Continuing my series on ocean marine cargo insurance and claims, an important coverage for policyholders to make sure they look into (if having the risk of loss) is concealed damage coverage.

A typical policy provision for concealed damage coverage:

Concealed Damage

This insurance is also specifically to cover (provided that notice of loss is given to this Company within 90 days from the arrival of the goods insured at the final destination) concealed damage which may be reasonably attributed to having occurred during the insured transit.

It is a condition precedent to the coverage for concealed damage that notice of loss must be given to this Company immediately upon discovery of packages or freight units that show evidence of external damage at the time of arrival at the final destination; failure to do so voids the coverage for concealed damage.

Concealed damage coverage protects loss or damage discovered upon opening of packages or containers if the opening has been delayed. Some policies may allow the opening of the package or container to be as long as 90 days from the arrival at final destination, provided there is no evidence of loss or damage at the time of delivery.

However, this potential length of time should not mean you wait to notify your insurance carrier or any responsible parties. If concealed or hidden damage or shortage is discovered, immediately notify the insurance carrier and all parties who handled the shipment in writing and invite their inspection. Failing to do so could jeopardize coverage and give the insurance carrier a defense.

Do not sign a clean delivery receipt for shipments that have not been examined. Always consult with experienced professionals on these detailed claims if any questions arise during the process—and do this sooner rather than later—there are many intricacies and nuances in ocean marine cargo insurance.