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Insurance for International Shipping

You have probably put a lot of time into preparing for your international relocation. If you are already deep into preparations for your move, the relocation specialist and logistics teams at SDC International Shipping have probably already been in contact with you several times. By now, you know that you need to make a decision about insurance for international shipping.

There are several options for insurance coverage offered by SDC. Which one will best meet your family’s needs for their overseas shipment? What must you know about these different international moving insurance options? We will try to clarify that in this document. We hope that it will help you make the best relocation insurance decision. You’d be forgiven for thinking that insurance should be superfluous. Aren’t you paying enough already to ship your belongings to another country, why isn’t insurance included?

The modern international shipping industry is technologically advanced and highly automated. Ports are being deepened around the world to accommodate even larger ships.

Often stacked as much as 20 containers high on the ship’s deck, the biggest ships can carry 35,000 shipping containers at any one time. These amazing ships can load and unload containers, completely rearranging them for discharge at the next port and then travel there all in the same day. Robots do everything on board, and the largest ships have only a skeleton crew. You would naturally expect that nothing could go wrong.

Undoubtedly, you have had experience with something going wrong like packages that are lost in the mail, your luggage not waiting for you when you get off the plane It is not a common occurrence, but containers do get lost.

Entire stacks of containers have fallen into the sea at times. Unionized dockworkers might intentionally “lose” containers as part of a labor action in some countries renown for perpetual labor problems. Mechanical problems or technical failures can lead to large numbers of containers or their contents being damaged.

You would think that the shipping companies themselves would be insured against loss.

They aren’t. Unfortunately, the recourse for the small client is very limited, limited to only a few hundred dollars. The owner of the contents of one of the hundreds of containers damaged at a time has little remedy without a private insurance policy. 

For any insurance program, including a detailed list of the insured items is absolutely necessary. When SDC International Shipping’s movers load your shipment, an inventory list will be made for you. This list is critical for customs clearance and needs to be accurate. However, it is not necessarily suitable for insurance purposes.

For that, you will need to give a detailed list of items to be insured. Particularly valuable items included in your list should be accompanied by either a sales receipt or an estimator’s valuation.

You don’t necessarily want to insure your entire shipment, this is entirely at your discretion, but note that under insurance might mean that you are underinsured in the event of a total loss.

Total Loss Insurance

Insurance against damage to your cargo and insurance against total loss are the two main types of insurance for international shipping available.

As its name states, total loss coverage will keep completely insure your entire shipment if it is destroyed or lost. For instance, you would be covered for the declared value of your belongings if a stack of containers collapses and yours is destroyed. 

Total loss insurance typically costs less than insuring your shipment against any risks. The policy usually covers either the entire loss or nothing at all.

All Risk Cargo Insurance

When all risk cargo insurance is purchased, you are covered for not only total loss but also for damages to a portion of your shipment. SDC International Shipping will go to great lengths to make sure that your cargo arrives undamaged across the ocean.

As much as we would like, this can’t be promised. Your personal belongings are handled several times regardless of whether you are sending a private container or are sending a less than full container load (LCL) sending through a consolidation service or using SDC’s groupage consolidations. 

There are countries where they require your container to be unloaded and transferred to moving vans for final delivery, even if you send a private container.

In addition, 5% of all shipping containers are subject to manual inspection. While this inspection is mostly random, it sometimes can be triggered by improper paperwork or the inclusion of suspicious items on the shipping inventory. This will cause your cargo to be handled extra times – each one is an extra occasion for something to go wrong.

Other things that could cause extra handling steps are storage and when small vans are used in locations where moving trucks have difficult access. 

When you purchase total loss insurance, your entire shipment is either covered, or none of it is. When one or two items in your shipment are damaged, or a box or two goes missing, these will be covered using all-risk goes cargo insurance, but not with only a total loss policy.

In order to purchase all-risk cargo insurance, you will have to have SDC International Shipping’s professionals pack and load your shipment. You will have to let us do the preparations if you want your shipment protected against damage. You can always purchase a total loss insurance policy if you have decided that you prefer to pack your shipment by yourself.

You should also ensure automobiles, motorcycles and other licensed vehicles that you ship overseas. Your vehicle may be shipped using a variety of methods. SDC’s relocation specialists work with you to figure out the most effective method for you. Sending a vehicle in your shipping container is very popular. In this case, just like any other valuables shipped, it has to be secured in the container by moving professionals. This should not be a problem as placing a car requires a special lift to get the car into the container in any case. 

Sometimes our clients will send just a car. Full-sized pickup trucks, RVs, and even boats that are sent on their trailers are also commonly sent. These are sent using a method known as RO-RO, or roll on roll off. A vehicle sent using this method be insured separately from the remainder of a shipment.

International Moving Insurance Policies

The international shipping insurance policy that you get must be a truly international policy. SDC International Shipping arranges policies from special providers of marine cargo insurance.

With this policy, you can be reimbursed for the value of damaged or lost items at the destination when you insure it for the replacement cost. This is not typical of insurance policies that you are accustomed to. You can buy an insurance policy for your car that will replace your current model, not a new one.

If you are sending a six-month-old Honda Civic Hybrid to France, you will want to insure it for the replacement cost in France, not the cost in California. Try to keep in mind that many things in foreign countries will cost more than they do in the United States when you fill in your insurance forms, it is one of the reasons why you have chosen to make an international shipment.

Only internationally competent firms work with SDC International Shipping. You will have to be extremely careful if you get quotes for insurance for international shipping from websites. Expect policies that won’t cover you properly from them.

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