Inland marine insurance can cover a wide range of specialty equipment and products, including:
- Computers, everything from servers to laptops.
- Communications and networking equipment.
- Construction and contracting equipment.
- Medical and scientific equipment.
- Photography equipment.
When weighing the need for inland marine insurance, consider the nature of your business and operations. Inland marine insurance isn’t just for companies that ship products to retailers and customers. For example, if you have a valuable tradeshow booth that is frequently shipped around the country and stored offsite by a vendor, you may want the protection provided by inland marine insurance. In addition, if someone else’s property is temporarily in your possession, inland marine insurance can provide coverage against the loss of this property. Special inland marine coverages include:
- Bailee’s Customer Coverage—Protects clients’ property that is left in the care of your business; e.g., if you operate a warehouse or repair shop.
- Builder’s Risk—Protects structures and materials during new construction projects or renovations.
- Exhibition and Fine Art Coverage—Keeps valuable items protected while on exhibit, in transit, or on loan.
- Installation Floater—Covers materials from the moment they are loaded onto a truck until they are put to use or installed.
- Motor Truck Cargo Coverage—Keeps clients’ goods protected while your business transports and delivers them.
Your insurance professional can help you determine whether or not purchasing inland marine insurance makes sense for your business. If you opt for this type of coverage, your insurer may provide services to help you evaluate and minimize your inland marine risks and control losses.