A construction site can go from being a hub of activity during the day to utter blackness overnight. A chain-link fence surrounding the property can deter thieves, but you'll often read about the theft of tools and equipment.
And we're not talking about a hammer and nails. Some of these thefts are so big that they can cripple a contractor and stall a project.
This is where inland marine coverage is an essential component in a contractor's insurance toolbox.
We've previously talked about insurance for so-called permanently attached equipment: tool boxes, ladder racks, shelving and the like. Of course, that coverage does not encompass loose tools or ladders when they fall off your truck or are lost or stolen.
Inland marine insurance covers your equipment and tools "anywhere they go, whether they're in transit, whether they're at a temporary job site, whether they're at your shop," said Peter Witt, commercial insurance advisor for Advanced Insurance Solutions in Hershey, Pa. "Wherever they go, they're covered."
As its name suggests, marine insurance originally covered the transport of goods over water. But as trains, automobiles and airplanes came along, there was a need for coverage over land. Enter "inland" marine insurance.
It is a form of property insurance, but property insurance typically is for things that stay in one place. Inland marine covers mobile property: everything from computers and cameras to animals and truck cargo.
As Witt explained relative to construction, inland marine typically is added to a base insurance policy; it's also known as an inland marine floater. It usually covers individual hand tools up to $1,000 and provides up to $10,000 in coverage for all hand tools.
For larger items, a contractor would want to identify them by name, serial number and value: $15,000 auger, for instance, $20,000 skid loader. Witt said it's a good idea to take pictures of tools and equipment and to keep the inventory list up to date.
"Keep your stuff straight," he said. "Because at a time of loss, an adjuster could say, 'Did you really have that item?' There could be questions that arise. But with a detailed equipment list, there are no questions: This is what I lost, this is what it's valued."
Bigger companies generally do a good job with this, Witt said. It's the one- or two-man operations that try to get by with only general liability insurance.
"The next thing you know, their truck is broken into and all their tools are gone," Witt said. "It could cripple their business."
Generally speaking, you can purchase $10,000 worth of inland marine coverage for $600 to $800 per year. To discuss your specific situation and for a free quote, give us a call at 717-533-0252.
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