What Is a Warehouse-to-Warehouse Clause?

A warehouse-to-warehouse clause is a provision in an insurance policy that provides for coverage of cargo in transit from one warehouse to another. A warehouse-to-warehouse clause usually covers cargo from the moment it leaves the origin warehouse until the moment it arrives at the destination warehouse. Separate coverage is necessary to insure goods before and after the transit process.

Key Takeaways

  • A warehouse-to-warehouse clause is a provision found in an insurance policy, usually associated with commercial insurance.
  • Warehouse-to-warehouse clauses protect from the risk of loss that may be incurred from theft or damage to goods while shipped from one warehouse to another.
  • Large manufacturers will typically pay for the commercial insurance coverage that includes warehouse-to-warehouse clauses.

Warehouse-to-Warehouse Clause Explained

A warehouse-to-warehouse clause is a provision most commonly found in commercial insurance policies that seeks to cover the risks of shipping. There can be several types of insurance policies available for shipping all kinds of goods from one destination to another. In some cases, automatic insurance may be included or offered for an additional cost. This is common with retail shipping. For commercial shipping, automatic insurance may or may not be included and if it is included may not necessarily be sufficient.

Commercial businesses may pay for one-time coverage or have an open policy that covers all shipments over a specified period of time. When shipping is involved, commercial business partners will typically have standards for insurance coverage ownership. In some cases, sellers may take responsibility for insurance coverage. In other scenarios, the buyer may be responsible for any damages. Moreover, insurance coverages are usually segmented by location, such as warehouse, warehouse-to-warehouse, and destination. The warehouse-to-warehouse clause in an insurance coverage policy generally provides for coverage if damages occur in transit from a storage warehouse to a destination warehouse but not necessarily for storage or destination warehouses, which may need to be covered under different clauses or protection plans.

In a commercial shipping insurance policy, the insured pays a premium for the security of repayment coverage for any damages incurred. The warehouse-to-warehouse clause assures a policyholder against any risks of loss for damaged goods that may be incurred through transit processing. Goods will either arrive safely or be paid for if lost or damaged in transit. The insured pays a small premium for the policy in comparison to the actual costs of goods shipped.

Real World Example

Commercial insurance for the transportation of goods can be an important component of any supply chain department managing the distribution of their own manufactured goods. In large business distribution, sellers will often take the responsibility for shipping costs and insurance. This is where warehouse-to-warehouse clauses may be important, since the seller may only be providing insurance coverage for this transit period.

Consider the case of a tire manufacturing company. The company manufactures and produces tires in China that are distributed to businesses all over the world. The tire company would likely partner with an insurer to provide commercial insurance coverage for the tires while they are in transit to the company’s many different buyers. With an insurance policy that includes a warehouse-to-warehouse clause, the tire company would pay a premium to insure the cost of any loss or damage that occurs from the time a tire leaves the manufacturer’s warehouse until the time it arrives at the buyer’s warehouse. This may include being transported on a truck from the manufacturer to a port, then by boat from a port to another port, and finally transportation via train to a buyer’s warehouse.

History of Warehouse-to-Warehouse Clause

The warehouse-to-warehouse clause was introduced in the late 19th century to cover land transport. At the time, there was no time limit on sea passage, nor on the journey to the loading port. In order to encourage the cargo owner to take delivery of the goods quickly, a time limit was imposed after discharge. During the Second World War initial time limits were found to be impractical and later extended to 60 days. These initial policies and procedures associated with early supply chain management were then further developed and more heavily integrated by insurance companies in broader offerings for commercial cargo insurance.

In the commercial insurance industry, a standardized set of terms has been developed to help provide the framework for commercial insurance policies involving the insurance of goods through land and water transportation. One grouping of standardized terms can be known as Institute Cargo Clauses. Institute Cargo Clauses are typically segmented by classes of A, B, or C. In general, standardized terms and Institute Cargo Clauses help to provide uniformity for details applicable to insurance policies.

Typically details associated with any warehouse-to-warehouse clauses will include requirements tied to insurance attached from the time goods leave a specified warehouse until a specified termination such as:

  • delivery to client, final warehouse, or place of storage at a specified destination
  • delivery to an alternative or secondary warehouse or place of storage as designated or specified
  • 60 days after completion of shipment which can cover the holding of goods deemed undeliverable at a specified location(s)