Nobody likes that terrible gut feeling when something has happened whilst out on the water. Be it anything from a bump into the vessel you’re normally moored next to, to a grounding on a sandbank that has edged its way into the channel or to something that was completely your own fault. We at CompareYachtInsurance.com have taken the time to channel some thoughts about what to do when the worst case scenario happens.
What is important to remember, is that almost all insurance policies cover negligence. Therefore if you have a Hull & Machinery insurance policy, then you will be covered for the mistakes you make. Forgetting to check your chart plotter and running into some rocks, falling asleep and colliding with a channel market at night or not checking the clearance of a bridge at high tide and losing your mast top instruments are all incidents that are covered normally (unless they are specifically excluded). These incidents can be summarised as pure bad luck and they do happen to everyone every now and then. What separates everyone out is how they deal with them.
First things first, when something bad happens to you or your yacht, you should be putting your mitigation hat on and start thinking about what you can do to minimise how much it will cost to put matters right again. This is the principle of mitigation, and it is written into most insurance contracts as an obligation to the assured. However if it isn’t written into the contract, then this obligation is implied under law and must be done regardless.
When a yacht dis-masts, questions should arise on whether or not the mast, rigging or sails can be save or whether they all need to be cut free in order to prevent the mast penetrating the hull.
When a yacht runs aground, even on a soft sand bank, then the yacht should probably be lifted out and inspected by an expert surveyor. It is worth checking your insurance policy to see if it covers ‘mitigation expenses’. If it does, then your chances of a lift out and inspection being covered regardless of there being a claim are high. Most importantly, the costs of these are somewhat regardless, as they will ensure the ongoing safety of your yacht, which has been exemplified by the Cheeki Rafiki case that has hit headlines in recent years.
If after an accident it is unclear whether or not you want to claim on your yacht insurance policy, then we would always recommend picking up the phone to your insurance company and speaking to the claims department. Chances are they will have dealt with thousands of yacht accidents resulting in claims, and will be best placed to advise you of your options. These options will normally include a fork in the road scenario where you are able to either claim under your own policy and pay the excess/deductible or go on your own way to put matters right.
This leads us on to talk about liabilities. If you are unlucky to have collided with another yacht, then regardless of blame it is important and prudent to exchange insurance and contact details. Often Third Party Liability and P&I excesses are low and therefore your insurers will be happy to get involved in the process in order to ensure that claim costs are mitigated. If you get the opportunity, your insurers will vastly benefit from photos of the incident, witness statements or details of the witnesses who they can contact.
If you are uncertain about what your insurance policy covers, then it’s best for you to have a look through your documents. Alternatively, you can get some quotes together from CompareYachtInsurance.com‘s homepage and make sure that you have an insurance policy with the right level of cover for the right price.