What is Ocean Marine Insurance? - Lane & Associates
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What is Ocean Marine Insurance?

What is Ocean Marine Insurance? - Photograph of a Barge in the Ocean

What is Ocean Marine Insurance?

What is Ocean Marine Insurance? - Photograph of a Barge in the Ocean

The name “ocean marine insurance” might make you think that this kind of insurance is primarily for sea-faring vessels. On the contrary, ocean marine insurance is a specific kind of insurance to protect goods and vessels crossing domestic and international waters by sea, land, or plane. 

If your Insured owns a marine vessel that is used for commercial purposes or they contract with another company to transport their goods and merchandise, they may need this kind of insurance. An ocean marine insurance policy is most often taken out by businesses in the following industries: 

  • Marine services and contracting
  • Marine transportation
  • Importing
  • Exporting
  • Fishing
  • Yachting


As you can guess by the different industries that use ocean marine insurance, this type of policy can cover a variety of risks. Ocean marine insurance is a broad term for three kinds of coverage: 

  • Cargo coverage 
  • Hull (vessel) coverage
  • Liability coverage 

Let’s take a closer look at each coverage. 

Cargo coverage 

If your Insured deals in international imports and exports, ocean marine insurance can help to cover their goods and merchandise. It may be helpful in situations like the following: 

  1. Lost cargo – Should the shipment that was promised to their clients never arrive— whether due to a collision or misplacement—your Insured could be liable. 
  2. Lost revenue – Should a shipment be delayed for so long that your Insured’s client no longer needs the goods and refuses to complete payment, your Insured could suffer a financial loss.
  3. Legal liability – In a situation like the above, a client could take your Insured to court to sue them for the payments they’ve already made on lost, late, or damaged goods. Without ocean marine insurance, your Insured may be responsible for their own legal fees (depending on the specifics of your other insurance policies).


Hull (vessel) coverage 

Ocean marine insurance can also provide coverage against damage to a ship’s hull, or machinery, and against total loss of a ship. If your Insured owns or operates a marine vessel for commercial purposes, this kind of ocean marine policy may be essential to protecting their yacht, ferry, or boat.

Liability coverage 

Like general liability insurance, ocean marine coverage can help to protect vessel owners from claims of bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage related to their services.

Ocean marine vs. inland marine coverage 

When shopping for insurance, you may be unsure of the difference between ocean marine insurance and inland marine insurance. 

Inland marine insurance, or commercial inland marine insurance, covers goods and merchandise in transit. When your Insured’s imported or exported goods are covered by this kind of policy, the insurance goes wherever they go. Inland marine insurance most often applies to goods traveling domestically via rail, air, and truck. 

Ocean marine insurance can cover not just goods, but also vessels. It can apply to goods traveling domestically or internationally by any means, with continuous coverage if part of the shipping trajectory includes shipping by land, air, or water. 

Consider the shipping path your Insured’s goods take. Depending on the specifics of your Insured’s business and their policy, they may need one or both kinds of insurance.

Doesn’t their insurance already cover that? 

As you read through the above scenarios, you may think that an existing commercial insurance policy already covers their goods, their lost revenue, and their legal liability. In fact, ocean marine coverage may seem similar to policies that they already have. 

For example: 

Commercial property insurance can protect your client’s company’s equipment and assets. You may assume this covers any goods you transport—but in fact, commercial property insurance only covers goods at one location, not when they’re in transit. 

General liability insurance can provide coverage in the event of client or third-party bodily injury, personal injury, advertising injury, or property damage. However, depending on the specifics of their policy, it may not protect against liability during international transit. 

Professional liability insurance can provide coverage against claims of errors, omissions, and mistakes related to your professional services. While lost goods may seem like a mistake, most professional liability coverage applies to domestic work, not to international shipping. 

In general, it’s important to check with the insurer to discuss the specifics of their policy. This will help you determine whether there may be an additional need for insurance for their goods or vessel.

Ensure smooth sailing for your client’s business 

Whether your client is a marine services company or a small importer, it’s important to understand their insurance coverage, and how it applies to goods in transit. Remember:  

  • Ocean marine insurance can cover liability, goods, and vessels during international transit by sea, air, or land.  
  • Inland insurance can cover goods in domestic transit. 

Businesses likely need other policies like general liability insurance and professional liability insurance to protect against other kinds of claims. 

Stay out of rough water by helping them to protect their business. Allow them to leave risk management to you, the professional and focus on what they can control—their growth.

Karen Bivona is a Lane & Associates underwriter! She underwrites, quotes and services general liability accounts for contractor risks, including our online Artisan Contractor General Liability Program. She has worked with the company for more than 35 years.

Jonathan Whitaker is a Lane & Associates underwriter. One of his favorite parts about his job is the relationships and friendships he's able to extend beyond work. He enjoys golf, traveling, Saints football and spending time with his family.

Marie Hohensee is Lane & Associates Vice President of Commercial Underwriting and assists the commercial underwriters in making sound and profitable decisions in placing business for our customers, as well as underwriting her own book of business. She’s originally from California but has called Louisiana her home for more than 25 years and has been working in insurance for more than 30 years!

Brandy Lane is an Underwriting Assistant at Lane & Associates. Brandy's favorite part of her job is helping the underwriters so we can promptly get things to our agents! Brandy's hobbies include spending time with her friends, trying new restaurants and seeing live music.

Scott Landry is the president of Lane & Associates, an advocate of continuing education and has his CPCU, ASLI, AIS, AU, and AIDA. Scott is active in the insurance community, serving on Commissioner Donelon's Surplus Lines Insurance Advisory Council, The Louisiana Property and Casualty Insurance Commission and the Louisiana Surplus Lines Association. Some of Scott's hobbies include gardening and exercising.

Casey Lane is a Lane & Associates underwriter. His favorite part of his job is building relationships with the agents he serves. When he's not at Lane, Casey enjoys Saint's football, music and watching his four children's sporting events.

Chris Weego is a Lane & Associates underwriter. His favorite thing about working at Lane are his coworkers and the amazing agents he gets to work with. When he's not working, Chris enjoys playing golf, watching his kids play sports and cheering on the Chicago Cubs!

Don Lundy is a Lane & Associates Texas underwriter. Recently, he completed his CPCU designation after 15 years of off-and-on classes. When he's not working, Don enjoys photography, Star Wars, the Atlanta Braves and watching his son bowl.