Accumulation Clause in Marine Insurance

The accumulation clause in marine insurance is a crucial provision found in many policies. It plays a significant role in managing risk and defining the insurer's liability if losses exceed the declared value of insured cargo or vessels (hull). A thorough understanding of this clause is essential for both policyholders and insurers within the realm of marine and cargo insurance.

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What is the Accumulation Clause in Marine Insurance?

The accumulation clause is a common provision in marine insurance policies that limits the insurer's financial responsibility if the insured value of your cargo or vessel unintentionally exceeds the declared amount. Think of it as a safeguard for the insurer where unforeseen circumstances lead to a higher total value on board than initially anticipated.

This protects the insurer if delays or additional cargo push the shipment's value beyond the initial declaration. Understanding this clause empowers policyholders to manage expectations and take necessary steps for complete protection.

The purpose behind the Accumulation Clause in Marine Insurance

  • Risk Management for Insurers: Marine insurance operates on the principle of indemnity, meaning the insurer compensates for losses up to the insured value. The accumulation clause acts as a risk management tool, preventing situations where the insurer becomes liable for exceptionally high claims that could jeopardise the entire policy.
  • Maintaining Policy Affordability: By limiting potential payouts for exceeding the declared value, the accumulation clause helps keep marine insurance premiums affordable for businesses. Without this clause, premiums could skyrocket to compensate for the higher risk of significant losses.
Learn more about Marine Insurance

Applications for Indian Marine Insurance

The accumulation clause finds application in various marine insurance policies:

  • Cargo Insurance: This clause is relevant for situations where the total value of cargo or the vessel and its contents exceeds the declared amount. This can occur in cargo insurance due to delays, changes in the route, or consolidation of shipments at a specific location.
  • Hull Insurance: The accumulation clause safeguards against situations where the total value on board (TVOB) of a vessel, including cargo, surpasses the declared insured value.
  • Protection against Losses from a Series of Events: The accumulation clause can also protect against losses arising from a sequence of unfortunate events during the insured period. This is particularly beneficial for longer voyages or complex journeys with multiple stops.

Example of Protection against Losses from a Series of Events

A shipment of leather goods insured for ₹30 lakh was being transported from Kolkata to Antwerp via Dubai. The policy had an accumulation clause with a 120% coverage limit for the entire journey. During the voyage, the following events occur:

  • A minor fire onboard the vessel in the Red Sea damages a portion of the cargo, causing a loss of ₹5 lakh.
  • While docked in Dubai for customs clearance, the remaining cargo suffered water damage due to a freak storm, leading to a further loss of ₹8 lakh.

With the accumulation clause in place, the insurer was obligated to cover the combined losses up to the 120% limit (₹30 lakh * 120% = ₹36 lakh). This ensured the policyholder received compensation for the total loss incurred throughout the journey.

Key Features of the Accumulation Clause

  • Coverage Limits: The clause usually specifies a limit as a percentage of the insured value (e.g., 120%, 150%, or 200%). These limits can vary depending on the insurer, the type of cargo or vessel being insured, and the specific policy terms.
  • Time Period: Be aware of the timeframe associated with the limit. It might apply during a single voyage, a specific storage period, or even an entire transit journey.

Examples of Loss due to Negligence of Policy Clauses

An electronics exporter in Delhi typically ships containers valued at ₹40 lakh each. Their policy has an accumulation clause limiting coverage to 115% of the declared value per shipment during a single voyage. Due to bad weather, they decided to consolidate two containers into one, with a total value of ₹80 lakh. However, they neglected to inform the insurer about the updated value.

During the voyage, an unfortunate incident led to the loss of the entire shipment. When the exporter filed a claim, the insurer only agreed to compensate up to the limit specified in the accumulation clause, i.e., ₹46 lakh. The remaining ₹34 lakh, which represented the value exceeding the insured amount, was not covered by the insurance.

Premium Adjustments and Factors Influencing Them

  • Premium Adjustments: The clause's coverage limit and timeframe influence your premium. Generally, a higher limit translates to a slightly higher premium.
  • Risk Profile and Transparency: Your company's risk profile might affect premiums. However, transparency with your insurer can help them assess the risk accurately and potentially offer better rates.

Coverage Scope and Potential Limitations

  • Understanding Timeframes: The clause often applies within specific timeframes. Ensure your coverage remains active throughout critical phases.
  • Communicate Value Changes: Any significant changes in cargo value or additional bookings that push the total value on board (TVOB) beyond the declared amount must be promptly communicated to your insurer to avoid coverage limitations.
  • Considering Increased Limits: If your business model involves frequent fluctuations in TVOB, consider negotiating a higher coverage limit with your insurer for greater peace of mind.

Best Practices for Insurers

  • Clear Policy Drafting: The clause wording should be clear and easy for policyholders to understand. This includes stating coverage limits, timeframes, and exclusions.
  • Comprehensive Risk Assessments: During underwriting, assess the client's business operations (cargo value, booking patterns) to tailor coverage limits and premiums to their specific risk profile.
  • Open Communication and Risk Education: Educate policyholders about the clause, its purpose, limitations, and the importance of accurate declaration and communication regarding TVOB. This fosters trust and minimises potential claim disputes.


As a policyholder, understanding the clause's impact on premiums, coverage limitations, and mitigation strategies empowers you to make informed decisions. By negotiating effectively and maintaining open communication with your insurer, you can secure the right level of coverage at a reasonable cost. Visit and connect with an expert to understand the accumulation clause in detail, assess your needs, and get recommendations for the most suitable marine insurance policy for your business.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 11 April 2024

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Policybazaar for Business - Marine Insurance - Customer Reviews
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3.8 April 20, 2023
Great Experience
I recently purchased Marine insurance from Policybazaar for my shipping business and I must say I am thoroughly impressed with their service and coverage. From start to finish, the experience has been smooth and hassle-free.Thankyou.
4.3 April 03, 2023
Provides Comprehensive Protection
When it comes to coverage, Marine insurance that i bought from PolicyBazaar has exceeded my expectations. It provides comprehensive protection for my cargo and vessels during transit, ensuring I can focus on my business operations with peace of mind. Thankyou.
4.3 March 17, 2023
Excellent Services
I highly recommend Marine insurance from PolicyBazaar website to anyone in the shipping or logistics industry. Their user-friendly website, comprehensive coverage, and excellent customer service make them stand out from the competition. With Policybazaar, I feel confident in navigating the high seas, knowing that my business is well-protected. Thank you, Policybazaar.
4.3 February 28, 2023
User Friendly Interface
The website's user-friendly interface made it easy to compare different plans and find the perfect fit for my business needs.Thanks
4.3 February 11, 2023
Prompt Services
I appreciate the transparency and honesty with which Policybazaar handled my claims. They were prompt in processing my claim and their claim settlement process was hassle-free.Thanks PolicyBazaar.
3.8 February 10, 2023
Exceeds Expectations
I recently had the pleasure of purchsing marine insurance from Policy bazaar website and I must say it has been an outstnding experience from start to finish. I am thrilled to share my positive customer review, as this truly exceeded my expectations. Thanks PB.
3.8 January 31, 2023
Easy Navigation
The ease of navigating the Policy bazaar website and finding the right marine insurance policy was impressive. The website's user-friendly interface and intuitive design made it incredibly simple to compare various options, understand the coverage details and make an informed decision. I appreciated the transparency provided throughout the process. Thanks.
3.8 January 21, 2023
Excellent Support
The customer service provided by Policy bazaar was decent. Their team was responsive, knowledgeable and went above and beyond to assist me at every step. Their professionalism and commitment to customer satisfaction were truly commendable.Thankyou.
4.3 January 11, 2023
Sanjeev Rathor
Efficient Process
When it came to claims processing, Policy bazaar demonstrated remarkable eficiency and effectivenes. I had an unfortunate incident during the coverage period and filing a claim was a breeze. The entire process was streamlined and their team guided me throuugh every necssary step, making it hassle-free. The promptness with which my claim was setled reflected their commitment to their customers' well-being and peace of mind. Thankyou.
3.8 January 01, 2023
Comprehensive Coverage
I must mention the comprehensive coverage provided by the marine insurance policy I purchasd through Policy bazaar. It offered me the necesary protection and peace of mind. Thankyou PolicyBazaar.