Insights into boat insurance

Cover is more important than price

It has been attributed to Henry Royce of Rolls-Royce fame, it’s known as the slogan of the Gucci Family and even Benjamin Franklin is claimed to have said it.

But despite its various ‘authors’ and the slight differences in wording, the comment remains very valid when dealing with marine insurance.

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

The good news is that you don’t have to pay a Rolls-Royce or Gucci price for excellent boat insurance.

But you will have to pay a fair ‘value for money’ price to secure the best coverage for your needs.

Comprehensive boat insurance is offered by many insurers.

Companies that specialise in marine insurance such as Nautilus Marine have teams highly credentialled in managing the issues specifically relevant to boats, infrastructure and marine environments.

There are others whose core business might be household or car insurance, but who also offer forms of boat insurance.

But, similar to buying the cheapest new boat trailer bearings you can find on eBay rather than paying a bit more for high quality components, many products are often sold at the lowest price for good reason.

They might not have the features you require or the level of craftsmanship and materials quality needed to operate your boat and equipment the way you typically use it.

For example, in a recent column we looked at the issue of environmental clean-ups.

That’s where you would be held liable by statutory authorities for the environmental remediation required as a result of things going wrong, as well as for the removal of your vessel from a reef.

It posed the question – does your policy cover that environmental remediation in addition to the insured value of your boat, or is that remediation cost ‘deducted’ from the payout figure for your insured boat?

The difference can be tens of thousands of dollars.

Similarly, are boat towing fees covered?

What about the equipment and personal effects being carried on the vessel at the time of the mishap?

What is the extent of personal injury cover provided in your policy?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that third party injury cover is included in your annual registration fees as it is with your car.

It’s not.

The annual Queensland boat registration fee is exactly that – the fee to register your boat in Queensland.

There is no compulsory third party injury or property damage component included in that fee.

Therefore, if you don’t have comprehensive boat insurance cover and someone is hurt in a boating accident, your potential exposure is millions of dollars.

And likewise for property that might be damaged.

A boat catching fire or running amok in a marina can cause serious damage, and serious damage will mean serious bills.

So, when someone on a social media platform asks: “Which is the best company for marine insurance?” and someone replies with a company name stating that it’s the cheapest – that ‘free’ advice might be worth exactly that… nothing.

Far better that you seek out a policy from a specialist boat insurer that automatically includes a personal accident component in the policy and thereby provides you with protection against the costs of personal injury.

The things that are covered and those that may not be are detailed in your insurance policy’s product disclosure statement.

Similarly, any special conditions and excesses should always be explained clearly in your insurance policy’s 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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