Damaging weather conditions, rough handling by carriers, and other common hazards to cargo make insurance an important protection for U.S. exporters. If the terms of sale make the exporter responsible for insurance, the exporter should either obtain its own policy or insure the cargo under a freight forwarder's policy for a fee. If the terms of sale make the foreign buyer responsible, the exporter should not assume (or even take the buyer's word) that adequate insurance has been obtained. If the buyer neglects to obtain adequate coverage, damage to the cargo may cause a major financial loss to the exporter.
Shipments by sea are covered by marine cargo insurance (see a sample).
Air shipments may also be covered by marine cargo insurance or insurance may be purchased from the air carrier.
Export shipments are usually insured against loss, damage, and delay in transit by cargo insurance. Carrier liability is frequently limited by international agreements. Additionally, the coverage is substantially different from domestic coverage. Arrangements for insurance may be made by either the buyer or the seller, in accordance with the terms of sale. Exporters are advised to consult with international insurance carriers or freight forwarders for more information.
Although sellers and buyers can agree to different components, coverage is usually placed at 110 percent of the CIF (cost, insurance, freight) or CIP (carriage and insurance paid to) value
Insuring Export Transactions and Mitigating Risk
Risk in today's global marketplace can take many forms and is a very real factor in business and investor decision making. Managing the risk associated with foreign transactions and investments can be paramount to the ultimate success or failure of any international activity. To help, the U.S. Government offers several programs to help mitigate these risks. This link takes you to the International Finance Section of the site.