Goods in transit insurance

Get your stock where it needs to go with goods in transit cover

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 08 August 2023  | 4 mins read
Reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

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Find out more about goods in transit insurance, and the levels of cover your business might need for the stock you transport.

What is goods in transit insurance?

Goods in transit insurance covers items while they’re being delivered from one place to another.

It covers the goods you carry against theft, loss or any damage that might happen in an accident or that’s caused by the transit process.

Goods in transit insurance is useful for companies and individuals that deliver goods like packages and parcels to customers. It could even cover moving cargo, like motor vehicles to showrooms. Couriers, hauliers and furniture removal companies should also have a goods in transit insurance policy in place, too.

It’s also useful for businesses that regularly move items or stock from one company site to another and for moving premises.

Do you need goods in transit insurance?

Goods in transit insurance can be bought as part of a specialist business insurance policy, or it could come under public liability insurance.

Standard vehicle insurance - such as van or car insurance - usually won't cover you for the items you're carrying unless they're personal belongings.

Goods in transit insurance is there to cover your business needs, especially if you regularly transport items.

Before taking out cover, check the terms and conditions of any policy you already have to make sure your goods in transit aren't already covered.

Doubling up on insurance, unintentionally or not, can make claiming more difficult and is an unnecessary expense.

Is goods in transit insurance required by law?

It’s not a legal requirement to have goods in transit insurance if you deliver things. But without it, you could be held legally liable to pay out for any loss, theft of, or damage to the items you’re transporting. Leaving you seriously out of pocket.

Many companies will only work with couriers, delivery drivers and carriers who have goods in transit cover in place. You may need to provide proof that you have this cover before you start working for them.

What kind of business would benefit from goods in transit insurance?

This type of insurance is important for any business that transports goods from one place to another for payment. And for companies that regularly move their own goods.

This includes courier companies, home removal services and haulage specialists. Plus, businesses that deliver their own goods to customers. And tradespeople like builders and kitchen and bathroom fitters that pick up and transport items as part of their working day. Even food delivery drivers may want to consider it.

What does goods in transit insurance cover?

You could be covered for:

  • Theft of goods from your delivery vehicle.
  • Lost items.
  • Damaged items - for example, goods damaged because of a crash.
  • Accidental damage to goods that happens in the transit process.
  • Items delayed or not delivered correctly.
  • Handheld scanners used in the delivery process.
  • Public liability cover - Pays towards damages and costs if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property in the course of your business.
  • Employers’ liability cover – A legal requirement if your business has one or more employees.

If not included, public liability and employers’ liability cover may be available as an add-on to your policy.

What doesn’t goods in transit insurance cover?

Policies differ but in general the following will be excluded:

  • Damage that happens because of defective or inadequate packaging and packing.
  • Theft or loss when a vehicle is left open or unattended, unless all doors, windows and other openings are securely locked and all keys removed.
  • Damage that’s the result of dangerous driving.
  • Any damage to the vehicle. This is covered by your vehicle’s main insurance policy.
  • Damage that occurs before or after transportation of the goods, other than loading and unloading items.

Many policies also restrict what you can carry so you may need specialist goods in transit cover or an add-on to transport these types of items:

  • High-risk goods. Things like precious metals and stones, cash, gold bullion or fine art.
  • Hazardous goods like flammable liquids.
  • Perishable goods where a delay in delivery would make them unsaleable.
  • Livestock – Specialist insurance will provide cover for loss or injury of the animals during transportation.
  • Furniture - you may need a specialist furniture goods in transit cover for house removals.
  • Tools - These aren’t usually covered by a goods in transit policy. But you can buy separate tool cover which would suit tradespeople like plumbers, painters and decorators and builders.

What kind of vehicle do you have?

The type of vehicle you drive could affect the type of goods in transit cover you need.

If you transport your own goods in a van, you might only need individual goods in transit cover.

But if you run a courier or haulage company you’ll probably need specialist insurance, which would provide a level of cover appropriate for transporting other people's goods.

Levels of cover

Think carefully about the level of cover you need. Choose one that suits the size of your vehicle and the value of the goods you regularly transport. Some policies will have a limit per load, too.

Be sure to calculate the level of cover you need accurately so you’re not under or overinsured.

Basic goods in transit cover will cover the transportation of things like parcels, packages and letters, as well as things like building supplies. If you’re carrying a few items that cost over the maximum set amount stated in your policy, you can list them separately to make sure they’re covered.

Particularly valuable and high-risk items are often excluded from standard policies. You’ll need to buy an extension or a specialist policy to make sure they’re adequately covered.

Frequently asked questions

A courier motor insurance policy protects the driver and their vehicle. Goods in transit only covers the goods and products, parcels and packages being delivered against theft, loss or damage while in the vehicle.

Courier insurance differs from standard motor and commercial insurance policies. It particularly covers the driver and van for the carriage of goods for hire and reward. You must have this type of cover in place to be legally covered to drive your vehicle for the purpose of delivering goods.

Yes, there are policies that can cover transporting goods within Europe and further afield.

If you’re shipping goods by sea, you can get a marine cargo goods in transit policy which will cover against loss, damage or theft for the duration of the journey (on road and sea) from the UK to its destination.

It depends on the policy. It may cover goods left in a vehicle overnight, if the vehicle is locked and parked somewhere safe like an attended, secure lorry park or locked building or compound. Be sure to check policy documents for their terms and conditions.

Generally, the policy will cover you while in the process of loading and unloading goods on and off the vehicle.

You usually need to pay for an extension to a goods in transit policy to be covered for refrigerated goods. It covers the deterioration of frozen or refrigerated goods, provided the refrigeration equipment is well maintained and used according to the manufacturers’ instructions and recommendations.

Cover for livestock would usually need to be added to a goods in transit policy or a specialist policy taken out. It will pay out for the theft, death, loss of or injury to animals while being transported.

Public liability insurance is sometimes included as part of a goods in transit policy. Or you can usually buy it as an added extra. It pays towards damages and costs if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property while working and they decide to sue you.

It’s not a legal requirement. But it does offer valuable protection.

Haulage insurance is for vehicles, including lorries and HGVs over 3.5 tonnes, that carry large loads over long distances, to make a single end delivery. Unlike couriers and delivery drivers who make multiple drop-offs on their delivery routes.

Haulage insurance covers the vehicle, whereas goods in transit insurance covers the items being transported. To cover both, you can add on goods in transit cover to your haulage insurance policy.

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