Be prepared! The basics when insuring cargo

You wouldn’t go on holiday without insurance … this principle should be the same when transporting goods overseas.

While freight forwarders do have their own insurance, this is a limited liability insurance. At Johnson Partners we operate under BIFA 2005 Standard Trading Conditions. Crucially, in the event of loss or damage to cargo, compensation is based on weight – which roughly works out at around £1870 per tonne*

We therefore recommend you take out an all-risks insurance policy when transporting goods to ensure your payout is relative to the value of the cargo … should the worst happen.

Our top tips to avoid an invalid claim:


One of the first things a surveyor will look at after a claim is made is whether the cargo was appropriately packed for transport. If it is deemed that packaging did not take into account the stresses and strains of being moved on the high seas, insurers may reject the claim. So make sure cargo is packed safely and securely.


We would strongly recommend that if you suspect your shipment is damaged – even if it’s only superficial damage to the outside packaging – you record the damage on the Proof of Delivery document and take photos of the damage to send to the insurer. Avoid unpacking the cargo as this could delay or invalidate a claim. Instead wait for the green light from your insurer before you proceed.


There are often time limits for notifying insurers after damage or loss of cargo, after which it can be very difficult or impossible to make a claim. It’s usually within 7 days of the damage or loss but it’s important to check your trading conditions.

Johnson Partners can help with all aspects of freight forwarding. Call a member of the team on 01642 240123 for more information.

*a rate of 2 SDR per kg (IMF Special Drawing Rights rate as of November 14, 2014)