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Installation Floaters

What is an installation floater?

Get a quote on Inland Marine Insurance

If you are in the middle of a project and have materials in transit, not yet installed, or in mid-installation, you may be facing a significant gap in insurance coverage. That’s because most commercial property policies don’t address items that are moved off of your business’s property or on their way from your site to their ultimate destination. An Installation Floater covers materials and products from the moment they are loaded on a truck up until they are installed for use.

What is an Installation Floater?

An Installation Floater is a type of inland marine insurance that covers your materials, supplies, equipment, fixtures, machinery, and other business property while it is in the process of being installed.

Whether your property is being stored, is in transit to a client’s site, or is in the middle of being installed, an Installation Floater will protect it—and you—from loss. Essentially, your property will be covered from the moment it leaves your business premises until the project is complete and the installation has been accepted by your client.


Installation Floaters serve to fill a gap in property coverage left by standard commercial property policies, which typically only provide coverage for your property when it is on your business premises. For contractors, this gap in coverage can prove to be costly, as much of their work is done on various job sites, meaning any property they are transporting or installing could be damaged before the project is done.

What does an Installation Floater cover?

An Installation Floater covers your business property while it is in the process of being installed. Situations in which your property would be covered include:

Installation Floaters are typically written as all-risk or open perils policies, meaning unless specifically excluded in the policy, all hazards are covered.

What are the key exclusions of an Installation Floater?

It’s important to keep in mind that exclusions will vary by insurer and by policy, so make sure to check your insuring agreement carefully. Additionally, some exclusions can be addressed by additional endorsements if your business needs specific coverage.

Commonly excluded property include:

Commonly excluded perils include:


How much does an Installation Floater cost?

The cost of an Installation Floater, a type of inland marine insurance, is highly dependent upon the value of the property being covered and the specific project. Broadly speaking, the average cost of inland marine insurance is $736 per year to cover $100,000 worth of property, with a $1,000 deductible. This is a cost of $0.736 per $100 of property covered. Many inland marine policies also have minimum premiums of $100 or $250.

Note that the cost of coverage varies widely depending upon the business and use of the property. For example, a builder’s risk policy may have premiums as low as $0.22 per $100, while a contractor’s small tools policy may charge premiums as high as $3.00 per $100.

Pricing is heavily dependent upon a number of factors, including:

In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer inland marine insurance:

ProviderInland Marine InsuranceCommercial PropertyBusiness Owner's Policy

What is the difference between an Installation Floater and builder’s risk?

Like a builder’s risk policy, an Installation Floater is a type of inland marine insurance; however, there are several differences between the two. These include:

When evaluating the differences between a builder’s risk policy and an Installation Floater, remember that your work as a contractor may not be covered under the former. Commonly, builder’s risk policies exclude high-value equipment and materials.

Even in the case that a contractor’s work is covered by an owner’s builder’s risk policy, the contractor would not be provided first-party coverage, and it is likely that the contractor would be held responsible to pay part of the deductible in the event of a claim. Installation Floater policies offer first-party coverage so that in the case of a loss, a contractor can receive payment from his or her own insurance agency directly, rather than going through the owner’s insurance company. This could prove a true time-saver since there is no reimbursement lag—and thus no problems with cash flow.


Is an Installation Floater the same as an equipment floater?

An equipment floater does not provide the same coverage as an Installation Floater. While an Installation Floater is meant to cover property that is in the process of being installed, an equipment floater provides coverage for tools, machinery, and other equipment that moves from place to place.

For contractors, this commonly means the equipment that is being used for construction that moves from job site to job site, including backhoes, trenchers, mixers, and other mobile equipment.


How do I file a claim under an Installation Floater?

If you are an insured contractor who needs to file under an installation policy, be prepared to do the following:

It’s essential that you contact your insurer immediately after the loss as there is often a deadline. Dragging your feet may mean you will have trouble getting reimbursed—or run the risk of not getting reimbursed at all.

Final Word

If you are a licensed contractor or subcontractor with materials, supplies, or equipment in transit or waiting to be installed, you should consider putting an Installation Floater in place to make sure that your property is protected. Builder’s risk policies won’t necessarily cover the specific materials or equipment you’ll need for your job, so it’s crucial to ensure that you have coverage in force in the event of a loss.

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