Cargo Insurance · Insurance

When to File Marine Cargo Claims

It’s important to secure the proper marine cargo insurance so in the event that a problem arises during the transportation of your client’s freight, they can mitigate the risk of financial loss to their goods within the supply chain. Marine cargo insurance provides coverage for any goods that they go missing, or end up lost or damaged during domestic and/or international transit. When goods are damaged it will become necessary to file marine cargo claims in order to receive compensation for the loss.

Cargo insurance is easy to acquire and may be written to protect goods shipped by sea, air, truck, or rail, and can include coverage throughout the distribution supply chain (as well as while warehoused or in storage). Goods may be insured on a spot-shipment basis or under an open cargo policy. Shipments can become damage from any number of incidents including:

  • Rough handling, tossing, over stacking
  • Collision
  • Overturning of the vessel
  • Theft
  • Non-delivery, or
  • Jettison (the act of casting goods from a vessel or aircraft to lighten or stabilize it)

General Average is a term that means all parties in a sea venture proportionally share in any losses resulting from a voluntary sacrifice of part of the ship or cargo to save the whole in an emergency. Loss could also be the result of a natural disaster.

It’s important that you notify the claims agent immediately and that you or your client document the condition of the cargo upon delivery (take photos when possible), separate the damaged goods from those in good condition, keeping everything until the claims agent arrives, and preserve all packing materials for inspection.

If the loss is sufficient you should also involve a surveyor to further help determine any financial compensation for the loss. The insurance company should pay for the surveyor, although the claimant may take on that responsibility if necessary and expect full reimbursement.

Finally, the client should file notice against any and all carriers deemed responsible for the loss and retain all copies of shipping documents so that the marine cargo claims procedure can run as smoothly as possible.