As a charter yacht operator, for either a fleet or your own yacht, you’ll know all too well about the chills running down your spine when you hand over the keys to your boat. There is no amount of security deposit or promises that the charter party can make in order to put your mind at ease.
The saving grace is that there are some very comprehensive and understanding insurance policies available to protect you for any damage that your charterer may inflict on your vessel. For that reason we have taken the time to lay out some important factors and hopefully give you a better understanding of the questions that you should ask yourself.
The first valuable element to consider is the application of an excess, or rather deductible as some insurers may refer to it as. A deductible is the own contribution towards any claim that a policyholder bares, and is designed to deteriorate many small claims being made under a policy. For that reason, you’ve got to define your damage deposit careful; make it too high and you deter anyone chartering your vessel over your competitor’s, make it too low and you won’t be covering your costs when an incident does happen.
So why shouldn’t your damage deposit just cover the deductible under a claim you ask? Well we can answer! You should also weigh up what other costs you’ll have, such as factoring the increase of your insurance premium by up to 40%, the cost of having a surveyor thoroughly check over your vessel once the repairs have been completed, and any out of pocket expenses that you may have such as travelling to visit the vessel and your time in handling the formalities.
It is therefore important to remember that chartering shouldn’t be avoided just on the prospect of there being damage. A good insurance policy will have been designed to respond to any fortuitous incident, and it will return you to the same position that you enjoyed before the incident.
Once you have found a policy that covers all your needs, is affordable and provided by an insurer who you can trust; you should go right ahead and tell them every type of charter that you intend on doing with your vessel, from bareboat and skipper chartering, right the way through to exploration trips and racing. Each of these are different and will be approached differently by an insurer, so it is also in your best interest to disclose as much information as possible.
If it is a fleet that you manage then you should find out more about the fleet policies available and discounts that you can obtain from the insurer, however if you are only reading our article to find out more about chartering your private vessel to recuperate some of your ownership outlays, then it’s important to always keep sight of the real reason you bought the vessel as a priority and then secondly make the most out of it and get some money back to alleviate the financial commitment that you have already started. Yacht ownership should be fun!