Nautilus Marine Insurance

Insights into boat insurance

Insurance is not a time for fairy tales Nautilus Marine Insurance

Getting your vessel description absolutely right is critical when it comes to filling out an insurance application form. Nautilus Marine Insurance

All of those questions about the brand of the vessel, the model, length, beam, the year of manufacture and so on are there to help establish exactly what it is you are seeking to insure and in turn, what its insurable valuable might be. Nautilus Marine Insurance

With brand name models such as a Stacer Wild Rider, a Quintrex Renegade, a Cruise Craft Explorer or a Seafarer Viking, that’s a fairly straightforward exercise.

But once you start getting into the realm of flop-moulded fibreglass boats – let’s call them ‘copies’ – as well ‘special builds’ and ‘modifieds’, where for example a transom pod might have been added to a pre-existing design, things can get a little tricky.

What boat is it now?

The original?

An adaptation?

A new brand or model completely?

And what about larger vessels?

Insurers have seen vessels that were described as “multi-hull cruisers”, which on closer inspection were not a Scimitar or Perry but rather an uninsurable single outboard-powered houseboat of very questionable genre.

Being ‘cute’ has only one result once things go pear-shaped.

That original vessel description now resembles something written by Hans Christian Andersen and the correspondence from your insurer is going to say in effect, “You gave us false information or at the very least, totally misrepresented your vessel and we are not going to cover you.”

That’s why it is so important to insure your vessel with a specialist marine insurer such as Nautilus Marine.

A company that understands boats staffed by people who go boating.

You can talk to them.

Be upfront and tell them exactly what your vessel is.

Provide a portfolio of photos that will clearly show it and help them to make an accurate assessment about its insurability.

Provide any additional information you might have, such as who undertook the post-production installation of the pod.

Attach a statement from them wherein they outline their boat building expertise, boat building qualifications, any certifications that might have been sought and granted.
Provide their contact details.

Accurate vessel descriptions are required under a number of clauses in an application for insurance, but primarily come under the all-encompassing ‘duty of disclosure’.

Withhold information, give inaccurate information or stretch the truth and you’re headed for a problem when you try to progress an insurance claim.

In a similar vein, be very and completely accurate about the vessel’s inventory of equipment – particularly electronics, which tend to be upgraded fairly regularly as newer plotters, sounders, transducers, radios and radar are released.

If you don’t get the full and accurate description right, you are going to lose out – perhaps by not getting the value of your new electronics or not having that Minn Kota electric trolling motor recognised in a claim.

Likewise, if you say your vessel is kept “on a private mooring at Raby Bay”, you’re going to be in trouble if that turns out to be a swing mooring in the bay itself.

In terms of valuing your vessel, consider getting a formal description and valuation from a recognised marine surveyor, boat dealer or yacht broker.

Some policies require this as mandatory for vessels older than a certain vintage.

At the end of the day, what is covered and what may not be covered will be interpreted in accord with the terms of insurance as defined 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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