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Avoid That Sinking Feeling When Placing Marine and Yacht Insurance

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Avoid That Sinking Feeling When Placing Marine and Yacht Insurance Powered By Docstoc
					Avoid That Sinking Feeling When Placing Marine and Yacht Insurance
Although there is no official standard such as ISO within the yacht insurance industry to guarantee complete consistency across carriers, most policies have developed many common denominators. Hull, protection and indemnity, medical payments, personal effects, uninsured boater's liability, towing and emergency assistance and even pollution coverage have all become accepted as essential elements within a policy. However, as we know the devil hides in the detail and the subtle nuances between seemingly similar policies can lead to very costly uncovered loss, in turn resulting in an expensive claim on your own professional indemnity cover. Environmental damage, Ice and freezing, mechanical break down, and defense costs are some of the key areas that if cover is not adequate can lurk beneath the surface of a policy waiting to cause such exposure if attention to detail is overlooked. We live in an age of increase environmental awareness and as such the laws designed to protect our beautiful planet are now rigorously purposeful in their intent to hold boat owners accountable for their actions. If you are the owner of luxury sports/fishing yacht in Queensland for example, a minor accident running aground into one of the local reefs could leave a bill that would leave Richard Branson feeling slightly worried. Environmental damage is generally addressed by carriers in three different ways. Firstly, total exclusion for the damage to the marine environment, secondly with a stated sub-limit ranging from $60,000 to $150,000 and finally a policy which is 'silent' to the coverage. Obviously the latter is the most generous as it doesn't exclude or sub limit environmental damage, however if the insured yacht is based somewhere such as the more robust shores of England, it can be an unnecessary premium. Possibly the most frequently argued claim in a carrier's yacht portfolio is almost certainly mechanical breakdown. Although coverage for mechanical breakdown is by no means uncommon how it is adjusted varies widely. There is a thin line between wear and tear and the unforeseen mechanical breakdown. The latter being often being covered and the former more than likely not.

It is essential to establish the variables within the policy such as is the cover adjusted on the basis of its actual cash value or a replacement cost? Also does the valuation change when the boat reaches a certain age and if so, when? Often a policy will begin as replacement cost and then convert to ACV as the boat reaches an age such as 10 years old. To overlook the threat of ice and freezing as non-critical is all too easy unless you are based in an area where it is common fact of life. This outlook can be compared to the homeowner who doesn't' buy flood coverage because he doesn't live on the water and therefore doesn't see the threat. Too often this nonchalance can come back to haunt us. More often than not Ice and freezing is excluded but there are policies which have no such exclusions or give back coverage based on the berthing standards of the vessel which provide underwriters with more opportunities to control exposure. In this instance some policies may not exclude ice and freezing but rather exclude damage resulting from improper winterization. Finally it is vital to understand the critical difference between a policy that has defense cost in addition to the limit of liability and a policy where the defense costs are included within the limit of liability, thereby diminishing the limit available for settlement by the cost of the defense. With their still being a lack of standard here make sure you check each policy wording carefully. If the owner runs out of limit often the only feasible step is to make up the difference with your PI cover - and this is not good. Obviously it is important to know all of the coverage differences from policy to policy but each of the above occur in real life scenarios and the difference in one policy over another can have dramatic effect upon the amount of loss covered by any particular carrier. With the yachting sector having seen many top insurers merge, sell on their portfolios or even leave the business altogether across the last five years, now more than ever an examination of policy and what lies beneath the surface can prove to be a invaluable endeavor when placing business. Anything less than a 100% understanding of all areas of the marine insurance policy and how they fair against the vessels risk adversity, could lead to a somewhat sinking feeling all round


				
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posted:2/1/2010
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