Insurance & Risk Management

Cargo Insurance -FAQs

How do I obtain insurance for goods being shipped?

When you ship via WHOI’s Distribution department on a shipping request, your shipment is insured for the declared value per shipment with a limit of $6,000,000 any one cargo vessel, aircraft or truck under a bill of lading or airway bill. The requestor will need to provide, on the shipping request, a complete equipment list of items, valuations, and itinerary in advance of the shipment. Please note that if you are going to hand-carry equipment, this will also need to be specified on a shipping request, prior to shipment, to obtain coverage. There is a separate limit of $100,000 for hand carried equipment. If your shipment valuation exceeds the insurance policy limits, you can request additional limits for additional premium; please contact the Risk Management Coordinator  for assistance. Additional premium will need to be charged to your project or paid for by your department if it is unallowable by the project.

What if I am arranging the shipment of goods without the assistance of the Distribution department? Am I still covered by WHOI insurance?

If you choose to ship goods and arrange for the shipment yourself, you can still get insurance through the Distribution department via a shipping request. If you want insurance for a shipment you are arranging yourself, submit a shipping request through WHOI Distribution. Enter values for the shipment and in the comment box type "for insurance purposes only". You are strongly encouraged to use the services of the Distribution Department not only for insurance, but for expediting claims. All shipments must be processed via a Shipping Request. WHOI cannot field a claim for insurance that you have obtained independently.

Will I have insurance if I am shipping equipment out of the country?

The Institution maintains transportation insurance for shipments transported by any mode of transportation within the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and for shipments exported to foreign countries throughout the world. Excluded areas are in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Indonesia/Malaysia, Middle East, Phillipines, South America, Sulu Archipelago, and Gulf of Aden. For details contact the Risk Management Coordinator or the Distribution department. Coverage is triggered when the WHOI Investigator making the shipment provides the Distribution department with a list of items to be shipped along with the value of each item to be shipped. You must provide this information before making the shipment because transportation insurance coverage is not automatic.

What if my equipment will be stored in a warehouse during the expedition?

Cargo insurance obtained through a shipping request remains in effect while the shipment is under a bill of lading or controlled by a freight forwarder or ship's agent. Warehousing is covered for 30 days if the shipment is waiting to continue under the bill of lading; for 15 days if it has reached its destination. If your warehouse situation calls for a longer stay, you will need to arrange for extra coverage. The rate for this coverage will be determined by the warehouse location and the length of the stay.  You will need to provide a description of the warehouse environment eg: location, security provisions and fire prevention measures. Please notify the Risk Management Coordinator of any such warehousing situations and to obtain a quote for extra insurance. Any extra insurance will have to be charged to your project or cost center.

Does equipment have to be shipped using a specific carrier?

When you ship through Distribution, you are insured up to the $6,000,000 limit regardless of whether it is shipped via air freight or commercial trucking company, and a limit of $50,000 when using Mail-parcel post.

What does this cargo insurance cost?

The cost of transportation insurance for all shipments valued within policy limits is included in the Institution's overhead rates. The cost to the Institution annually is about $113,000. These insurance costs are not assigned to individual projects. If the value of your shipment exceeds the policy limits, yoiu may want to arrange for a higher limit at additional cost. This additional cost will need to be borne by your project or department.

Is there a deductible applied if I have to make a claim under cargo insurance?

A deductible of $2,500 will apply to each loss except a $10,000 deductible for hand carried items and $500 for laptops.

Do I have to put in the claim right away?

It is very important that you notify the Risk Management Coordinator  as soon as possible when you have a claim. Loss or damages for shipping claims must be reported within 30 days and the claim must be submitted immediately to the carrier. A fax or email to the Risk Management Coordinator (if you're in the field) will enable us to notify the carrier and the insurance company of your loss. Fax number is 508-457-2173

How do I substantiate my claim?

All claims must be substantiated by a copy of the delivery freight bill, the delivery receipt, an invoice stating the value of the item, and pictures of the damaged item(s). If you are using an agent, ask them for a copy of the delivery receipt. Often, if goods have been damaged in transit, the receiver will mark the goods damaged at the time of delivery. This will facilitate determination of who is responsible for the damage when the claim is filed with the insurance carrier. Always save the shipping container.  If you have sent the goods to a work site outside of WHOI, it is important that someone contact the Risk Management Coordinator as soon as possible to report the loss or damage.  Domestically, a surveyor may be sent out to inspect the item within a few days if the loss is significant.  Do not send the damaged shipment off to be repaired or disposed of until you get clearance to do so. Your claim will be in jeopardy if a suveyor is not able to inspect the loss. If overseas, notify the Risk Management Coordinator by email, fax or telephone of the loss.  Bring home with you the item, box, delivery receipt, and any other relevant information.  We can deal with it better here than we can overseas.

What if I decide to transport my equipment in my own vehicle, is there any insurance?

WHOI employees have coverage for transporting equipment with a limit of $100,000. You still must complete a shipping request to obtain coverage. On the shipping request enter the value of the equipment and for the requested carrier select "hand carry".

What if I decide to rent a truck to carry my equipment? Is it still insured?

The limit of coverage for equipment in a land conveyance owned leased or operated by a WHOI employee is $100,000.  Use the WHOI Distribution department's online shipping request to obtain this insurance by entering values on the shipping request and for the requested carrier select "hand carry". Please contact the Travel Coordinator, and see the travel office web for information concerning insuring a rented vehicle (or see information on the automobile insurance page).

Does the cargo insurance also cover shipping my laptop computer via commercial carrier?

Laptop computers are covered during shipment for up to $10,000 per laptop and components with a deductible of $500. The laptop must appear on the shipping manifest or bill of lading.

What if my laptop is stolen or damaged in the field?

This is automatically covered under WHOI’s Cargo Policy, again up to a maximum value of $10,000 and subject to a deductible $500.  If a loss in the field occurs, you should report it immediately to the Risk Management Coordinator.  

Last updated: November 7, 2014