Sailing Holiday Travel Insurance – The Most Common Pitfalls
It’s sad, but almost every year we have guests who have paid good money for a worthless piece of paper because they did not read the terms and conditions.
Here are just some examples…
1. Offshore Sailing
You have booked an offshore sailing holiday and your cover is not specifically for offshore sailing.
What is defined as ‘offshore’ is entirely up to the individual insurer and it can vary wildly. It can be completely different to what we call offshore sailing at SchoonerSail. One of our guests who queried the definition of offshore by phone was told by a broker that it was ‘if you were out of sight of land’. Our guest asked ‘So what if it is foggy?’ – obviously a definition like this is a nonsense. Offshore could be 12 miles from the nearest land, it could be within territorial waters, or it could be almost anything at all. If there is any uncertainty, don’t guess – ask, and get the answer in writing!
2. Geographical Limits
Your insurance does not cover the country you are sailing in or sea area.
Don’t expect brokers to know anything about geography, what countries are in the EU etc.
Where does the ‘North Sea’ start and finish for instance? One year several people arrived at the start of a voyage to Norway with a policy covering the North Sea – when we queried the boundaries with the brokers we were sent what looked a blurry children’s map to define the area. If there are geographic limits these need to be set in stone – this means latitudes and longitudes, or maybe a country border. With this one we had to provide a set of co-ordinates to the insurance company and they agreed it in writing. Needless to say it was a bit of a hassle.
Sailing with us in Norway within the Arctic Circle? Again many people have been caught out by this one, some companies charge extra for this and add it as an endorsement.
Very basic Voyage Maps For Our Sailing Holidays are here.
3. Not Declaring A Relevant Fact
You have not declared a relevant fact, for instance a health condition or medication you have been prescribed. Usually you will have to declare ALL medications you have been prescribed in the last year. Make sure you fully check what you need to declare.
Insurers can – and do – refuse to pay up if you have not declared a relevant fact and this may be one of the commonest reasons insurers deny cover.
4. Wrong Type Of Boat
Your cover does not apply to the type of boat you will be sailing on.
Most companies will cover sailing on a three-masted schooner such as Trinovante under their standard ‘yachtsman’s policies’. However, one insurer decided Trinovante was a tall ship and that their ordinary yachtsman’s sailing insurance did not provide cover for ‘Tall Ship’ Sailing Holidays. An insurer once told us that they may even apply this category to small yachts taking part in the Tall Ships Race. This was not clear in either their terms and conditions or on their web site.
We understand from the company concerned that this issue has now been resolved but it is such a good example of a pitfall that we have left it in here. The only way you can cover this sort of thing is by making sure you tell brokers or insurers in writing exactly what you are doing on your sailing holiday.
If you need more information about the schooner Trinovante we have a page about the ship.
We have come across other policies that only cover sailing on boats up to 50ft, only cover boats either with or without a professional skipper, and only cover dinghies or day sailing boats.
Buyer beware. Make sure that you read the terms and conditions. If you are unsure, check by email.
5. Cancellation Cover
You want cancellation cover but your cover does not start until you leave home to travel the boat.
6. Participating In The Sailing
Your insurance does not cover you for actually participating in the sailing. Amazing, but we have seen this in a policy.
If you are going to be sailing with us on a race, then you should check that the policy covers racing.
8. The excess is large
You may or may not want to accept a large excess.
All of these things have come to our notice over the last ten years.
This is not an exhaustive list of potential pitfalls – there will almost certainly be many other issues and clauses we have not come across. If in doubt, ask – and get the answer in writing.