Yacht insurance: mast breakage and company: how are consequential damages insured?

Exactly how these cases are covered by insurance is a common source of discussion. Pantaenius explains what must be taken into account.

Boat and yacht insurance providers differ significantly from each other. This affects the scope of coverage offered, the type of advice, but also the ability to react in the event of an accident and active assistance. At worst, you find out too late what the insurance company is really doing. With a little help, however, policyholders can compare what coverage looks like, at least on paper. In addition to the base of the insured sum, it is above all the exclusions that have a decisive influence on what the insurance provides in the event of an accident. There is often an exclusion for damage caused by “normal wear and tear”.

What do you mean by that? Many parts, such as shrouds and stays, are exposed to considerable stress throughout the life of a boat. The material gradually wears away. It wears out. Therefore, manufacturers often specify maintenance intervals. If these requirements are met, the parts can be replaced in time. If this is not the case and the damage occurs, it ceases to be an unforeseen event from the insurance point of view. Damage to the defective part is excluded from insurance coverage. However, this exclusion is not an elimination criterion. On the contrary: it should seem logical even to the most critical observer that the danger community is protected from such avoidable harm. Much more important is the regulation of emergent damage, because it is often the small defects that trigger a real chain reaction.



Homeowners should make sure the appropriate exclusion is qualified. The wording could be something like “Loss or damage occurring as a result of failure or wear and tear of other parts of the insured property is covered within the scope of these conditions.” Here it is clear: a need or damaged terminal is not paid in case of wear. Consequential damage to the profile of the mast, sails or deck, on the other hand, are fully insured and would be compensated according to the conditions. Not all insurance companies offer this rule. If you’re not sure if your own policy will cover consequential damages, you should definitely ask.

Of course, good seamanship includes the correct maintenance and repair of all relevant parts on board. For sailing yachts, regular rigging checks and, in case of doubt, life insurance for those on board are particularly important in this context. Building on the experience of over 50 years of claims settlement and in the interest of the safety of its clients, Pantaenius has started to require a deck inspection by a specialist company when insuring new sailing yachts if the yacht is over 15 years old. When reinsuring sailing yachts that are over 25 years old, we assume that the standing rigging has been replaced. These controls only apply to new contracts and are not an obligation for existing customers.

By the way: Of course, a small damaged part can also cause a wide variety of other damage to a boat or yacht. Think, for example, of a defective sea rooster. If this damage leads to sinking, repair of consequential damage, including salvage costs, is also covered within the Pantaenius yacht hull conditions. Here, too, only the small defective part itself, in this case the sea spigot, is subject to an exclusion.

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