The General Average Insurance Claim


When shipping cargo, it is important to have insurance on it in case of disaster. When shipping things via sea vessel, there are two particular categories that cargo damage claims can fall into: general average and particular average.

The General Average Claim

In order for a cargo to be considered part of a general average claim, it must have been lost or sustained damage in an instance where the captain of the vessel had to make a decision that meant losing cargo or losing the entire vessel.

The easiest example of this is if a ship is in a situation where it must jettison cargo in order to prevent being sunk. It is a common mistake made by many people shipping cargo that this is the only case where a general average claim can be filed. That is not true.

General average claims can be filed for any damage that is sustained to your cargo when the decision must be made to damage it or lose the ship. A good example of this would be a case where a cargo container needs to be destroyed in order to put out a fire on another part of the ship.

Another example would be if a ship were forced to overtax her engines due to some at sea circumstances. Shipping vessels walk a very balanced line between fuel and cargo, so any situation that would cause a vessel to run her engines for an extended period of time at a higher rate than anticipated would burn too much fuel. This could mean that the ship would not reach port because it would not have enough fuel; causing the decision to dump cargo in order to arrive to port with the remaining amount of fuel.

If a ship is lost, general average does not apply. In order for a general average clause to take effect, the ship must make it back to port and be reported as “preserved from peril.” Any actions taken in order to preserve the ship from peril will be counted towards a general average claim.

Particular Average

This category covers all other types of cargo claims. While the titles of the claims might seem peculiar, even reversed, do not be confused. Particular average is damage done to cargo without any extraordinary measures taken to save the ship.

Filing a General Average Claim

If a ship that you have cargo on arrives at a port in a condition known as “under average” this means that the ship had an incident that might allow for cargo to be claimed as general average. This is a long and involved process that requires a lot of paperwork and expertise. Your insurance company and shipping agents should be able to help you through the process.

Experts in industrial packing and crating may be able to help mitigate damage done to cargo when a general average incident happens. Contact Cratex today for your industrial packing needs!