View Full Version : Insurance: charge for changing cruising ground - is this fair?

21-10-08, 18:47
Over the last 5 years we have moved our boat from the UK to Greece via the Bay of Biscay. Even though we travelled roughly the same distance each season our premium increased each year. We were told this was to cover the extra cost of returning the boat to the UK as we got further from home. Fair enough.

We decided to bring the boat home to the UK this season via the French canals and notified our insurance company, expecting to receive an adjustment to our premium to reflect the fact that we were coming closer to home.

To our surprise, although we were given a reduction of around £30 for returning to UK waters, we have also been charged an extra £90. We were told that they have charges in place to accommodate passages between cruising grounds.

Itís difficult to see the logic in this. Is this normal?

21-10-08, 19:13
I was charged an extra £229 to sail across Biscay and £160 to sail it back again by GJW. This was in addition to the yearly premium and provided it was straight across and with three RYA qualified persons on board. No extra premium for sailing the length and breadth of the Mediterranian though. It is worth phoning arround at renewall time BEFORE planning a long trip.
I simpathise with you as insurance companies assume they have you by the short and curlies once you are away from home.

21-10-08, 19:33
I've never had an increase from Bishop Skinner, I tell them where i am and they email a new cert. But couldn't get offshore cover without min 3 x experience crew so maybe not quite the same.

21-10-08, 20:27
We use Pantaenius. We weren't charged for crossing Biscay our policy already covered that area, we were charged for crossing the Atlantic (higher risk).

I can't understand why they would charge you more 'to bring the boat home...further away'. However, Pantaenius do charge by the area you are in, based on marine repair facilities and particularly costs. This seems fair. Further away doesn't necessarily mean more expensive though.

21-10-08, 20:28
Clearly every insurance company is different. But the bottom line with all of them is that they do not work on the basis of prejudice or fancy, but on what level of claims they have had in the recent past for any given proposal. So it is hard to argue with them.
For instance, the common requirement for three crew on longer passages, is not because a boat needs three to navigate it, but but because it makes it harder for just two ( husband and wife) to decide that they have had enough, and then let the insurers pick up the pieces.

21-10-08, 21:53
Agreed. However, where do they get their actuarial figures from? Does anyone have a reference or a source?

For example, is it not the case that more vessels come to grief when making contact with that horrible stuff called land than being in the middle of Biscay? So why increase the premium for Biscay?

Is it not the case that a vessel is more likely to be run down by a container ship in the middle of Biscay than on a trade wind passage across the Atlantic? So why increase the premium for the Atlantic?

Why should third party only insurance premiums increase as the cruising range increases? If I have a 25 ton steel yacht I can do a lot more damage - like millions of quids worth - by running riot in a South Coast Marina than I can crossing the Pacific where I am unlikely to enounter anything for thousands of miles.

Before anybody replies, I have put these questions face to face with an experienced insurance broker - he just smiled.

22-10-08, 07:06
I think you are all missing the point - the basic aim of insurance companies is to make money and the more they can charge the more they can make. I don't think anyone can prove that there is any logic behind their increases other then the fact that they think they can get away with it. Has anyone ever had their insurance costs reduced? I have never heard of this happening.


22-10-08, 10:01
We were insured By Bishop & Skinner for the Algarve and Eastern Med with passages to the Acores and Maderia. Just changed our cruising area to the Algarve and all of the Med. Premium has gone down £10 and excess has reduced from £500 t0 £200.

22-10-08, 13:36
have been travelling eastwards across the med, and my insurers have a policy of increasing the premium for every degree eastwards you travel. in other words travelling say from S of F to Greece if you take out your premium based on the final destination, most of the journey you are paying for a cruising area you have not yet reached. It was cheaper to ring up in stages and add another few degrees eastwards to the cruising range as progress eastwards was made.
I did also raise the question as to why it should cost more to cruise Greece than S of F when there was no increase in actual risk because after all, the med is the med. pretty much. I was told it was the extra cost of repairing a boat farther from the UK. Me pointiing out that labour charges in Greece are lower than S of F didn't seem to register.
as said elsewhere, they are there to make money any way they can get away with it.

22-10-08, 17:23
Thanks for the replies so far. I am going to write to them again and try to get them to justify in detail why they levy these charges.

22-10-08, 20:58
I used to use GJW to cover our previous yacht which we sailed around the West Country, Brittany and the Channel Islands, mostly. I found them fine for that. When we bought a new yacht to liveaboard, planning to go to the Med, I got quotes and found that Pantaenius were far better value overall. I paid no more to cross Biscay and I only pay for the cruising area we are in. If I want to pop over to Morocco for a couple of weeks there is a small charge, quite nominal, and on occasions they have waived it. I'm not convinced that GJW are really in that market sector.

BTW - while we were expected to have three crew on board when crossing Biscay, there was no requirement for them to be 'qualified', RYA or otherwise. Which RYA certificate 'qualifies' anyone to cross Biscay?? I think you'll find that the the RYA certs are not actually a 'qualification' in the formal sense of the word since a British yacht does not require 'qualified' crew. How can an organisation 'qualify' someone to do something that requires no qualifications?

23-10-08, 08:19
It was put to me that the main reason for a change of premium is the cost of doing business in the country you are likely to end up having to be sorted out in. i.e. A UK Insurer is much more likely to have an arrangement with an agent in the South of France (and hence lower costs) than, say, in Albania.

Incidentally, we have found that Yachtmaster (http://www.yachtmasterinsurance.co.uk/)can get us GJW cover at much reduced premiums from that we would pay direct.