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Cargo Legal Liability Insurance

Dec 03, 2018

While I am not an insurance expert or an attorney lots of customers ask me insurance questions. The primary response I have is learn what and how much your insurance covers, understand the fine print. Then talk with your carriers to understand their insurance and limitations…yes I said limitations.

Rule #1: Insure your inventory while in transit or while being warehoused at a 3rd party location.

Repeating above…. Insure your product. There is no single rule or amount of coverage a carrier must have on the “Cargo” or “Reefer Breakdown” policy. Many customers just assume that when their product is transported and if damaged they will be reimbursed by the carrier at full retail price…. Sorry that’s not going to happen.


  • Most less than truck load carriers will only reimburse by the pound if they are found legally liable. Typically you will be paid $.10 per pound for damaged product that you can prove they damaged in negligence…$3.60 for that case of wine or $201.60 for the whole pallet of wine.
  • Many truck load carriers may have $75,000 – $100,000 for the “truck load.” If multiple customers products are on the truck, then those funds would be allocated.


  • If you are concerned about temperature while shipping your products make sure the carrier has a reefer and has a “Reefer Breakdown” policy. If you put your wine on an dry van carrier, no temperature controls in place…..thus you are taking all of the risk.
  • Spring Ride vs Air Ride trailers…. I have seen lot’s of damaged bottles and labels over the years because of scuffing. Spring Ride suspension trailers don’t absorb the road conditions like air ride suspensions. Carriers don’t pay for scuffing damage.
  • Use a little more shrink-wrap and wrap it tight. Keep wine to a maximum of (4) layers high to provide stability.
  • Obtain an Insurance Certificate on an annual basis or prior to using a new carrier so you know the carriers coverage.
  • You the shipper are federally responsible to check the safety record of any carrier you hire. You can not pass off the requirement to a freight broker… the liability resides with the one arranging for transportation.

Summary… know your insurance amounts and read the carrier contract plus terms and conditions document you may or may not have signed with your carrier or freight broker.

Always happy to help answer any questions you may have.