5 reasons to take out deposit insurance

Are you hesitant about whether deposit insurance is worth it? In our experience, it’s a definite yes! Not only will it save you nerves, but also a ton of money. So, why exactly should you get deposit insurance?

When it comes to deposit insurance, sailors fall into 3 categories. The first are those who always take out insurance because of their personal experience of it really paying off. The second group are those who just fundamentally reject all insurance no matter whether it is in life or at sea. Usually, they’ll reject deposit insurance until the day the charter company takes it all. The third group are the sailors who are on the fence, either unsure or don't really know what it’s all about. If you’re undecided, here are the top 5 reasons to take out deposit insurance.

1) Protection against theft and vandalism

We hope it never happens to you, but unfortunately these things do occur — thieves don't avoid yachts either. Sometimes equipment goes missing from the deck, other times it’s fenders or even electronic devices. Deposit insurance also covers you against damage to or theft of equipment on board. It’s unlikely that you’ll get graffiti sprayed on your boat (although you never know), but other forms of minor vandalism are commonplace in marinas. And you probably don't want to spend your vacation worrying about what will happen when you’re away from the boat.

Ships in the marina.

2) Protection against wear and faults

If you rent a boat that was produced this year, you don't have to worry too much about anything breaking. But with a boat that is a few years older, a minor fault is much more likely. Most charter boats are in operation all season long, with sailors from all over the world taking turns on them. Unfortunately, not everyone is as kind as they could be to a rented boat. While it may, in reality, just be wear and tear, or material fatigue caused by repeated use or lack of maintenance, any defect found can result in your deposit being forfeited. Simply anything discovered when returning the boat (check-out) is the responsibility of the skipper who rented it last. 

Charter companies are usually adamant on this and, rightly or wrongly, you’ll end up losing your deposit. 

If you don't want your memories of a wonderful sailing trip soured by an argument with the charter company, make sure you insure your deposit. Even if you can't reach an agreement with the charter company on the spot and they insist on taking your deposit despite having insurance, it's okay. Just provide proof of the deposit to the insurance company on your return and they’ll reimburse you. You won’t lose a thing.

As one of our captain’s recalls: “Once, at check-out the charter company wanted to take a damaged lifebuoy buckle off the deposit. We hadn’t even touched it and it was obviously just wear and tear of the material due to salt and UV rays. However, as we had deposit insurance, we let it go and left them to do whatever they wanted to sort it out. In the end, they didn't charge us anything extra.”.

The rope broke.

3) Protection against unexpected effects of weather and sea

It's a beautiful day, you're cruising around the islands with your family, and suddenly a storm hits with wind gusts of 40 knots. Whilst reefing to save your crew, the line snags, the sail rips, you try to anchor in the nearest bay but then the anchor drifts, bites, you are blown onto the rocks, the anchor winch doesn't hold, you lose the anchor, and in the midst of all this someone grabs the rail hard and rips it off... This is a real possibility at sea. Without deposit insurance, you'd be paying more in this situation than it costs to charter the boat for the entire week. One of our clients had the experience that after their mainsail was torn, the charter company took the entire 1,500 Euro deposit. Deposit insurance will also protect you against the possible natural disasters that are more and more commonplace in the Mediterranean. For example, in 2020 Cyclone Ianos destroyed several vessels in ports in Greece. 

Ships after the Medikan in Greece in 2021.

Ships after the Medikan in Greece in 2021.

4) Protection against human error on all sides

Despite keeping a careful look out for boats around you, and adhering to COLREG and all your strengths, the occasional collision can still occur. Not everyone knows the rules or are able to react quickly when sea conditions deteriorate. Fortunately, deposit insurance covers you even if someone crashes into your boat — both while underway and in port.

However, damage may not always be caused by the other party, but by you or a member of your crew. No one is infallible. Make sure you are 100 percent confident in port manoeuvres, especially when the wind is carrying you onto the wharf or onto another boat. Drop your guard for just a moment and the gelcoat could get scraped. The most common damages when manoeuvring in port are a scraped hull, a mooring line getting tangled up on the propeller, or a bent railing when pushing the boat. Insuring the deposit will prevent you worrying about financial loss, allowing you to manoeuvre in peace.

The most common causes of deposit loss are dropping the outboard motor into the sea or losing the dinghy. Other common causes are a clogged toilet, a broken hatch because you're pulling the genoa out and the sheets get stuck on the hinges, a burnt out anchor winch because you didn't give it a break to equalise tension, or a scuffed or broken rudder blade when no one was keeping an eye on the sea bed...

A man repairs the damaged gelcoat on the hull.

A scraped gelcoat is one of the most common causes of losing your deposit.

5) Protection of interior equipment

Concerning damages to the interior, other frequent claims are due to broken oven doors, smashed or missing dishes, overturned cockpit tables and ripped out locker hinges. As one of our captain’s illustrates, “I like sailing against the wind, but it comes with a bit of tilt. Twice now we've broken all the plates because someone didn't completely close a cabinet. We did a U-turn and the shards flew all over the saloon.”.

Kitchen on board a sailing ship.

How does the insurance process work?

It's a simple to do online in 3 easy steps:

  1. Choose your boat.
  2. We recommend an insurance policy for you.
  3. Make the payment.

And it’s as simple as that. You’re insured and won’t be losing your deposit.

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FAQ The most important things about deposit insurance