Helpful advice for taking out Business Shipping Insurance


If your business buys or sells goods internationally, you may need business shipping insurance. This will cover your company from loss or damage to property during transit to or from the UK and a foreign nation.

Many businesses take out this type of insurance to safeguard their operations from both loss of property and reputational damage. This includes online sellers shipping products imported from other countries, manufacturers shipping products in part or whole to the market of sale, freight forwarders or exporters of products being delivered to new international markets.

For tailored advice or quotes for business shipping insurance, get in touch with us at The Insurance Broker and we’ll help you find the best cover for your situation.

What is Business Shipping Insurance?

Shipping insurance for businesses was first designed to cover the transportation of goods by sea. This was the most common means of having goods transported from one location to another, and many of the rules, practices and laws from this process have carried forward to present day.

While you may not be transporting your items via cargo containers by sea, your air, rail or road shipping activities will also require some form of shipping or transportation insurance if you’re handling goods between multiple destinations.

Today, the shipping industry has evolved since the days when cargo containers were the primary method of transportation. And sometimes, moving products from one location to another could involve the use of different types of transportation, such as truck transport combined with air, for items to be delivered to their final destination.

The most important thing for you as a business is to take out a policy that covers your goods from the time it leaves its point of origin until it arrives safely with you.

Who is the Shipper?

In the world of shipping, there are specific terms and phrases that will apply to the individuals and processes required for the correct transportation of goods from one point to another. The ‘Shipper’ is the party who initiates the shipment of goods. This shipper is usually the seller of the products or the manufacturer, but this is not always the case.

Who is the Consignee?

A consignee is the party who receives the goods. This recipient is often the buyer of the goods, whether they are the end user or they plan to resell the items in part or whole to additional parties later down the line. You’ll find that these roles of shipper and consignee can vary greatly depending on the specific sales or production model relevant to each sector or business type.

Who is the Carrier?

The carrier is the actual transporter of the goods. They might be a shipowner, a railroad, a trucking company, or an airline. They will ultimately be in charge of the logistics of transport.

What is a Bill of Landing?

A ‘bill of lading’ is a contract between the shipper and the carrier. It serves as a receipt of the goods by the carrier. This bill of lading describes the items to be shipped as well as provides evidence of ownership of the goods (title).

Types of Cargo Policies

As a business you can choose to take out two distinct types of cargo policies. For individual shipments, or businesses that will ship items infrequently or ad-hoc, you can opt for a voyage policy which covers single voyages. The contract and agreement of this will be limited to the transportation of one batch of goods.

Conversely, an open policy can cover more than one voyage and transportation batch. You could take out an open policy for a set term such as an annual cover, and any shipment taking place within that time frame will be covered by the same contractual terms.

Key Details of Your Business Shipping Insurance

If you buy or sell goods that are shipped to or from a foreign country, the sales contract should specify who is responsible for insuring the goods while they’re in transit. This should also clearly outline when the ownership (responsibility) will exchange from one party to another (buyer to the seller). This will determine who is liable to pay for loss or damages at any given point.

Having control over your insurance policy is more important than you might realise at first. While you might have to do more legwork at the start to research and find the best third-party insurers, finding the most competitively priced providers with all the coverage you need will guarantee your ongoing protection.

Contact Us for Advice

The premium you pay for your business shipping insurance will always depend on the nature of the goods shipped, their value, the route used, and the scope of coverage provided. At The Insurance Broker, we’ll help you build a policy package that ticks all the right boxes.