Deposit insurance is a hot topic among skippers. On yachting forums, it's frequently discussed whether or not it makes sense to take it out and when it's worthwhile having it. Personally, we definitely recommend it and offer it to everyone, because minor or major accidents at sea or in port simply do happen. But it is good to know how and whether it really works in the event of an accident. So, we contacted our clients who made a claim this year to ask them what happened, how they handled the claim and whether or when they got their money back. Let's see how it turned out.
What is boat deposit insurance and what does it cover?
When renting a yacht from a charter company, you have to put down a deposit. This is a refundable deposit from which funds will be withdrawn in the event of damage to the boat or its equipment. If you want to make sure that you don't lose your money, we offer our clients Deposit Insurance with Allianz Insurance. This covers the partial or total forfeiture of your deposit due to an accident, theft, vandalism or natural disaster, as well as gross negligence, liability and financial loss and even injury to others. It's easy to arrange deposit insurance with us when you book your boat. The price varies according to the purpose of the boating trip, the destination and the amount of the deposit paid to the charter company. Find how much it costs in the table here.
Most common accidents when boating
These are not always major accidents. Minor damages to boat equipment are much more common. Here are specific cases of insurance claims that our clients have dealt with over the last year — in their own words:
- A crew member broke a window.
- The anchor and chain broke off and we lost it.
- Our railings were damaged by another boat when we left the marina, including one post and one bimini pole bending.
- My friend fell on the plexiglass and cracked it.
- We tore the mainsail on a line we hadn't noticed.
- We scratched the fridge when we scraped the ice off it.
- We ran into another boat in the harbour. The gel coat on their bow was damaged. Our boat had a bent rail.
YACHTING.COM TIP: Are you interested in other common accidents and mishaps that occur at sea? Check out our article — The most common reasons for losing your boat rental deposit.
Can boat deposit insurance save you money? And how much?
A common argument of those opposed to taking out deposit insurance is that it is simply not worth it. However, every day things do go wrong at sea. Maybe just a small thing but because boat equipment is so expensive, even seemingly minor damages can add up to astronomical amounts. Here are a few examples where deposit insurance has saved hundreds to thousands of euros.
"A crew member fell on the Plexiglas and broke it. The damage was estimated at 8,000 kuna (1,000 euros)." Vašek
"We tore the mainsail (a line got stuck over it while hauling it up). The renter kept the whole deposit (1,500 EUR)." Mirek
Scraping the bottom, even with a dinghy costs over 100 euros
YACHTING.COM TIP: 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 and what to know more about what is covered, take a look at the top 5 reasons to take out deposit insurance.
How to make a claim with deposit insurance
How is the insurance claim actually managed? What needs to be done? In general, the following two guidelines are crucial:
- Take a photo of everything down to the smallest detail.
- Keep all the papers, documents and certificates they give you.
What claiming on deposit insurance is like in practice: our clients' experiences
And how have our clients fared? They tell us their experiences and advice:
"I contacted the insurance company right after my return, specifically on 22 August this year. After a couple of days, I received a request to add my account number. Then on September 22 came a request for more information, photos and videos. I promptly sent these and the money arrived in my account two days later." Tom
"I reported the incident right away from Croatia and received instructions from the insurance company on what to document, how to take photos. After everything was documented, everything was concluded and the money was quickly paid by the insurance company." Vitezslav
"At the handover at the port, the owner filled out a lot of paperwork and kept the entire deposit. When I got home, I scanned all the papers and sent them to the insurance company, entered the account number and within a week the deposit minus the deductible was in our account." Mirek
"As far as the insurance is concerned, the adjuster I dealt with was great. Allianz wanted a bunch of documentation from me, he stopped them right away, saying that what I provided would be enough (i.e. the report, the charter company's statement, I don't think there was more)." Tomas
Take a picture of everything in detail. It'll make the insurance company's job easier.
YACHTING.COM TIP: Should you take out trip cancellation insurance on your boating holiday or not? Are you one of those people who simply assume everything will work out as planned? We've all heard of Murphy's law, and although 95 % of the time nothing does go wrong, unexpected events can make it difficult or impossible to go on holiday. If this happens to you, you really don't want to lose all your funds. Check out our article on 7 reasons why it pays to take out cancellation insurance.
Reimbursement of damages: when and if the deposit insurance money will come
It is not always possible to receive money immediately. The insurance company is in charge of settling the claim, but we have a special relationship with them, so we push for a quick resolution. We cannot guarantee the exact time for reimbursement, but for some idea take a look at our clients' stories.
"The resolution was fairly quick. I reported the incident on October 11 with photos and all documents attached, a day later I received a confirmation of the case being set up and at the end of October I received the money in my account." Robert
"We waited two months for compensation from the time of reporting it." Václav
"After returning to the Czech Republic we filed the claim, sent the photo documentation and within a month we had the money in our account." Aleš
"I had the money in my account after about six weeks." Tomáš
Whose side is the truth on?
The assessment of damages is usually the responsibility of the charterer. That is why at yachting.com we try to carefully select the most reliable charter partners to avoid abuse, standoffs or fraud. Unfortunately, often the client and the charter company are at the point of taking delivery of the boat, so it is difficult to determine who was in the wrong and who caused the damage. Of course, it can also happen that the charterer tries to blame the client when it is not their fault. However, even the disputed cases below were eventually resolved through the insurance company and the skippers were reimbursed.
"I inspected the propeller of the outboard motor when taking over the boat, there was nothing noticeable on the tip of the propeller from a distance of about 50 cm. That is why I did not take any pictures of it. When the boat was handed over, the damage to the propeller was documented by the charter team — only visible to the naked eye at close range — a nicked blade of about 0.5 mm. I am not aware of contact with any rock or the sea bed." Martin
" What happened was that when we handed the boat over, we discovered that the anode was missing from the propulsion system and the propeller was damaged (probably just from the anode falling off and hitting it sometime during the trip). However, we did not have any incidents during the sailing trip, nor did I note that anything like that happened. I asked the charter company for a photo of what condition the anode was in prior to our voyage but they refused to provide that, saying they didn't have a photo. So they took my deposit. However, the insurance company acknowledged the damage and refunded my money." Tomáš
Expect the charter company to invite a diver to inspect the boat from below in the marina
Isn't it better to take out Insurance directly with the charter company? Definitely not!
Often, the charter company itself will offer you insurance on the spot. Of course, it is up to you whether to accept, but we strongly advise against it. In our experience, these policies don't cover a lot of issues, including such common faults as a blocked toilet or lost boat equipment. However, proper deposit insurance will normally cover these accidents. Therefore, it is better to rely on a partner who has contracts with reputable insurance companies rather than be tempted by an apparently interesting offer on the spot. At yachting.com, you can take out deposit insurance, as well as other insurance policies, when booking your boat, leaving you to enjoy your boating holiday worry-free.