I read an article recently where an owner had approached two insurers and was concerned that he couldn’t get a quote for his vessel from them; the vessel was some years old and based abroad. For me this highlighted the disadvantage of contacting insurers direct as opposed to contacting a specialist broker. In these same circumstances the broker may have access to perhaps 10 different underwriters and will know which of those might or might not quote for the particular risk.
Not only can the owner save himself time by only having to make one ‘phone call rather than ringing any number of insurers, he is also likely to be offered a range of terms, different premiums, and different excesses, from which to make his choice of cover with the broker there to advise about differing levels of cover, policy limits, optional extras such as protected no claim bonus, legal expenses cover and the speed and quality of the claims service provided by each insurer. It makes sense to choose a specialist broker!
If you add to this the claims settling service that a broker like Yachtmaster has with some underwriters, you have the promise of reduced delays in the decision making process when your pride and joy has been damaged and in some cases an almost instant transfer of funds when a claim is agreed.
However, to avoid claims some special care is needed in the Winter season. With the cold weather now definitely with us, many boats will be carefully winterised and laid-up ashore. For those that are leaving their vessels afloat it is very important to make sure that all seacocks are closed while the vessel is unattended, and suitable attention is given to the engine cooling system and any domestic water system to prevent freezing and subsequent damage or even sinking.
Our linked but independent surveyor has been busy with surveys even this late in the year for potential purchases of used craft. We cannot emphasize too much how important it is to have a survey on a vessel, especially an older one, prior to purchase, otherwise expensive to remedy defects may not be discovered until it is too late to negotiate the price and also it may be impossible to arrange full insurance cover with one of the reputable underwriters.
David Long - 12/12/12
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