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Richard Felipes
Marine Division General Manager

Considerations when Insuring your Boat in Spain

By Richard Felipes - Mon 30th Jul 2012

In this article I will focus briefly on the importance of not sacrificing quality and service for mere price considerations. There are always risks in doing so when contracting marine insurance. In this edition I will offer some practical advice in contracting your policy.

GETTING IT RIGHT FROM THE OUTSET

Any credible marine surveyor will always revert to the original application form following a claim report. He will rightly scrutinise all the relevant areas pertaining to the particular claim. E.g. If it is do with a fire issue, where the fire extinguishers installed as declared and did they undergo their periodic revision. If the tender was stolen they would want to look at the model (serial numbers or the markings if applicable) on the proposal form to ensure they match the reality.

It is therefore very important to spend time on the application form and fill everything in correctly, honestly and as complete as possible.

KEY STEPS

When quoting: One must ensure that the basic details required are communicated accurately and honestly. The main areas of concern are: age of vessel; any major claims /repairs in the recent past – normally 5 years; navigational waters and boating experience /qualifications. Some boat owners prefer to complete a full application form and then submit for quotation based on the complete information so that no surprises arise. This is always advisable but not essential at quote stage.

A typical situation encountered recently was the non declaration of past claims. When the forms were completed for underwriting the information came to light and the premium was upped. This creates: mistrust on behalf of the underwriters; ill feeling on behalf of the client and even possible rejection by the insurer.

Another typical situation is not reporting serious refurbishment work. This does not include aesthetics but key work on the hull, engines or the interior areas. When it comes to completion of application forms this could lead to further delays as a survey would normally be required to ensure the works were approved. It could also lead to out right rejection or an undesirable late increase in premium.

GETTING YOUR QUOTE

Ensure you are clear on the following :

* Port of registration

* Year of construction ( or major refits)

* Boats over 20 years generally require dry surveys

* Surveys done in the last 6 to 12 months would be acceptable.

* Premiums generally increase when the vessel is over 10 yrs and again when over 20yrs

* Ensure all key recommendations are/have been carried out.

* In reference to navigational waters, be clear and if in doubt ask or use navigational degrees to specify area of coverage required.

* Maximum design speed of the vessel is key as premiums increase the higher the speed. These tend to be 0-17knots, 17-30, 30 to 40 and 40 +

* Mooring location and type of mooring is also important.

* Safe moorings within marina/harbour walls are standard but buoy moorings or swinging moorings are higher risk.

Vessel value is the hardest as it depends on a few factors :

* Value when purchased will be required normally

* Current value – depends on care of vessel

* Market value can easily be verified on-line.

* Care needs to be taken when over/under insuring.

* Most insurers will assist here.

COMPETITIVE QUOTES

* Look at financial strength and also the ‘Specialised Marine Insurer’ as opposed to the ‘General Insurance’ company that has no dedicated marine team.

* Endeavour to establish the claims service reputation.

* Do not use Price as the sole barometer. If you compare pricing among the Marine Specialists the variances can be important but rarely outside the 10 / 15% mark

* When you have been offered a 25/30% difference and beyond, beware!

* When making the final decision weigh up these factors and then make quick note of the all-round efficiency levels in dealing with your enquiry: personnel friendliness; speed of response; thoroughness of dealings and presentation of materials. These help to make up your mind.

* Finally if you are really concerned about covering your boat for all risk yet feel you wish to save as much as possible then you can also request that the excess be doubled ( i.e. the money you need to outlay initially against any claim ). This will bring down the premium price by a further 15% ( on average).

POLICY DOCUMENTS

* Policy Documents are normally issued via e-mail these days and originals will follow by post.

* Check all the information submitted and agreed against the schedule.

* Ensure you have the languages required depending on where you are travelling.

* Check the dates are OK – start and end dates.

* Make sure you are sent “ KEY FACTS” and “POLICY WORDING”

* According to European law you are entitled to receive this in your native language.

* Most Companies will require the return of original documents should you cancel your policy and request a refund.

Happy navigation and remember be wise, be honest be accurate you will sail in peace.

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