International Shipping Insurance can be very Complicated

international shipping insurance

At The Insurance Broker Ltd., we have been in business since 2001 providing, amongst other things, international shipping insurance in the UK for businesses that need to send goods overseas and also for people who are moving home to another country.

Shipping insurance can be very complex because there are different ways of insuring goods, and, of course, they can be shipped by air-freight or by Sea. There are also numerous issues with overseas customs clearance, because different countries have different rules and regulations about what they will and won’t allow to be shipped into their country.

But that’s OK, because when you use us to insure your goods we understand all this, even though some of it may seem very strange to the man – or woman – in the street.

Possibly the first thing to understand about shipping goods overseas in containers is that the vast majority of them arrive at their destination with absolutely no problem at all. In fact, according to the World Shipping Council, out of some 356,000 containers shipped between 2016 and 2018 the average loss was 3.8 containers a day. Put another way, that is only about three quarters of one percent, which is not a lot when you consider that it covers ships covering every part of the world including areas where there may be wars going on, and even if not outright wars there are some very hostile situations.

Those figures may make you wonder if it is worth spending the money on insurance in the first place. However, what you can also be sure of is that you can bet your bottom dollar that if you fail to insure your goods they will be in one of the very few containers lost for one reason or another. That’s just the way life pans out sometimes.

So assuming that you do want to insure your goods in transit, you may want to consider what type of international shipping insurance in the UK you need.

For the record, here are the different risks that you can insure:

  1. Warehouse to warehouse.
  1. ‘All risk’.
  1. Named perils.
  1. Total loss only.
  1. Open coverage.
  1. Single coverage.
  1. General average.


Let’s go through these one by one.

Warehouse to warehouse coverage covers loss or damage from the moment the goods leave your hands until they arrive at the other end and you collect them. So if you were moving abroad that would cover you until the goods reached your new home.

‘All Risks’ cover is popular but doesn’t cover every risk. It covers all the usual risks of loss or damage but does not cover delay.

Then you have Named Perils. This costs less, but only covers everything you name. So if, for instance, you are moving home to another country and your sofa is dropped into the harbour, unless it is on the named list it will not be covered.

Cheaper still is Total Loss. You may wonder why this is, but partial damage is not covered. Cover is only if the ship sinks or the container falls overboard, for instance, and everything is lost.

Open Coverage is useful for some companies and is essential if you ship goods abroad on a regular basis. You are covered for unlimited trips over a given time frame.

If you are only shipping goods on a one-time basis, as in moving abroad for example, then you might opt for Single Coverage which only covers the one trip.

Finally, there is General Average Cover. This covers you if someone else’s goods are lost! Yes, we know. But that’s how it works. If someone else’s goods are lost and yours are not, you and everyone else who has not lost goods have to cover the cost of the lost goods between you.

So you can begin to see why international shipping insurance can be so complicated, and why you need us at The Insurance Broker to advise you and find the best cover for your particular situation.