This is a subject I approached with great respect. My research in Internet forums led me to believe that the insurance market is peopled by evil, money grabbing scrooges who hide behind small print and set unreasonable conditions before they will even agree to consider taking a huge chunk out of your boating money.
This turned out not to be true.
I began by researching the companies recommended in Internet posts and by the RYA (of which I am a member). I then chose four of them to contact. I checked all the questions that they wanted answering and put together a document which listed all the answers totally honestly and which described my plans for the next twelve months. I explained my experience, where I planned on sailing, details of the recent surveys and everything. I fired this document and a covering email off to my four candidates.
Two companies answered within 24 hours. Y Yacht was the fastest and attached a finished quotation which agreed with everything I had written except one point. The “one point” concerned the months that the boat was going to be laid up and they managed to clarify this within a few hours. The only action required from my side was to send an email saying “OK! I accept.” The other company – let’s call them BlueTeam – sent me a pdf file to print out and once again fill in all the information that I had already supplied in my request.
The third company – we’ll call them PurpleTeam – took two days and was an absolute disaster. They also sent a pdf file to be filled out despite my having supplied all the information. Over half the documents were in Microsoft Word format which gives a clear message- “if you don’t use Microsoft we don’t want you!” They quoted for a different geographic area than I asked for.
The fourth company just ignored my request.
The only documents that I easily understood were those provided by Y Yacht. PurpleTeam supplied seven documents and having read them all I still wasn’t sure what was on offer.
Y Yacht and PurpleTeam asked for a recent survey to be supplied. I am not sure if BlueTeam would have asked for one before making a binding offer. I had surveys done as part of the purchasing process and, once I sent them, Y Yacht agreed to immediately cover the boat laid up and in commision once the major points picked up had been rectified.
Y Yacht offered the cheapest cover, 50 pounds cheaper than BlueTeam and 120 pounds cheaper than PurpleTeam.
I think you can guess with whom our boat is insured.
So in summary. Yes I can imagine marine insurance being a real pain.
- some companies don’t answer you.
- some ask you to fill out forms telling them everything you have already told them
- some offer conditions / sailing areas different to those you asked for
- some send pages of text that is not understandable or in a format you can not read
- all seem to want a survey (which makes sense to me as how else can they know the status of the boat)
- the boat needs to be seaworthy or major points rectified (which also seems like common sense)
I can imagine that if some one has just spent their entire budget on a boat and either bought without a survey or planned on not doing the work picked up, then this could all be an unpleasant shock.
It is nice that Y Yacht made the process easy and understandable.