The vessel you’re considering buying might be insurable on face value, though it may require a specialist inspection from a qualified person to be considered insurable.

Good reasons for checking with insurer before buying

When undertaking research before buying a new boat, don’t consider only the boat size, your primary uses for it, where you’re going to store it, likely destinations you are going to visit, your budget for the purchase and the on-going running costs.

Yes, they are all important factors, but so are the insurance implications, and it’s good advice to consider these before putting down a deposit.

There are several key reasons for recommending this course of action.

The first is to gain some understanding of whether the boat will be insurable, and that means contacting a specialist marine insurer.

The vessel you’re considering buying might be insurable on face value, alternatively though, it may require a specialist inspection from a qualified person or be built of materials or to a design that’s not considered insurable.

Obviously, the best time to find this out is before you own the boat.

Another key consideration will be your experience as a boat owner and a skipper.

If you’ve come into a few dollars and are moving up from a small aluminium runabout to a 55’ Riviera with an integrated propulsion system pod drive, you can expect to be presented with some questions about whether you have experience driving such a vessel.

In other words, the vessels might be totally sound and insurable, but your skills as a skipper may not be.

It is not unknown for insurers to insist you undertake an approved training course or that you’re required to have a more experienced skipper on board for the first 12 months of ownership and use.

A few decades ago, a Brisbane-based journalist named Chris Black decided to purchase a boat in Townsville, from memory.

One of Chris’ conditions of purchase was that the current owner show him how to handle the vessel and so, Chris allocated a few days for some on-water instruction before handing over the money.

As the story goes, the owner took Chris out on the water, showed him around the vessel and some very basic functions and after a successful session, Chris was looking forward to further tuition the next day, given that he was going to steer this vessel back to Brisbane.

According to Chris, the owner showed up, pointed south, said “Keep Australia on your right” and then left.

Any requirement from an insurance company that you undergo a course of instruction and familiarisation is going to be a lot more demanding than that type of ‘training’ exercise.
Power or sail, it doesn’t matter.

Insurance companies can tell any number of stories about exotic places such as Nouméa being planned as the first destination in a newly acquired vessel.

And where you are planning to store the boat is another key consideration in terms of insurance.

Some time back, it was ultra-difficult to secure a berth for vessels in Brisbane.

It reached the point where some boat salespeople and brokers would first ask, “Have you got somewhere to store it?” before spending a minute more on the possible purchase.

A boat swinging on a mooring in a sheltered part of the bay will be an unacceptable risk to a few marine insurers.

Likewise, whether the vessel is to be stored in a dry rack at a marina, a wet berth or a hardstand will generate different responses from different insurers.

That’s why making a specialist marine insurer one of your first starting points in the purchasing process is such a good investment.

As always, what is and what may not be covered will always be decided in accord with the terms of insurance as defined in your insurance policy’s product disclosure statement.

That’s why it is so important to read it thoroughly and to note any special conditions and excesses, which should be explained clearly in your PDS.

If you need further information, you can contact Nautilus Marine Insurance on 1300 780 533 for any boat insurance requirements.

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