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What is Marine Insurance?

Marine insurance offers coverage in case of damage or loss of cargo, ships, terminals, and any transport by which any property is acquired, transferred or held between the point of origin and its destination. Under Marine insurance coverage, the property exposed either onshore and/or offshore, marine casualty, marine liability, and hull damages are secured. In case goods are transported using a courier service, shipping insurance can be purchased. Cargo insurance is the sub-category of marine insurance. 

Marine insurance is a type of insurance that not only covers the ships against damage or loss, but also the cargo contained and being transported in it.


Why Marine Insurance is Need?

Like any other insurance, marine insurance policy provide coverage for unfortunate events such as accidents, property damage, and damage to the environment. While we talk about ships, the stakes are high as the loss is related to the damage in expensive ships and valuable cargos. Additionally, the environmental damage is also high due to oil pollution which consequently results in the loss of the lives of seafarers. Some advantages of having marine insurance in India are:

  • Comprehensive Coverage against All Risks Related to Marine: A marine insurance policy offers comprehensive coverage against all potential risks related to marine accidents.
  • The flexibility of Coverage: Most of the marine insurance plans are flexible enough to fulfil the various needs of the insured.
  • Claim Survey and Settlement Assistance across the Globe: An insured also gets the benefit of a worldwide claim survey and claim settlement.
  • Option to Extend the Coverage for Riots, Strikes, and Perils: One can extend the coverage of the marine insurance plan against perils, strikes, and riots as well.
  • Customization Option to Fulfill the Requirements of the Insured: One can always customize the marine insurance policy to meet his/her expectations.

Types of Marine Insurance in India

The different types of marine insurance plans available are:

  • Cargo Insurance: This type of marine insurance policy particularly carter to ship’s cargo. However, it also covers the belongings of the ship voyager.
  • Liability Insurance: As the name of this policy suggests, the liability insurance provides compensation when the liability is sought due to ship crash, attack or ship collision.
  • Hull Insurance: To ensure the torso and hull of the vessel including the furniture and articles of the ship. This insurance policy is purchased by the owners of the ship to safeguard it against any unfortunate situation or accident.
  • Freight Insurance: It is to provide an extra layer of safety to the merchant vessel’s corporations for the situations of cargo loss due to an unfortunate event. This type of marine insurance is required by the companies that are facing monetary losses because of accidents and other unprecedented situations.

Apart from these, there are various other marine insurance plans available, some of which are:

  • Time Plan: A marine insurance plan that is issued for a particular period of time is known as time policy. Most of the times, this policy is valid for a specific period of time such as for one year
  • Voyage Plan: This plan is for those who want to ensure a particular sea voyage. The plan expires as soon as the journey overs.
  • Mixed Plan: A marine insurance policy that provides the benefits of voyage plan and time plan both is known as mixed plan.
  • Port Risk Plan: To ensure the safety and security of the ship while it is stationed at port, this plan is used.
  • Valued Plan: Under this plan, the value of the cargo or consignment is evaluated and mentioned in the insurance document beforehand. It is done to specify the insurance value in advance if the loss of consignment or cargo occurs.
  • Floating Plan: The floating plan is one wherein only the amount of the claim is defined in advance and other details are not disclosed until the ship goes on a voyage. This plan is recommended to the clients who undertake frequent cargo transportation trips.
  • Wager Plan: This plan does not have any predefined fixed reimbursement terms, however, if the insurer finds any loss or damage worthy of claims, then reimbursement is given. If the damages are not worth considering, then there will not be any compensation. It must be noted here that a wager plan is not a written insurance policy and hence it is not valid in the court.

What is the Coverage Offered by Marine Insurance?

The marine insurance plan covers any damages or losses to the insured property due to the factors mentioned below:

  • Fire or explosion, stranding, sinking etc - One can’t predict these situations in advance. Fire or explosion, sinking, stranding is common issues faced during a cargo journey. A marine insurance plan is formulated to take care of such dire situations.
  • Collision, overturning or derailment of land conveyance - Sometimes, no matter how hard the captain tries, he can’t take control of unfavourable damage causing situations. Having a marine insurance plan neutralizes the risk of damages caused by collision, overturning or derailment of land conveyance.
  • Discharge of cargo at the port of distress - If a cargo is a discharged from a port of disturbance or distress, it threatens the safety of the cargo. This is the reason why it is included in the basic insurance coverage.
  • General average sacrifice salvage charges - A marine insurance plan provides coverage for general average sacrifice salvage charges.
  • Expenses such as survey fees, forwarding expenses, reconditioning costs and sue charges - These expenses are unexpected at times which leaves you with little time to pay for these expenses. This is why having a marine insurance plan is of great help.
  • Jettison or washing overboard - Situations of jettison and washing overboard are included in a marine insurance plan.
  • Earthquake or lightning - A marine insurance plan provides you coverage from natural calamities such as earthquake or lightning.
  • Total loss of package lost overboard or dropped in loading or unloading - No matter how irksome a package loss can be, every time you can’t create a foolproof plan to prevent this situation when your package is being transported in a cargo. This is why it is included in a basic marine insurance plan.

What is not covered in Marine Insurance?

The marine insurance plan doesn’t cover any damages or losses to the insured property due to the factors mentioned below:

  • Loss or damage attributed to willful misconduct of the insured - If the misconduct is intentional then your insurance provider can’t do anything about it.
  • Insufficiency or unsuitability of packaging of the cargo insured - When the packaging quality of the cargo is not up to the mark that is why it is excluded from the basic insurance coverage.
  • Loss or damage due to any financial default or insolvency of the ship-owner etc - Any damage due to bankruptcy, insolvency, financial default etc. isn’t covered by insurance providers.
  • Ordinary leakage or wear and tear of the goods insured - These situations aren’t covered because of the obvious reasons. A marine insurance plan adds an extra layer of security but some damages pierce this layer and aren’t covered in the basic insurance plan.
  • Loss caused due to the delay of the cargo - The reason behind the delay can be anything. If the loss is caused due to the delay of the cargo, it isn’t covered in an insurance plan.
  • War and SRCC (Strikes, Riots, and Civil Commotion) - These factors are beyond the control of humans. Also, one can’t predict these situations in advance. One can just hope that he/she don’t come across any situation where he/she has to deal with such unfortunate situations.

Compare and Find the Best Marine Insurance Online

There are various financial institutions and banks in India that provide marine insurance. However, to select the most suitable plan can be a troublesome task for everyone. Therefore, it is always best to compare various marine insurance policies on insurance web aggregator and find the most useful plan. A reliable insurance web aggregator will ask a few questions about the requirements and finds the most suitable and best plan for the prospect. In this way, by using the web aggregator one can compare and find the best marine insurance plan online.

Marine Insurance Claim Process

The marine insurance claim process is no different than claim process of any other type of insurance; the basic steps for the same are given below:

  • An insured is first needed to inform the insurance provider regarding the claim either by going to the nearest branch of the insurance provider or calling the claim representative of the insurance provider.
  • If the damage or loss has occurred to the goods of the ship while they are on the port or on the ship, then the insured has to arrange a joint ship survey or survey of the port.
  • After that the policy documents or certificate that have previously been issued to the insured at the time of taking the policy. Apart from these, the policyholder also needs to give the original invoice and other documents that can be required to authenticate the claim.
Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 19 November 2019

What does Marine Insurance cover?


Marine insurance covers you in below situations:

1. Fire or blast, sinking, stranding etc.

2. Collision, the overturning of land transport

3. The release of cargo at the port of disturbance

4. Average sacrifice recovery charges

5. Washing overboard

6. Earthquake or lightning

7. Total loss of package lost overboard


What are the things not covered by Marine Insurance?


The following are the exclusions of Marine Insurance:

1. Willful misconduct of the insured

2. Ordinary leakage, loss of weight or volume

3. Insufficient package

4. Loss or damage due to any financial default or insolvency of the ship-owner etc.

5. Loss caused due to the delay of cargo

6. War and strikes


Where do I get the list of insurance companies offering Marine Insurance in India?


In India, various financial institutions, including major banks offer Marine Insurance. If we talk about insurance companies, then you can go for:

1. Bharti AXA

2. New India Assurance Co. Ltd.

3. Tata AIG

4. HDFC Ergo

5. Royal Sundaram

6. United India Assurance Co. Ltd

7. Cholamandalam Insurance Company


How can I make a claim, in case of a cargo emergency?


The claim process of Marine Insurance is simple. Below are the steps to make a claim:

1. Inform the insurer immediately by approaching the claim representative or visiting the nearest branch

2. In case of damages caused to the goods that are on the ship, a port or joint ship must be arranged by you

3. Submit the policy document and other relevant documents, which may be required to testimony your claim


What are the various plans covered under Marine Insurance?


A plenty of plans are offered under Marine Insurance. A few of them are:

1. Voyage Plan

2. Mixed Plan

3. Time Plan

4. Port Risk Plan

5. Floating Plan

6. Wager plan

7. Valued Plan


What are the factors to be considered while buying marine insurance coverage?


There are factors to be considered in order to ensure the right marine insurance policy.

Firstly, the reputation of the insurer and its financial background. Following this one must ensure that the insurer has a robust marine claim department.

Secondly, the coverage should aptly be designed as per your insurance needs. Moreover, the premium should be affordable.

Third, prefer buying marine insurance online. Some insurers offer discounts on their plans when you buy online.

Fourth, analyse your needs first, then buy. The one suits the others may not be proved as useful to you. So, review your needs and buy accordingly.


I want to buy a one-year policy that covers all my shipment. Where to buy it from?


There are insurance providers in India who offers marine insurance. You can approach one of them. The best part is, you need not have to visit them physically, you can go to their websites,  compare the plans and buy according to your requirements.


How is the premium of marine insurance decided?


The premium is decided based on the following factors:

1. Type of ship

2. Age of the ship

3. Valuation or cost of the ship

4. Trading and tonnage limits of the ship

5. Management and ownership terms of the ship

6. Type of insurance cover required


Who can buy Marine Insurance?


Those who own a ship & cargo with an insurable interest in the boat or ship can buy marine insurance.


Who is deemed to have an insurable interest under a marine insurance policy?


The owner of the ship

1. The owner of the cargo

2. The master and crew of the ship

3. The creator who has advanced money on the security of the boat or ship

4. The mortgagor if the insurable subject is mortgaged

5. A trustee with a property in trust

6. The person advancing the freight


What are the types of sales contract under Marine insurance in India?


The types of contract under marine insurance are:

1. FOB Contract- Free on Board

2. FOR Contract- free on Rail

3. C&F Contract- Cost &Freight

4. CIF Contract- Cost, Insurance & Freight

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