According to our claims manager, theft of items from vehicles has really been on the rise lately here in Vancouver. In light of this, it seemed like a good time to acquaint everyone with a type of insurance called inland marine.

An ounce of prevention

Before we dive into what this coverage is and how it comes into play in these situations, let’s review some common-sense practices for stopping burglaries from cars.

Don’t…

  • …leave valuables your car at all, if you can help it. Even putting them in your trunk can be iffy, as thieves will sometimes watch while you do this and take that as their cue to strike once you’ve left
  • …assume that covering your items with a jacket or blanket will deter thieves
  • …park in areas where your car’s concealed from sight by larger vehicles, fences, or foliage

Do…

  • …put valuables in a secured glove box, if you must leave them unattended
  • …lock your doors, even if you’re just leaving the vehicle in a driveway
  • …purchase a cover to help hide the contents of your car, especially if you have a wagon or SUV that leaves your cargo area on display

We took some inspiration here from this great page on the city of Roseville, CA’s website. There are lots more great tips to be found there!

A quick note on commercial coverages vs. personal

Note we’re focusing here on coverage options for our commercial clients, which is where a lot of those claims have been coming from. If you’re a personal lines client who’s had items stolen from your vehicle, you’d want to refer to your home or renters insurance policy, under coverage C Personal Property, because most theft of personal property from an automobile is usually covered here. However, some auto insurance policies include a small amount of theft of personal property. To find out how your personal insurance policies will cover theft of items from your vehicle, gives us a call.

What is inland marine?

With that said: per the Insurance Information Institute, “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.” (It’s called ‘inland marine’ to distinguish it from ‘ocean marine’ insurance, which – as you might suppose – covers products when transported over water.)

With inland marine, the coverage goes where the property goes; so if your products and tools are in transit over land, or being stored at an off-site location, they’re protected. (With your standard Business Owners Policy [BOP] or Commercial Package Policy [CPP], products/tools are typically only covered at the location listed on your policy.)

There are special coverages afforded by inland marine, including an installation floater, which “covers materials from the moment they are loaded onto a truck until they are put to use or installed.”

The best way to be sure of what policies and extensions of coverage you have is to call us for an insurance review. There’s no worse feeling than assuming you’re all set, only for an incident to happen and you discover you’re on the hook for replacement costs of stolen items. We’d be more than happy to help you avoid this scenario – talk to your agent today, or call our main line at (360) 695-3301!

Thanks to both the iii’s article on this topic and Frankenmuth Insurance’s informative blog post – both are fantastic sources if you wish to do a deeper dive on inland marine.