WTF is inland marine insurance?
The better question is probably “why should I care?” Inland marine insurance is a type of coverage can actually be sneaky important for a decent proportion of the startup world.
If you’re a typical startup company that’s somewhere between bootstrapped and Series A, you probably find yourself on the move quite a bit. You probably have some seats locked down in a co-working space, but lets face it…between client meetings, investor meetings, and random biz dev initiatives, you’re probably not in the office as much as you’d like to be. And you’re constantly bringing your laptop and smartphone with you.
Most companies have some sort of Business Owners Policy (“BOP”), which covers the General Liability and Business Personal Property (“BPP”) side of things. BPP covers the holy grail of equipment for 99% of startups: their laptops. However, BPP only usually covers laptops when they are on or within 100 feet of the premises.
Enter Inland Marine Insurance. This type of coverage fills the gaps in a standard BPP policy and insures you for losses that happen away from the office. It’s easy to see how this is crucial for most startups. Most of you are constantly on the run demoing products for prospective customers, strategic partners, and investors. When something goes wrong on the road, it’s important to know that your damages will be mitigated and the loss won’t cut into your bottom line nearly as much.
There are even Inland Marine policies offered by some carriers that focus strictly on portable electronic devices, allowing you to choose how to allocate coverage. For example, say you’re running a full adobe creative suite on your Macbook Air, making the software even more valuable than the hardware. No problem. We can structure a policy that gets more coverage for software than hardware, reducing premiums and making the policy a tighter fit for your needs. We can do the exact opposite if, for example, you’re carrying tons of pricey A/V equipment with you instead. Either way, you’re covered. It should also be noted that I’m just using laptops as an example because it’s by far the most relevant piece of “equipment” for most startups; however all kinds of “equipment” can be covered by these policies.
So…WTF is Inland Marine Insurance? It’s your failsafe when you’re away from the office. Your backup policy for when that cab driver slams too hard on the brakes. Or the hotel maid seizes an opportunity while cleaning your room. Or your smartphone slips out of your pocket in one of the coffee shops the other day. The cost of losing this equipment can be pretty drastic for startups. You can easily mitigate these risks with the addition of an Inland Marine policy to your BOP.