4 Ways Cargo Insurance Can Help Your Small Ecommerce Business

SMBs are more international than ever and use cargo shipping solutions to deliver their goods worldwide. However, many SMB owners make the mistake of assuming that cargo insurance comes packaged with freight shipping options – but that is not the case.

Cargo insurance is an additional expense that can potentially make or break your company. Some SMBs take a risk by skipping insurance, believing the costs they save by not spending on it are worth it.

This is a short-term view. Here are 4 risks cargo insurance protects SMBs from.

Protects against loss and damage

International shipping is a risky business. While the number of maritime or air accidents is low, goods often experience rough handling and adverse conditions in transit. As a result, damage often occurs. While some goods can withstand such damage, most goods experience some form of adverse impact and stop functioning, which can be detrimental to SMBs that invest hard money in selling such products.

Aside from rough handling, goods in transit are exposed to a wide range of risks. Adverse weather conditions are one example. Goods shipped from warmer parts of the world to colder ones experience a wide range of temperature changes and can get damaged.

The costs of buying insurance to protect goods are far lower than the costs of packaging them in a way to insulate them from such conditions. Even if such packaging is cost-effective, it does not protect goods from fire, floods, or other natural disasters.

In short, the longer the goods’ transit times, the more risks they’re exposed to, increasing the need for cargo insurance.

Ensures shipping compliance

If you’re shipping goods to certain parts of the world, like the EU, shipping insurance is mandatory. Some SMB owners skimp and purchase the cheapest insurance. While some insurance is better than none, this cost-first approach is taking a short-term view of risk.

Buying insurance ensures your goods are compliant with your destination’s laws in some cases. However, the quality of insurance matters, too. Sensitive materials like medical products or food need special insurance to ensure safety.

However, purchasing insurance even for generic products is a good idea since it protects you from financial loss. Cargo insurance is a margin of safety in your business: you might be tempted to view it as an expense, but once disaster strikes, you’ll view it as an asset.

Fosters optimal customer experiences

Your customers’ experiences are paramount to your business. Deliver a poor experience and they’re likely to shop elsewhere. These days, with competition from big platforms and alternatives online, offering great CX is a major differentiator in business.

Shipping insurance isn’t the first factor you would think of when figuring out great CX. However, it contributes immensely to it. Insurance helps you protect the quality of your goods and ensures you have the money to replace damaged ones quickly.

Contrast this to a situation where you won’t have cargo insurance. You’ll lack the resources to replace the product or eat into your margins considerably and spend fruitless time chasing your logistics provider for compensation. This time sink takes you away from other productive activities you could be spending your time on.

In some cases, cargo insurance is a mark of professionalism. If you’re wholesaling goods, including insurance details is a mark of a serious business. Your retailer customers will expect protection and a high quality of goods. Without insurance, you cannot deliver these expectations, leading to a loss of brand image.

Helps SMBs understand shipping risks

One of the misconceptions about cargo insurance is that it is extremely expensive. However, the truth is you can customize your coverage to suit your needs. In the process, you understand the real risks that affect your business when goods are in transit.

For example, you might find that shipping by air is expensive but incurs fewer risks than shipping by ocean, or vice-versa. A lot depends on your goods’ destination. You can customize your insurance coverage to suit your unique needs, learning more about goods’ destinations in the process.

One additional benefit of purchasing and customizing insurance like this is that you can create alternative shipping routes. For instance, if shipping directly to a destination is too expensive (as indicated by insurance rates,) you can create an alternative destination and shipping route.

The result is more flexibility in your business and better service for your customers.

Protects SMBs from unforeseen circumstances

Most insurance covers you from events that might happen such as fire or climate vagaries. However, cargo insurance policies also protect you from unforeseen circumstances such as accidents, geopolitical conflict, or other unexpected events.

For example, cargo insurance prevented significant losses for several international exporters when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Lockdowns and closures left cargo ships stranded outside ports, creating massive losses for merchants. However, those with insurance received compensation for this unforeseen event, minimizing disruption in their businesses.

A must-have for small ecommerce businesses

Cargo insurance is a must have in the modern business world. From protecting your goods from common shipping risks to compensating you for unforeseen ones, cargo insurance is critical to business success.