We’ve gone overboard to spotlight some of the most common boat insurance claims, and provided practical tips on how to avoid making a claim.
Light Fingers Moored boats can provide rich pickings for thieves if you don’t take security seriously. Expensive navigation kit, outboard motors and dinghies make tempting targets, and if you leave valuables on deck; you’re asking for trouble. Thieves like an easy life and by taking simple security steps you can make a big difference. Most insurance policies will insist on a minimum level of security (such as fitting anti-theft devices to outboards) and you can earn additional discounts by taking further measures.
Traffic Jam Britain’s waterways and coasts are getting busier which increases the chances of having a collision with another craft. Ports and moorings are particular pinch points where the skipper must maintain a clear view of the surrounding water while the crew provides extra eyes.
Boat Theft Boat owners often make the mistake of safeguarding against theft from the boat, while overlooking the boat itself, and boat theft is surprisingly common. Figures show that the majority of smaller boats are stolen when out of the water and on trailers (make sure you fit a hitch-lock) while larger boats tend to be slipped from their moorings (make sure you moor to a fixed point). Boat insurance policies do cover against theft providing you have fulfilled the necessary security requirements; so make sure you read the small print.
Heavy Weather Check the forecast and don’t ignore weather warnings. The Marine Insurance Act states that you must take reasonable care, and if you head out in bad weather you could invalidate cover.
Lightning Strike While the chances of being struck by lightning are slim the consequences can be devastating. The best advice is to keep a close eye on the weather and head to shore if storms are forecast. Lightning protection systems are available for boats (effectively Faraday cages) although the jury’s still out on how well they work.
Submerged Debris Floating and semi-submerged debris can cause serious damage to your prop or rudder; worse still it could put a hole in your hull. Again, vigilance is key especially after bad weather and extreme tides when hazards can get washed into the water.
Sinking Feeling Water ingress is a boat owner’s biggest nightmare and can cause untold damage to the craft and contents. Most boat insurance policies provide protection if the damage is caused accidentally (for example: if the hull is breached beneath the waterline during a collision) but may not provide protection if the build-up of water is slow and due to the owner’s negligence (for example: failure to maintain hoses and clamps).
Getting Grounded If you have a depth sounder and know your boat’s draft you shouldn’t get grounded, but things aren’t straightforward at sea. Remember that high winds can cause anchors to drag, rotational tides can change, and that engines have a habit of dying at the most inconvenient moment.
Quoteline Direct is a specialist broker providing competitive insurance for all types of boat: from cruisers and canal boats to motorboats and yachts. To find out more visit our boat insurance page or Tel: 0161 874 7783 to speak with a member of our team.