Summer season insurance claims

Marine Insurance specialists Bishop Skinner Marine take a look at the top four summer boat insurance claims and how to avoid them

 

Forty per cent of all marine insurance claims are incurred in the summer months, 01 June – 31 August, high season for boating, according to insurance claim statistics from Bishop Skinner Marine Insurers.   

Paul Birch, Managing Director of Bishop Skinner Marine said: “The statistics showed that 40% of all claims were due to collisions, which cost a total of £149,187, with £1,500 being the average settlement. The majority of these collisions were between yachts; ironically the more expensive craft.  

“There were also several claims for vessels capsizing (and then the costs involved in righting the boat), broken masts and sails, summer storm damage, and becoming grounded in shallow water.”  

Here Paul discusses the top four boat insurance claims that occur in the summer months and suggests what you can do in order to avoid costly claims and damage to your boat.  

Collisions

Waterways are busier in the summer, so it pays to keep a good look out when sailing or driving a motor boat, and to plan your manoeuvres in good time (don’t get caught out near marks because you are having to adjust course for other vessels). As there are more people racing, expect them to tack more frequently and plan accordingly.    

Paul says: “Collisions while racing are of course the ones that happen the most, so you should pay particular attention to Colregs – the rules of the sea. Although you might have the right of way for example, everyone is responsible for avoiding a collision.  Enjoy events like Round the Island, but expect to be surrounded by lots of racers, even if you are in a cruising class, especially at the start line.”  

Colregs are published by the International Maritime Organisation, and set out the ‘rules of the sea’ or navigation rules, to be followed by ships and other vessels at sea, to prevent collisions. Colregs can also refer to the specific political lines that divide inland waterways, which are subject to their own navigation rules, and coastal waterways subject to international navigation rules. They are derived from a multilateral treaty called the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.  

Rig or mast damage

Paul says: “The more you use a boat, the more likelihood there is of damage.  Ten year rig checks are a myth in insurance terms, but wear and tear clauses aren’t – make sure that everything is in good order.   

“If a boat is raced hard every year for several years, a rig check will be necessary more frequently than a cruising boat that does summer weekends only each year. And insurance can only pick up the financial tab, it can’t cover the loss of time on the water while the boat is awaiting delivery of a mast from the factory.”  

Grounding

“Bishops Skinner Marine claims data shows that ‘striking underwater objects’ resulted in payments totalling £61,668 from only 24 claims, so clearly this is one to avoid,” Paul explained.  

Paul adds: “With greater use and busier waterways, familiarity breeds complacency (plenty of accidents occur in waters that are regularly used), so plan each passage rather than assume this weekend’s trip will be the same as last weekend’s.”    

Break-ins

Sadly when there are more people are around thieves blend in and the risk of pilfering increases.  Protect your own assets, but be a good neighbour too - challenge situations if they don’t look right.  Paul adds: “Bear in mind that break-ins will be covered, but loss without ‘violent and forcible entry’ won’t.”  

Taking into account all of the above common claims, not having boat insurance is a high risk strategy. When using a slipway or marina you will need at least third party cover, as a marina can prevent you from launching or mooring your boat, without insurance.  

When out on your boat, if you anchor somewhere and go ashore for lunch, make sure your policy covers leaving the boat unattended.

And when sailing your boat to a holiday destination abroad, ensure that you have your insurance policy with you.  Get the right travel insurance too, as most policies won’t cover the use of your own sailing boat under their travel cover.    

For more information about Bishop Skinner.  

For details of the RYA member offers from Bishop Skinner Marine visit RYA member benefits – Insurance