International Shipping Insurance: A Guide to Everything You Need to Know
You’re ready to move. Your job is sorted, you have your visa, and your new home is waiting. You’re travelling across the ocean to embark on a new adventure in a new land, with new friends and new experiences. But you don’t want to have to get a new TV.
Pack up your troubles in your cardboard boxes, and move, move, move…
That’s where international shipping insurance comes in. But what is international shipping insurance? What different types of marine cargo insurance (as it’s also known) are there, and which one is best for you? This guide will take you through the steps to making sure your items are covered on their cross-ocean voyage, and answer the most pressing question: is removals insurance worth it?
If you prize your possessions enough to take them with you, they must be special. With our help, you can protect against losing them. Most of our suppliers offer reliable removal insurance policies as an add-on. Simply fill in the form at the top of this page, and our suppliers will get back to you with their best shipping quotes.
Is removals insurance worth it?
Thankfully, the nightmare scenario in which some of your goods are lost or destroyed on their way to your new home is unlikely. A survey in 2017 by the World Shipping Council found that shipping had become 48% safer over the previous three years. An average of 3.8 containers were lost per day from 2014 to 2016 – out of a total of more than 356,000.
Ships across the world transported an average of £8.5 billion worth of cargo every day, and for 99.99% of containers, they did it safely and effectively. It’s also worth noting that air freight can be up to 18 times more expensive than ocean freight, according to Transporteca, as well as being much worse for your carbon footprint.
However, nothing is without risk, including moving your goods across the world. To stop yourself worrying about how your favourite TV, armchair, and games console will fare on their journey, all you need to do is to get some international shipping insurance. Your peace of mind is worth it.
International shipping insurance: the first steps
Before you get international shipping insurance, you need to first decide what’s joining you on the next stage of this exciting adventure we call life. We’re not saying you have to take a Marie Kondo-type approach to your belongings, but it might be a good idea to cut down your possessions to whatever brings you joy. If you can’t imagine living without the wall-hanging you got on your trip to India, then take it with you. Otherwise, there are many online shopping platforms, friends’ houses, or rubbish bins which you can use to make things go away.
The next step is to value your goods. We know your sofa is priceless to you, but resist the temptation to put this down on a form. Instead, just look up how much it would cost to replace. This should be relatively easy to find online. Make sure you don’t undervalue your possessions though, as marine transit insurance for household goods (or otherwise) won’t voluntarily increase how much you think your armchair is worth.
Describe the items thoroughly, and take lots of photos to back up your descriptions. This way, if the worst happens, you’ll be able to replace all your items with as little hassle as possible. Then cover them in bubble wrap, pack them up tightly in boxes, and bid them a fond farewell until you see them on the other side.
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Types of marine cargo insurance
You’re ready to get some insurance and protect you and your family from losing your precious cargo, so here are all the different types of marine cargo insurance.
- All-Risk: covers all your goods from potential catastrophes – within reason
- Named Perils: only covers possessions which you specially name on the form
- Total Loss Only: only kicks in when an entire vessel and its cargo is lost
- Single Coverage: covers a one-time shipment
- Open Coverage: covers multiple shipments over a specific length of time
- General Average Coverage: if any cargo on the ship – or the whole ship, for that matter – is lost, your insurer will stump up your part of the joint costs
- Warehouse-to-Warehouse Coverage: you’ll be insured from the moment your goods enter the first warehouse to when you pick them up from the destination warehouse
|All-Risk||Covers all usual risks of shipping your possessions||Doesn’t cover extraordinary circumstances, like war or earthquakes|
|Named Perils||Cheaper – and everything you name is protected||It only covers a limited number of your items|
|Total Loss Only||Even cheaper||Only applies when both the ship and cargo are destroyed|
|Single Coverage||One journey is probably all you need||If you change your mind and want to bring more items, you’ll need a new policy|
|Open Coverage||You’ll be covered for an unlimited number of trips over a certain period||Unnecessarily expensive if you only need one trip|
|General Average Coverage||You’re covered if anyone else’s possessions – or the ship – is lost||Not required in most cases – but that’s how insurance works|
|Warehouse-to-Warehouse Coverage||Full coverage, from when you drop it off to when you pick it up||More expensive|
Choose the right international shipping insurance, and you'll be able to relax
Features of marine cargo insurance
If the list and table above left you with still more questions, don’t worry! We’re here to go beyond the basic facts, and provide you with all the information you need to ensure your items gain safe passage to your new home.
All-Risk is certainly the most sensible choice when it comes to international shipping insurance. However, you ought to be prepared for all the unexpected occurrences which it does not usually cover, namely natural decay or disasters, negligence, civil conflict (like war, riots, or strikes), loss of profits from selling your possessions, your failure to collect or pay, customs rejection, or any losses above your policy limit. Be sure to ask your insurer for specifics on what they cover.
Named Perils and Total Loss Only both cover fewer eventualities than All-Risk. If you choose Named Perils, it means you think some of your possessions are not worth insuring, which raises the question: why are you shipping them across an ocean to your new home? Total Loss Only – also known as ‘free from particular average coverage’ – is typically cheaper but even riskier, as it only covers a complete disaster which destroys both the ship and everything on board.
Unless you have accumulated enough belongings to fill more than one cargo ship, Single Coverage is probably the insurance policy for you. On the flip side, if you’re a business owner who ships goods overseas all the time, go for Open Coverage. As long as you keep your insurer updated about what goods you’re transporting and when, you’ll be covered for the length of the policy.
One quirky facet of international shipping insurance is that you automatically share the cost of any damage which happens to the vessel and its cargo, whether it’s your items or otherwise. This is why General Average Coverage is important, sparing you from having to pay for damage or a disaster which was out of your control.
Warehouse-to-Warehouse Coverage is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s worth emphasising that without this comprehensive coverage, you’ll only be insured while your goods are on the ship. If someone dropped your £3,000 TV while carrying it off the ship in sunny New York, Singapore, or Sydney, you’d want to have this coverage.
You and your family can move abroad without losing any of your prized possessions
The cost of international removals insurance vs not having it: is removals insurance worth it?
We get it: you only want to spend money if you need to, especially as moving to a new country is already expensive and time-consuming. But international shipping insurance is a small expense to protect against the possibility that you could lose everything which will make your new house, a home.
Moving abroad is hard enough, so there’s no reason for you to add to the stress and anxiety by skimping on something that can bring you comfort and security. And you won’t even be spending that much on international removals insurance.
How much does removals insurance cost?
Insuring all the items you can’t bear to part with sounds daunting, so it’s with some relief that we can reveal: it’s not particularly expensive. You’ll typically pay between 0.6% and 4% of the cost of your possessions.
For port-to-port transportation of household goods worth £40,000, that means you would pay between £240 and £1,600 for peace of mind. An annoying extra payment, to be sure, but worth it to rest easy in the knowledge that your crucial and sentimentally important items are safe.
Be sure to ask your shipping company if it includes insurance in its quote or as an add-on, and either way, be sure to shop around for the best deal. Thankfully, most of our suppliers offer removals insurance as an add-on, which makes life easier. If you head on over to our International Container Shipping Costs page, you can see how much it would take to set you up in your new home.
Or, to start receiving quotes for shipping your favourite possessions – complete in most cases with insurance estimates as an additional service – simply fill in this form and our professional suppliers will get back to you!