A lot of people don’t purchase freight insurance because they think it’s unnecessary: their cargo is indestructible, it’s not attractive to thieves, or it’s not valuable enough to warrant the protection offered by insurance.
But… Insuring your shipment is always advised. Even if your goods aren’t worth a great deal, without insurance, you could get dinged with a significant charge if a General Average claim is made on the ship your cargo travelled on.
What is a General Average claim?
General Average is a legal principle of maritime law that dates back to ancient times (around 500BC!). According to this law, if a ship or its cargo sustains loss or damage as a result of a voluntary sacrifice in an emergency, the vessel owner and cargo owners proportionally share the cost of those losses.
This law would be invoked, for example, if the ship is caught in a major storm or runs aground, and some of the cargo must be jettisoned to avert imminent peril.
Once the ship has landed, the law of General Average requires each party whose cargo landed safely to contribute a portion, based upon their share of the cargo, to the party (or parties) whose goods had been sacrificed.
So, if your cargo happens to travel on a ship that has a General Average declared – and this happens more often than you may expect – you’ll be required to make a contribution in order to have your cargo released. This can come as a surprise and can be a significant expense for your company.
The good news is that, with the right insurance, you won’t be on the hook if a General Average is declared on a ship carrying your goods. The savings and peace of mind this offers – for a relatively low cost layout – make purchasing cargo insurance a smart business decision.
Cole’s insurance offerings include cargo insurance policies that cover all your bases – including declarations of General Average. For detailed information, contact your Logistics Coordinator. For more general information, contact us today to discuss your shipping needs.
Information provided by: Freight Dept. - Cole International