Airlines and other freight companies will likely have the minimal amount of insurance cover in place. This means that unless you purchase additional insurance before shipping your goods, it is unlikely that you will be fully covered. This is the only way in which you are going to be able to get the full cost of your consignment covered in the event of damage or loss. It is worth noting that it is unlikely that consequential loss will be as standard. Therefore, if goods need to arrive at a particular destination on time, you need to have consequential loss insurance. Find out from your insurance provider how you can go about this.
Airfreight insurance will be purchased via the freight forwarder. Remember, if you are using a freight forwarder, your contract will be with them and not the airline. This means that if you need to make a claim, you will need to make it through the freight forwarder who will in turn claim any losses back from the airline. The Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom has started that all freight forwarders need to provide some sort of brokerage service for insurance. This means that you should be able to find a deal through them with very little effort.
Remember, however, you should always try and shop around for insurance, particularly if you are sending vast quantities of goods. Whilst it may be incredibly convenient to obtain your insurance through your freight forwarder, it may not be the cheapest option. You are a captive audience for them, after all. As a result, shopping around will quite often net you a far better deal. It will also allow you to choose the exact type of coverage you wish for on your insurance policy, which may save you a little bit of money whilst at the same time offering the maximum amount of coverage possible for your goods.
It is important that you understand what the claim process is before you ship the goods. All insurance companies operate in a slightly different way. You will want to know what to do in the rare event that something does go wrong. After all, it is likely that you will have a huge amount of money tied up in those goods and thus need to know that you are going to get back this cost quickly and easily.
Your contract with the carrier will be based around the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions. These conventions highlight what the responsibility of the carrier is, the limit of their liability, both on a financial level and whether they are actually liable or not, as well as any documents that are required. You should be supplied with these conventions when the air waybill is issued. If not, you will be able to find plenty of details online about these conventions. If you are planning on shipping overseas on a regular basis, you will do well to familiarise yourself with them. You never know when you may need to rely on them!