By the time you read this hopefully Spring will be on its way and we can all look forward to some warm sailing weather, but I would just caution against a Winter tendency that we have noticed.
When policies are not renewed we try to contact the owner just as a reminder in case the renewal has been overlooked, as can so easily happen in busy lives. One reply we sometimes get is that the policy is not to be renewed because “the boat is ashore and will be covered by the boatyard’s insurance”.
This isn’t actually so. Whereas the boatyard will almost certainly have their own insurance policy, (although we know of some that don’t) the part affecting their customer’s boats will be their Public Liability section. This will cover the boatyard in the event that they cause damage to your vessel in circumstances where it can be proved they were negligent, such as if they knocked a support out and your vessel fell over or they carelessly set fire to something and your vessel was subsequently damaged.
If however, the boatyard have not been negligent and damage was caused to your vessel in some other way, perhaps by vandals or thieves overcoming the yard security, or another boat owner’s vessel catching fire which spread to your vessel, or any other cause outside the control of the boatyard, you would not have a claim against the boatyard, and if you have let your own policy lapse, you will be paying for the repairs yourself or trying to pursue the guilty party through the Courts!
It follows that it is always best to have your own insurance, even if you need long term laid-up cover which can usually be provided at lower cost.
Something else worth consideration is what cover you have in your yacht policy for items such as laptops and cameras, which some yacht insurers exclude from their policies altogether. With this in mind Yachtmaster are now offering home and contents insurance where items such as these can be insured on an “all risks” basis, that is, even when in use aboard your vessel and the yacht and home policies can be dovetailed together to make sure there is no gap in cover.
Another problem some long-term cruisers find is that they cannot maintain cover on their homes while they are away cruising for an extended period, because some home insurers don’t like to give more than 30 days cover on an unoccupied property. Again we have negotiated our home and contents policy so that this 30 day period can be extended to provide cover during those lengthy cruises!
David Long - 11/2/2013.
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