Is Equipment Floater the Same as Inland Marine?

Equipment floater and inland marine insurance are two types of business insurance that provide specialized coverage for portable property and movable equipment. While they have some overlaps, there are also key differences between these policies. This article provides an in-depth comparison of equipment floater vs inland marine insurance.

What is Equipment Floater Insurance?

Equipment floater insurance is a type of property coverage designed to insure movable business equipment and tools that are routinely taken from place to place. Key features include:

  • Covers loss or damage to portable equipment on and off business premises.

  • Insures equipment at temporary locations, while in transit, and at jobsites.

  • Can cover small tools, machinery, audio-visual equipment, props, and more.

  • Items can be scheduled individually or grouped into categories.

  • Provides protection against perils like theft, vandalism, natural disasters.

  • Allows adding coverage for leased/rented equipment.

What is Inland Marine Insurance?

Inland marine insurance provides specialized protection for portable property and movable equipment. Key aspects include:

  • Covers equipment and goods transported from one place to another.

  • Insures property in transit by road, rail, air or inland waterways.

  • Policies tailored for specific mobile property like contractor equipment, camera gear, computers etc.

  • Coverage for goods shipped domestically and internationally.

  • Protects against damages, losses and theft during transit.

  • Typically excludes ocean marine exposures like cargo ships.

Key Similarities Between Equipment Floater and Inland Marine

Though some differences exist in how the policies are structured and priced, equipment floater and inland marine insurance have the following core similarities:

  • Both cover portable business property and movable equipment.

  • Provide coverage when equipment is away from main business premises.

  • Insure property while in transit from one location to another.

  • Protect against standard property insurance perils like theft, vandalism, fire etc.

  • Allow scheduling specific high-value items under each policy.

  • Offer customized solutions tailored to needs of mobile equipment.

  • Eliminate gaps in protection arising from movement of property.

Notable Differences Between Equipment Floater and Inland Marine

While equipment floater and inland marine serve the same basic purpose, here are some key differences between them:

  • Insurance Structure – Equipment floater is an add-on endorsement. Inland marine is its own standalone policy.

  • Transit Focus – Inland marine emphasizes transit coverage. Equipment floater also covers temporary locations.

  • Coverage Triggers – Inland marine activates during shipping. Equipment floater coverage is continuous.

  • Goods Insured – Inland marine often covers inventoried goods for resale. Equipment floater focuses on operational equipment.

  • Specialized Options – Inland marine offers import/export policies. Equipment floater has installation floater.

  • Policy Customization – Inland marine provides commodity-specific forms. Equipment floater coverage is more uniform.

  • Premium Rating – Inland marine rates consider transit mode and distance. Equipment floater charges one flat premium.

When is Equipment Floater Used vs Inland Marine?

While there is overlap in the property they cover, here are some typical scenarios when equipment floater and inland marine are utilized:

Equipment Floater Is Used For:

  • Construction and contracting equipment like excavators, lifts, power tools.

  • Audio, video and lighting equipment of production companies.

  • Diagnostic and medical equipment of healthcare providers.

  • Communication and networking infrastructure of IT companies.

  • Instruments, props and supporting gear of performers and artists.

Inland Marine Is Used For:

  • Finished goods and inventoried merchandise being shipped to buyers or channels.

  • Raw materials, components and documents in transit to manufacturing hubs.

  • Vehicles being transported interstate between regional offices or dealerships.

  • Electronics, pharmaceuticals and other high value goods being exported/imported.

  • Heavy machinery and industrial equipment being relocated between facilities.

Key Considerations for Choosing Between Equipment Floater and Inland Marine

Here are some important considerations when deciding between an equipment floater and inland marine policy:

  • How often is the equipment moved or transported?

  • Does the equipment stay at temporary locations for long durations?

  • Are finished goods for resale a part of the mobile property?

  • Does the equipment move across state lines or national borders?

  • Is coverage needed for imported or exported goods?

  • Does the business own the mobile equipment or is it leased?

  • What are the common causes for damage to the mobile property?

  • How much can business operations afford to self-insure if losses occur?

Can You Have Both Equipment Floater and Inland Marine Coverages?

It is possible for businesses to carry both an equipment floater and an inland marine policy if their mobile property and transit exposures warrant it. Some scenarios where having both makes sense:

  • A retailer that ships inventory to stores but also transports display equipment to trade shows.

  • A healthcare provider that needs to cover medical gear at clinics and in ambulances.

  • A construction firm that has contractor equipment as well as project materials always on the move.

  • A consulting company with computer hardware at client sites as well as in company vehicles.

Having both policies ensure all mobile assets and goods in transit are fully covered with overlapping insurance. However, businesses should evaluate if duplicated coverage is cost-effective. Streamlining with one consolidated policy may be more prudent and affordable in many cases.

Key Takeaways

  • Equipment floater and inland marine insurance both provide specialized coverage for portable business property.

  • While the core coverage against transportation losses is similar, the policies differ structurally.

  • Inland marine caters specifically to goods in transit across distances. Equipment floater has broader applicability.

  • Businesses need to analyze their unique risks to determine if equipment floater, inland marine or both policies are ideal.

  • Agents can advise if standalone coverage or a combination of floater types is most suitable and cost-efficient.

  • Careful risk assessment allows matching the features and scope of equipment floater and inland marine insurance to a company’s specific exposures.

While equipment floaters and inland marine serve a common purpose, analyzing your assets, how they are transported and the probable causes of loss allows identifying the right insurance product for your business. Consult with your insurance advisor to secure your mobile equipment in the most optimal way.

What is Contractor’s Equipment Floater Insurance?


What is another name for inland marine coverage?

For example, inland marine insurance is called “bailee’s customer insurance” in instances where you are transporting a customer’s property. Builder’s risk insurance covers construction tools and machinery kept at job sites and storage yards.

Are inland marine policies floaters?

These policies became known as “floaters” because the property covered was originally “floating” in the ocean. In today’s insurance realm, Inland Marine coverage provides protection to fill gaps in commercial property protection or to reach specific limits of coverage.

What is a contractor’s equipment floater?

An equipment floater is property insurance covering equipment that is often moved from place to place.

What is inland floater?

Inland marine or equipment floater insurance covers specific types of mobile property and other specialized objects no matter where they are located. Items such as tools, cameras, laptop computers or other equipment used to conduct offsite operations are at a higher risk of loss, damage, and theft.

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