Insights into boat insurance

Bush ‘n Beach has brought Nautilus Marine Insurance on board to expand the fine print and provide readers with clear, easy-to-understand and helpful tips on protecting their boating assets. boat accident at ramp

The scenario

For whatever reason – distraction, poor communication, a misunderstanding between crew members or a gear failure – things have gone pear-shaped at the boat ramp. With a few metres still remaining between your boat and the water, you step out of your vehicle to see your boat half off the trailer with its aft end planted firmly on the concrete ramp.  The question becomes: what to do next in terms of repairs? boat accident at ramp

The answer

Your first priority is to make sure no one has been injured and to take all steps to ensure bystanders keep clear for their own safety. After dealing with people first, the next focus becomes the boat. You will need to make an assessment of whether the boat can be winched back onto the trailer without compounding the damage or whether you need to call in outside assistance.

Having managed those immediate issues, then comes the obligatory phone call to your insurer to make inquiries about undertaking repairs. And that’s where some people get the second major shock. You might find that you have no choice of repairer, or you might find you are compelled to choose from a selection of the insurer’s preferred repairers.

However, if you are insured with Nautilus Marine, you will immediately be made aware of one of the key benefits in dealing with a marine insurance specialist: you get to select your own repairer. And that repairer might even be the original manufacturer of the boat, if the manufacturer undertakes that sort of work.

In Queensland, some fibreglass and alloy boat manufacturers readily undertake all forms of repairs, ranging from minor and major cosmetic detailing to major refurbishment. Often, they like to undertake the work to ensure the integrity of the workmanship so a faulty repair does not reflect poorly on their brand at a later date, once the boat has changed hands, possibly several times, many years after the boat ramp incident.

The other advantage is the manufacturer knows precisely how their boats have been constructed. For example, another repairer might not have access to the composite material which the original manufacturer used in the transom. That’s why it is critically important to understand what your entitlements are, or are not, in terms of repairs when taking out marine insurance.

If the original manufacturer does not undertake repair work, then the company still might be able to refer you to an authorised repairer who specialises in a particular boat brand. That repairer might also have direct access to specialist parts, castings, mouldings and materials needed for the repair.

Provided you have an insurer such as Nautilus Marine who includes a ‘your choice of repairer’ clause, those options are open to you. Are there conditions? Of course there are. In terms of Nautilus Marine, one of the key conditions is the quotation from your chosen repairer must be fair and reasonable.

It also must be submitted and approved before the repair work is undertaken. Always make sure you clearly understand your position in terms of choosing a repairer before you take out an insurance policy. Also ask the prospective insurer to show you where the relevant section about repairs falls within the product disclosure document.

That’s the one that forms a key part of your contract with the insurer and is the document that will be referred to in terms of the ‘yes, you can’ and ‘no you can’t’ types of discussion. If you need further information, you can contact Nautilus Marine Insurance on 1300 780 533 for any boat insurance requirements.

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