If your company is not covered by any insurance, you will be self-insured (as you rightly observed). This means that in the unfortunate circumstance your Company suffers a cargo damage during the shipment, you will need to file a claim against the Carrier to recover the cargo damages.
The Carrier, however, cannot guarantee the payment (unless you have a service contract with the Carrier stating otherwise) since the Carrier is the steamship line and not an Insurance Carrier.
Upon receipt of your claim, the Carrier will start the investigation at the end of which it will either deny or accept responsibility. The outcome of the claim depends on various factors such as the circumstances of the single case, allocation of responsibility among all the parties involved in the shipment, contribution of fault, and the accuracy of the documents you as Claimant would be required to submit with the Carrier. If for some reasons the Carrier rejects your claim or it does not pay fully, your company will swallow the relevant loss.
I also bring to your attention that shipments inbound/outbound the U.S., are regulated by COGSA (Carriage of Goods by Sea Act). Briefly, based on this law, in case of ascertained liability, the Carrier is liable in the amount not exceeding USD500 per package (as per packages/units declared on the front of the Carrier’s bill of lading).
Such law is most likely implemented in the Carriers’ bill of lading. Suggest you read carefully all the terms, conditions and exceptions of the Carrier’s bill of lading as well as COGSA, so as for you to know and understand your exposure.
Based on the above, I strongly recommend to insure your Company against any possible risk that may occur during a shipment.
Attorney Advertising. The information given above is intended to provide general information only and not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.