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Liability insurance

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Carriers’ liability insurance

If you are a freight forwarder, forwarding agent, furniture removal company, courier, or anyone who, in the ordinary course of your business, carries goods owned by someone else, you are liable for damage to the goods and possibly even for secondary damage resulting from your service.

Carriers’ liability insurance will protect your business from the financial effects should anything go wrong. Carriers' insurance is essential if you’re carrying goods on behalf of others.


Who needs carriers’ liability insurance?

As a carrier, you are liable for any type of damage that occurs to the goods during loading or unloading, or while it is in transit. This applies to goods carried by road, rail, sea or air within New Zealand.

Whether you operate a large national fleet, are transporting low risk or dangerous goods, a small fleet or owner driver, our brokers can help you identify the right insurance solution to safeguard your load.

What does carriers’ liability insurance cover?

Only a carriers' liability insurance policy will protect you from costs arising from damage to or loss of a customer's property.

We can provide cover for loss or damage to goods imposed on the carrier following different risk options:

  • Declared Value Risk: where the carrier agrees to be liable for a specified amount
  • Declared Terms: where the carrier agrees to terms negotiated by all parties
  • Owner’s Risk: where the contract states that the carrier shall not be liable for any accidental loss or damage to goods

Even if you carry cargo on the basis of ‘Owner’s Risk’, if you have an accident and the cargo gets damaged, you may still be liable for some cargo-related costs as the carrier.

Our brokers can organise cover for removal of debris and any subsequent clean-up costs, plus additional costs you may incur to carry any remaining goods to their destination.

Our brokers can advise you on the best available carriers’ liability insurance to cover for accidental loss to others’ property while in your care. In the event of a claim arising, we will work with you to get a fair resolution. 

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Tanker Operator

ABC Transport carries bulk liquids in purpose-built tankers and container tanks throughout New Zealand. They carry anything from chocolate milk, fruit juice and wine to Class 8 chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, as well as resins.

ABC has a wash-down facility at their depot where they wash out the contents of tankers so that they can then carry other types of products. For example, a tanker that has carried fruit juice could be cleaned out so that it can then carry wine.

ABC entered into a contract under limited carriers risk conditions, to carry 50,000 litres of resin from Auckland to a products plant. The transport company engaged a subcontractor to carry out the delivery. ABC’s tanker unit had previously been used for the transport of caustic soda and in the wash-down process a small amount of caustic soda were left in the baffles of the tanker.

The subcontractor transported the load to the plant, pumped it into the tanks and returned to their depot. Later that day, the plant discovered that the resin had been contaminated. This caused a shutdown of the plant for 6 hours while the product had to be pumped out into holding tanks. Not only had the product been affected, but also some of the previously pure product that it had been mixed with in the tanks. In addition, some of the stainless-steel piping at the plant had been damaged by the chemical.

ABC Transport were held responsible for the loss and damage caused. A claim was lodged for:

  • Cost of the shipment of resin itself
  • Loss of sound product which was already in the plant’s tanks when the new shipment was discharged
  • Loss of profits at the plant
  • Cleaning out costs at the plant
  • Repair / replacement of damaged piping