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If you carry goods for someone else, you need goods in transit insurance to protect you against claims relating to loss or damage to those goods while in your care. Having access to a well written, comprehensive GIT policy will (should) be a requirement of your customers and should be a useful sales tool for new business. Theft claims are rising and freight cover is a must.
- Your legal liability as a carrier for physical loss or damage to goods that you're responsible for
- Your legal liability for loss or damage to containers that aren't yours
- Financial liability arising from damage, delay, accidental mis-delivery
- Legal costs
Most goods in transit insurance brokers have added extras they can sell / include, some more applicable to the independent courier and some to the franchised operator:
- Own Goods: Covering your ropes, chains, sheets and own loss of goods during transit
- Debris Removal: The cost of clearing a load from a site in relation to a claim
- Personal Effects: If your own goods go missing there's sometimes limited cover, but probably not things like mobiles and credit cards
- Temporary Storage: For leaving your load in a secure, pre-arranged and contracted building
- Cover for Sub-contractors: There will be a long list of exclusions involved here, similar to your own, and your sub-contractor's contract will be the first port of call for a claim
- Trailer Curtains
GIT Insurance is a complicated business and you should seek specialist brokers to provide cover - a policy will have many facets to consider and need thorough explanation.
Type of Courier / Haulier
Obviously couriers come in many shapes and sized - sameday, multi-drop, overnight, international, technical, lifestyle right through to high security on-board operators. Each carries its own type of risk and may be subject to exclusion.
Couriers have a lot of un-planned multi-drop work in smaller vehicles (under 3.5T), but hauliers on the other hand tend to be considered as those operators transporting a small number of single drops per day for a direct customer or a freight company.
Naturally where you operate will affect the panel of broker who have available rates for your goods in transit insurance online quote. Generally insurers will define "Zones" and provide cover only for the zone you have selected. For example - Zone 1 might be the British Isles, and Zone 6 going up to worldwide cover. Make sure you check the list of countries in each Zone - they might differ from policy to policy - international shipping insurance is a very different risk for the insurance company than a local goods in transit van insurance policy!
If the shipping insurance premium was based in part on your stated turnover for the year, expect to be required to maintain full and complete records and to be requested to hand them over on request. While it turnover figures might not be material to a claim in question, they will affect the premium so avoid under / over statement.
Limits of Liability
Here's where you should really dig into the small print. You'll find phrases like "Our maximum limit of indemnity in respect of any one occurrence shall not exceed £250,000"; might seem a lot, but...
Indemnity limits are going to be similar from provider to provider, but make sure they are sufficient. If there's a £10K limit on damage to containers, that's the maximum you can get.
Conditions of Contract, Carriage or Trading
Your T&Cs will normally form part of your insurance contract and you will need to submit them for consideration and approval and inclusion in your insurance schedule. That contract will be the first line of defence in a claim against you (or attack by your claimant) and your insurance will kick in once contractual avenues have been exhausted. At that point you might find your indemnity limits are subject to common law amounts or those under RHA conditions. If a customer hasn't agreed to your terms of carriage, you might find yourself with a damaging liability.
In short - make sure you have a clear system for communicating your terms to your clients at all times - add it to your invoices, emails, letters etc.
Your Duty of Care
Somewhere in your policy will be a duty of care section that lays out a list of reasons why an insurer might reject your claim. Typically these will require you to only employ competent drivers and agents, take all "reasonable" measures to secure the load, keep it under surveillance, keep the fleet maintained properly and so on. Watch out for specialist clauses about things like ISM Endorsement for shipments on Ro-Ro passenger ferries
Exclusions, exclusions, exclusions
There are a lot of things that insurers, quite rightly in most cases, won't cover outside of theft of goods in transit. Here's a few examples:
- Damage to goods caused by temperature changes after an accident
- Damage in transit from bad packaging
- Abandoning your load on purpose
- Special goods like living creatures, bullion, cash
- Removal companies (if not covered for specifically)
- Confiscation, embargo etc
- Late delivery when you've agreed a time contractually
- Radiation damage
And, my favorite: damage caused by pressure waves from supersonic aircraft!
Temperature Controlled Goods
Often sold as an add-on, goods requiring temperature control during transit have their own rules and exclusions. Make sure you read the clause in detail before agreeing to your cargo insurance!
Theft Attractive Goods
If you carry anything that might widen the eyes of a thief - look for this special condition as it might carry its own maximum indemnity amount which is different to overall cover limits. Such goods should be defined in the policy and will be things like alcohol, tobacco, non-ferrous metals, furs and clothes, mobile phones, precious stones and metals, AV gear, computers and photography goods. There's probably a get-out here called something like "unwitting carriage", meaning if you were carrying this stuff without knowing about it in a partial load the rules are different.
Door to Door Cover
Some policies start the moment the goods are in your vehicle, and stop the second they leave them. If you're one of the poor people who has to carry our enormous printers up the stairs when you deliver - check you're covered (or don't drop it) :)
In short, there are quite a few who offer cargo insurance services, but specialists will always be your best bet. We have a panel of brokers in the uk cargo insurance market who should be able to give you a broad range of options. Just fill in our one page form by clicking the red quote buttons anywhere on this page.