What Is Bridge Insurance?

The term bridge insurance refers to a form of insurance that covers damage and destruction to a bridge in the event of a fire, flood, explosion, or another natural event. These policies generally don't cover damage due to war, built-in defects, or natural wear and tear. Bridge insurance policies are taken out by government agencies and contracting companies.

Key Takeaways

  • Bridge insurance covers damage to a bridge due to fire, flood, and explosions.
  • Many government entities and contractors who build bridges take out bridge insurance policies.
  • Bridge insurers work closely with construction and maintenance firms on various issues.
  • Large projects may involve a group of insurers and reinsurers who band together to spread the risk around.

Understanding Bridge Insurance

Some of the largest construction projects ever completed in human history have been bridge-building projects. For example, the replacement of New York's 3.1-mile Tappan Zee Bridge cost $3.98 billion and is one of the largest single design-build contracts for a transportation project in the United States.

Thousands of smaller bridges are built or rebuilt annually, and many have bridge insurance. When things go wrong the consequences can be large. In March 2018, a pedestrian bridge under construction at Florida International University collapsed, killing six people. The bridge was built offsite and set in place when the collapse occurred.

This is why federal, state, and local governments often take out bridge insurance policies, which are also called bridge contractors insurance policies. This type of coverage is also common among the contractors who are tasked with building these structures. Bridge building is a high-risk endeavor with many lives and massive amounts of property at stake during and after the construction of the bridge.

Special Considerations

As mentioned above, bridge insurance covers a series of events, such as fire, floods, or explosions. But insurers for these policies can be hard to find, primarily because of the risks and complexities involved. According to Travelers, one in nine bridges in the United States is unsound and more than 30% are just too old.

Insuring a bridge can be difficult because of the amount of clean up and restoration involved, not to mention the damage that results from a structure's failure and/or collapse. Government agencies and construction companies also face additional liability from injuries and damage to property. It's not just a case of buying a policy and starting work. Bridge insurers work closely with construction and maintenance firms on various issues. Large projects often involve several insurers and reinsurers who band together to spread the risk around.

Smaller projects may be insured by a single company while larger ones may involve multiple insurers and reinsurers who spread the risk.

Bridge Insurance vs. Bridge Plan

Bridge insurance is often confused with bridge plans. While both are types of insurance, they provide different forms of coverage to the insured parties. Bridge insurance covers issues associated with the construction and maintenance of an actual bridge. But a bridge plan is a health insurance plan intended for people between 60 and 95 . These individuals can purchase bridge plans while they wait to be accepted into the Medicare program, including permanent residents and Green Card holders. These plans cover doctor visits, hospitalization, and other types of medical care.