Marine Insurance

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Marine insurance policies play an important role by covering you against various losses or damages which may arise during the transportation of goods. While transporting goods, there is a free onboard term that should catch your attention as it will affect the terms & conditions of your marine insurance policies.

Free onboard or freight on board (FOB) comes under marine insurance and implies that the seller would be held responsible till all the goods are placed on the vessel as designated by the buyer. It means delivering goods as per the seller’s cost via a particular route to the destination, specified by the buyer.

In the case of marine insurance, the word ‘free’ means that the seller would have an obligation to deliver goods successfully at a named place for transfer to the carrier. In the case of marine insurance which covers international shipments, contracts that involve international transportation often contain trade terms that clearly state the details like, time and place of delivery, at what point loss would shift to the buyer from a seller, who would pay the cost of marine insurance and freight, etc.

For instance, Mr. X sends goods to Mr. Z on a FOB basis, which means that Mr. Z would be responsible for arranging insurance for Mr. X. In case any loss arises during the transit, Mr. Z would get compensation from the insurer.

Additional Read: What is Insurable Interest of different parties in Marine Insurance Policies?

Free onboard is an important term for participants who involves in global business. It is also useful in such contracts which include costly items which are vulnerable to theft and loss. The most crucial aspect of FOB is, it helps in knowing which party owns the freight while still in transit. In case the freight is lost or damaged, the marine insurance company of the owner would come forward.

There are certain variations of FOB terms about which you should be aware. In case, there is a FOB destination; the seller is responsible till the buyer receives the goods. However, in case the marine insurance specifically uses FOB origin, the buyer would become the owner by the time and place the product actually originates. It helps in making the buyer responsible for freight and damaged goods.

It’s crucial for all parties to have a clear understanding of the specifics of the FOB terms to know who would be responsible in case of unforeseen events.

Case Study: 1

A pepper dealer buys 20,000 tons of pepper from Company ABC in India to sell them at its store situated in London. The purchase contract says, “FOB destination, London, XYZ warehouse,”. It means, that Company ABC would pay the loading and shipping expenses to send 20,000 tons from its Indian factory to XYZ warehouse in London.

The pepper would become the dealer’s property in London. It means, if there would be any loss to jars like if they get lost, destroyed, or stolen on their way to London, Company ABC would still be considered responsible as it owns the goods while they are in transit.

In cases where goods are destroyed or stolen after they reach the XYZ warehouse, the buyer would be held liable.

Case Study: 2

Rajesh is a machinery seller who stays in Delhi, India. Last year, he signed a deal with a buyer located in New York. As per the deal, Rajesh has to sell goods to the buyer on a FOB basis. Here, the seller meets all the expenditures incurred in transporting the goods to Delhi port. The seller pays custom clearance expenses in Mumbai to get the goods either onboard to airlines or ship.

Here, it’s essential to note, the buyer pays the further costs associated with the goods on reaching the buyer’s place.


Additional Read: Why Do You Need Marine Insurance?

 The buyer decides the shipping company or airline, and the seller ships goods as per the recommendation of the buyer. The buyer pays the freight cost to the shipping airlines or companies. And also makes arrangements to insure the consignment and pays the insurance cost.

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