Marine Insurance
  • Marine insurance covers the loss or damage of ships, cargo, terminals, and any transport or cargo by which property is transferred, acquired, or held between the points of origin and final destination.

    Cargo insurance discussed here is a sub-branch of marine insurance, though Marine also includes Onshore and Offshore exposed property (container terminals, ports, oil platforms, pipelines); Hull; Marine Casualty; and Marine Liability.


    A contract of marine insurance is an agreement whereby the insurer undertakes to indemnify the insured, in the manner and to the extent thereby agreed, against transit losses, that is to say losses incidental to transit. A contract of marine insurance may by its express terms or by usage of trade be extended so as to protect the insured against losses on inland waters or any land risk which may be incidental to any sea voyage. In simple words the marine insurance includes.

    A. Cargo insurance which provides insurance cover in respect of loss of or damage to goods during transit by rail, road, sea or air.

    Thus cargo insurance concerns the following :
    • Export and import shipments by ocean-going vessels of all types
    • Coastal shipments by steamers, sailing vessels, mechanized boats, etc.
    • Shipments by inland vessels or country craft, and
    • Consignments by rail, road, or air and articles sent by post.

    B. Hull insurance which is concerned with the insurance of ships (hull, machinery, etc.). This is a highly technical subject and is not dealt in this module.


    1) Offer & Acceptance:
    It is a prerequisite to any contract. Similarly the goods under marine (transit) insurance will be insured after the offer is accepted by the insurance company. Example: A proposal submitted to the insurance company along with premium on 1/4/2011 but the insurance company accepted the proposal on 15/4/2011. The risk is covered from 15/4/2011 and any loss prior to this date will not be covered under marine insurance.

    2) Payment of premium:
    An owner must ensure that the premium is paid well in advance so that the risk can be covered. If the payment is made through cheque and it is dishonored then the coverage of risk will not exist. It is as per section 64VB of Insurance Act 1938- Payment of premium in advance.(Details under insurance legislation Module).

    3) Contract of Indemnity:
    Marine insurance is contract of indemnity and the insurance company is liable only to the extent of actual loss suffered. If there is no loss there is no liability even if there is operation of insured peril.

    Example: If the property under marine (transit) insurance is insured for Rs 20 lakhs and during transit it is damaged to the extent of Rs 10 lakhs then the insurance company will not pay more than Rs 10 lakhs.

    4) Utmost good faith:
    The owner of goods to be transported must disclose all the relevant information to the insurance company while insuring their goods. The marine policy shall be voidable at the option of the insurer in the event of misrepresentation, mis-description or non-disclosure of any material information. Example: The nature of goodsmust be disclosed i.e whether the goods are hazardous in nature or not, as premium rate will be higher for hazardous goods.

    5) Insurable Interest:
    The marine insurance will be valid if the person is having insurable interest at the time of loss. The insurable interest will depend upon the nature of sales contract. Example: Mr A sends the goods to Mr B on FOB( Free on Board) basis which means the insurance is to be arranged by Mr B. And if any loss arises during transit then Mr B is entitled to get the compensation from the insurance company.

    Example: Mr. A sends the goods to Mr B on CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) basis which means the insurance is to be arranged by Mr A. And if any loss arises during transit then Mr A is entitled to get the compensation from the insurance company.

    6) Contribution:
    If a person insures his goods with two insurance companies, then in case of marine loss both the insurance companies will pay the loss to the owner proportionately.

    Example: Goods worth Rs. 50 lakhs were insured for marine insurance with Insurance company A and B. In case of loss, both the insurance companies will contribute equally.

    7) Period of marine Insurance:
    The period of insurance in the policy is for the normal time taken for a particular transit. Generally the period of open marine insurance will not exceed one year. It can also be issued for the single transit and for specific period but not for more than a year.

    8) Deliberate Act:
    If goods are damaged or loss occurs during transit because of deliberate act of an owner then that damage or loss will not be covered under the policy.

    9) Claims:
    To get the compensation under marine insurance the owner must inform the insurance company immediately so that the insurance company can take necessary steps to determine the loss.
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