Do I need shipping insurance or is forwarder's liability sufficient?

Shipping insurance has many advantages over the standard forwarder's liability and improves the handling of possible transport damage.

  1. Do I need shipping insurance?
  2. When does forwarder's liability apply?
  3. What does the shipping insurance cover?
  4. For which shipments do you need to contact us in advance for full insurance cover? 
  5. Which goods may I not send with Cargoboard?
  6. Shipping insurance is too expensive for me. Is there another alternative?

Do I need shipping insurance?

Many customers of forwarders are under the impression that they do not need "additional" shipping insurance. They assume that their goods are already insured. The handling of the issue of liability and insurance is often non-transparent and incomprehensible, so that the customer is given the impression that the goods being shipped are automatically insured.

We generally advise all our customers to select additional shipping insurance when booking and not to rely on forwarder's liability. The shipping insurance can be selected simply and easily when booking with Cargoboard.

Shipping insurance offers much more comprehensive protection during transport and ensures that the total value of your goods is insured in the event of damage or loss.

Note: Of course, this only applies to shipments that comply with our Terms and Conditions. Among other things, the following applies:

  • The Customer must be a business owner pursuant to § 14 BGB (German Civil Code).
  • Goods must be packaged safely for transport.
  • The goods must not be excluded from our general terms and conditions.

In contrast to a clear and simple regulation of a shipping insurance, other requirements apply to a legal liability (forwarder's liability), which are regulated by the "German Freight Forwarders' Standard Terms and Conditions (ADSp 2017). According to these, damage to the consignment of goods should be detected directly by the consignee upon delivery. Once the damage has been found, it must be noted by the driver on the forwarder's receipt. If no damage was detected during delivery, you as the customer must explicitly prove that the goods were damaged during transport (reversal of the burden of proof).

During transport, we naturally ensure that your goods are transported and loaded safely and carefully. Nevertheless, we cannot guarantee 100% that we will notice absolutely every damage to a consignment of goods immediately.

Attention: In general, you should point out to your consignee/customer that the transport packaging must be checked on all sides immediately upon receipt of the goods. If any damage to the packaging is visible, this should be noted directly on delivery to the driver.

When does forwarder's liability apply?

Freight forwarder's liability insurance is basically a good thing. Nevertheless, there are some aspects to consider before you rely completely on the forwarder's liability. The liability conditions correspond to the German Freight Forwarders' Standard Terms and Conditions (Allgemeine deutsche Spediteurbedingungen) and are generally written in favour of the forwarder.

What is the maximum liability amount?

The forwarder’s liability has a maximum liability amount which is relatively easy to estimate. The weight of the shipment is calculated *10 Euro. For a 100 kg shipment, the freight forwarder can therefore be liable for a maximum of approx. 1,000 euros. If the value of the goods in the 100 kg shipment exceeds 1,000 euros, it is advisable to book a shipping insurance.

What are the requirements for forwarder's liability?

In order for the freight forwarder's liability insurance to pay for your damage, 2 conditions must be met.

On the one hand, the shipment must have been adequately packaged for shipping. If the packaging of the goods is defective and the goods are not sufficiently protected from external influences, such as mechanical stress during transshipment, the liability insurance will generally not pay for any damage that occurs.

On the other hand, the evidence must be clear. If damage to the goods is only reported after the delivery, the liability insurance often does not apply. If there is no note on the receipt, the customer must prove otherwise that the damage occurred in the care of the forwarder. This is often difficult.

What does the shipping insurance cover?

If you select the transport insurance in the booking process at Cargoboard, we will automatically cover your shipment with shipping insurance.

Attention: Despite the shipping insurance, the goods must still be packed in a way that is safe for transport. Example: The sales packaging of a television is not considered transport-safe packaging. In addition to the sales packaging, transport packaging is mandatory. If you have no experience with freight forwarding, we recommend our packaging tips page.

One of the main reasons why we recommend shipping insurance to our customers is the relatively low cost compared to the value of the shipment. The cost of shipping insurance is 5.00 Euro per 1,000 Euro value of goods, but at least 5.50 Euro.

Value of goods Insurance costs
1.000€ 5,50 € 
2.000 €  10,00 € 
3.000 €  15,00 € 
4.000 €  20,00 € 
4.500 €  22,50 €

For certain special cases (types of goods and value of goods), an agreement must be made with us so that an insured transport can take place.

For which shipments do you need to contact us in advance for full insurance cover?

For goods with a value of 250,000 euros or more, each consignment of goods must be coordinated with us so that safe transport of the goods can be ensured. The same also applies to all consignments of goods that are non-typical commercial goods.

Among other things, it is about:

  • Prototypes and exhibits
  • Objects of art, paintings and antiques
  • Coins, precious stones, documents, certificates

The above-mentioned groups of goods need to be coordinated, as the non-material value often exceeds the actual material value.

It is not always clear which products are "non-typical trade goods". Therefore, if in doubt, please contact us before booking your order. However, if you insure your goods in the booking process without further coordination, usually only the material value of the goods is insured and not the non-material value.

Which goods may I not send with Cargoboard?

As a general rule, you must ensure that you do not send any goods with Cargoboard that are not allowed to be sent with us. This includes goods such as perishable food, explosive goods or motor vehicles. You will find a detailed list of goods that cannot be transported in our General Terms and Conditions.

>>To our terms and conditions<<

Shipping insurance is too expensive for me. Is there another alternative?

If you have a very regular shipment with several hundreds or thousands of shipments per month, it may be worthwhile to take out a direct insurance contract with a transport insurer.

Here you can benefit from individual conditions depending on the type and value of goods, which are usually cheaper than the standard insurance costs.

If you think this might be an option for you, we will be happy to assist you in contacting a transport insurer.