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Cruising within Italian waters.
If cruising within Italian Waters, be sure to ensure that you have provided your insurer with the following details: -

Engine hp 
Engine Name and Serial Number if possible
Engine trade mark and identification number 
Tender Serial Number
Outboard Motor Serial Number
Outboard Motor hp

This information now needs to be showing on your Italian Liability Certificate. Failure to have this information on your certificate could result in a fine.

How old is your standing rigging.
How old is your standing rigging? It is known among sailor and insurers alike that the standing rigging should be inspected regularly.

If embarking on a long Ocean voyage, Topsail will require an annual rigging inspection by a qualified rigging surveyor to be provided and accepted by us once the rigging is 7 years old. Any recommendations as a result of this inspection will need to be complied with. This will be required until the rigging is replaced.

For more local and coastal cruising, these requirements are more relaxed and every 5 years we will require a rigging inspection by a qualified rigging surveyor to be provided and accepted by us once the rigging is 15 years old. Any recommendations as a result of this inspection will need to be complied with. This will be required until the rigging is replaced.

Travel to dangerous countries.
If you are living in the UK, it may be a condition of your travel insurance policy that you do not travel to areas which the Foreign & Commonwealth office advise against travelling to. If you do so, this could invalidate your insurance and mean any treatment or assistance you require will be your responsibility. Remember to check the foreign travel advice online before you book your trip!


Bilge pumps.
You may find that when you are going to be undertaking an ocean passage on your vessel, your boat insurance company has a requirement for bilge pumps capable of pumping a specific capacity, usually 25 US gallons (95 litres) per minute, to be on board and operational.

There have been incidents in the past where well-built offshore cruising yachts have hit containers or similar, but the pumps onboard have not been able to keep the yacht afloat despite the initial damage only being minor. This resulted in the yachts being abandoned and subsequent total losses when they could potentially have been saved. Fortunately the crews were rescued and there were no fatalities. It may vary depending on your insurance provider, however our insurers have carried out a considerable amount of research into this and now apply it to all yachts going offshore. The pump doesn't need to be installed/plumbed into the vessel, we are happy for it to be mounted on a piece of wood and kept as an additional portable pump.

Don't forget your EHIC.
The European Health Insurance Card entitles EEA & Swiss residents to free or low cost state healthcare when within the countries of the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

This can provide cover for treatment which is necessary for you to continue your trip, and includes pre-existing conditions and some maternity care.

While this will offer you state treatment for any conditions, this should not be used as a replacement for travel insurance because you may be expected to pay a percentage of the cost, or if you require repatriation to your home country for treatment, this will be at your own cost.

Remember to keep all your travel documents, including your EHIC, safe and easily accessible whilst abroad in case of emergency.

Single-Handed sailing.
Plenty of people around the world sail single handed every day, but if you are a novice sailor or you are used to having crew around you often, this may seem daunting. Before you set out, here’s some things you should think about
- Know the boat:
It is paramount whilst sailing that you can make decisions quickly and act confidently, even more so when you are on your own. It may help to do a test run with a crew member on board, but not assisting you. 
- Insurance:
Your insurance provider may have restrictions around how many hours you can sail single handed for – it is worth checking your insurer’s stance on this, as failure to comply with their restrictions could invalidate yacht insurance. It is also a condition of all insurances that you act as responsibly as you would if you were uninsured, meaning you must always try and minimise a potential loss, even if you are alone.

Insurance survey.
Is your vessel due a survey? It is common practise for insurers to require a full out of water survey on a vessel once it reaches a certain age and for this to be regularly updated after that point in order to ensure that the vessel is in a seaworthy condition and that any issues are rectified to prevent a potential loss or dangerous situatioon occuring whilst you are onboard your vessel. We would suggest it is also good practise to have a regular survey, putting your mind at rest that you know your vessel is structurally sound.

Changes to documentation
From April, you will see changes to all your insurance renewal documentation. As part of the Financial Conduct Authority’s move to “increase transparency and engagement at renewal”, the premium that you paid last year will be shown on your renewal documents to allow you to make a comparison alongside a statement to encourage you to consider the renewal proposal and the possibility of switching insurer.

However, be careful that you are not misled by thinking you are paying more than last year. For example, UK Insurance Premium Tax has increased a number of times in recent periods, there may be changes in the value of your craft or you may be undertaking different cruising, so it may not accurately reflect what you paid previously.

Consider the overall service, policy conditions and excess, which makes comparing providers more than just a previous premium comparison.

In summary, it is good thing that you actively seek and consider alternatives, so get other quotes from companies such as Topsail, to make sure you are getting the best overall deal and the renewal is correct for your own circumstances but always ensure comparisons are on a like for like basis.

Medical declaration.
The requirements of insurance companies can differ, but ordinarily it is best for you to declare any conditions that could cause a claim or that the trip is dependent on, as well as any conditions that are ongoing or have caused symptoms requiring treatment. 

A medical declaration is a statement by yourself declaring any medical conditions you currently have and/or any procedures you have had done or are expecting to have, as well as any ongoing investigations. Should you neglect to do this, it could result in any claims that arise from your medical declaration being declined as there would be no cover in place for pre-existing conditions. For example, if you were taking blood pressure tablets and neglected to declare this, there would be no cover in place should you have a claim as a result of your High Blood Pressure.

If you do have any concerns or are unsure as to what you need to declare, you could contact the company to see what they request you to declare and they can advise accordingly.

Shopping around.
When buying a boat or renewing your boat insurance, it is usual for people to seek more than one insurance quotation.Whilst price is a key factor to many, make sure the comparison is on a like for like basis.

Below is a list of some of the things to keep an eye out for when comparing boat insurance: 
Are the boat details identical?
Is the Total Sum Insured the same?
What is the Third Party Liability limit?
What Excess / Deductible applies to the quotes? (If you are happy to bear a higher excess then do not be afraid to ask your insurer. This will likely result in a reduced premium).
What cruising parameters does each quote provide?
Is the cover being offered comparable?

All of the above will impact the cost of your insurance premium, so be sure you have all the details when making a comparison.

Making a claim.
Would you know what to do if you needed to make an insurance claim?

It is always worth making sure that you have the claims contacts to hand before you travel and maybe save it on your mobile or portable device so you can easily access it.

Some insurers will require you to contact them directly and others via your broker or maybe a third party claims handler. The claims handling information will be found within your Policy documentation, but if you are uncertain please ask your insurer before you leave. 

Legal expenses cover.
Many of you will have been given the option of Legal Expenses Insurance when buying insurance for your boat, but is it just another extra cost and is it worth having? 

Cover varies, but as a general rule of thumb it can offer your protection against things such as uninsured loss recovery, personal injury pursuit, contract disputes and prosecutions.

It would take a full article to discuss the benefits so speak to your insurance advisor for them to fully explain what is covered. However, it is a product that is good value for money, so is definitely worth considering. Topsail recommend their Legal Expenses Insurance to their customers.

Airbnb-style letting.
Chartering your boat is a good way of making it “earn its keep”, but be careful if you have paying guests on board or are using the boat for paid accommodation through something like Airbnb or Beds on Board. Make sure your insurer knows about it as it could be considered as a commercial activity and excluded from your policy.

Topsail now provide a Host Insurance covering the boat’s use as Airbnb accommodation and your own insurer may be prepared to extend cover. As always, make sure you check with your insurer beforehand.

Selling your boat.
If you have sold your vessel or are looking to sell it in the future, make sure that you let your insurer know when the sale is completed as you will no longer have a financial interest in the vessel and the policy will no longer be valid.

Depending on how long you have remaining on cover and the terms of your cover, you may be entitled to a return of premium for the time left on the boat insurance policy.

If you have been satified with the service we have provided, then why not recommend the new owner to us. We offer a referral scheme that can save them money. Details of this can be found here.

Optioinal extra cover.
Does your insurer offer any additional or optional benefits? It can sometimes be very worthwhile to pay an additional premium to protect your no claims bonus in the event of a claim, or have your excess removed. If you’re not sure whether it is worth the extra cost, it is worth considering the amount of no claims discount you receive and how your premium would be affected if this was not applicable, or whether you can afford to pay the first few hundred pounds of a claim known as your excess.

Excess waiver insurance.
If you are chartering/hiring a boat, you will more than likely be required to pay a deposit or ‘excess’. While the charter company itself sometimes offers an insurance to cover this, it may be cheaper to look elsewhere.

What are the benefits of a protection excess waiver policy? In the event that you damage the boat and the charter company do not return the deposit you paid, you can claim this deposit off your insurance company to get that amount back, saving you a significant sum of money.

Long-term crew insurance.
If you are under long-term sailing-related employment, did you know you might not have suitable travel insurance?

Many policies have exclusions for personal liability or injury arising out of your employment, or may lapse cover completely. It is important to contact your current insurer and advise them of what your employment involves, to ensure you hold adequate cover. 

Additionally, the Maritime Labour Convention 2014, designed to protect seamen and women, has a number of requirements which a Crewman’s Insurance can provide, such as repatriation to your home country if you are unwell, or compensation payments if you cannot work due to an injury. Details of Topsail's Crew policies can be found here.

Long term travel insurance.
If you are travelling away for a long period, it is imperative that your insurer is aware of this. The longer you spend away from home, the more your chance of having a claim increases.

Many travel insurance policies include limitations to the length of time you can spend away from home and may have additional terms for trips such as these, such as increased policy excesses or exclusions. It is certainly better to be safe than sorry however, so we would strongly recommend finding a suitable insurer.

Using a delivery skipper.
Insurers understand that it is not always possible for you to move your boat yourself, and most will not have an issue with a Professional Delivery Skipper being employed to handle this for you. If you do hire a Skipper, it is very important to ensure that they have suitable insurance in place. Be sure to contact your own boat insurer to rensure you are suitably covered for this.

Dual insurance.
When you submit a claim, often insurers will request that you declare any other insurances you have in place that may cover your loss.

This is because many policies, such as travel, yacht and home insurance, can cross over and cover the same risks. For example, some home insurance policies include cover for items you take from the home when you are travelling, which may also be covered under your yacht insurance policy or yacht travel insurance policy. It is important to find out what cover you have from the policies you hold, to ensure you are not doubling up unnecessarily.

Agreed value policy.
What is an Agreed Value policy? In the yacht insurance industry there are agreed value and market value policies. Most of the UK and European policies are based on agreed value, which is where you set the sum insured based on the current market value of the boat and in the event that the boat goes “glug glug”, it will pay out that amount.

If you have a market value policy, you set out the value and if it goes “glug glug”, the insurer has the right to question your valuation and may make you a lesser offer because they feel that it is not worth what you think it is. 

What to insure your boat for.
Important if you have an Agreed Value policy. 

Now there is a very important message we want to get across to everyone, which could potentially save you money. Make sure the amount you insure your boat for is adjusted each year in line with its fair market value.

The reason it is so important (and many insurers fail to remind you), is that the premium is linked to the sum insured and if you do not adjust your insured value regularly, you are potentially paying too much premium.

Yes, if you have a higher sum and it went “glug glug”, then you would get a bigger payout, but the odds on that happening are potentially far less than the extra premium you are paying each year. So be savvy and check and adjust your value each year.

Reciprocal healthcare.
Many countries around the world hold reciprocal healthcare agreements with the United Kingdom, not just the EEA. This means that if you are travelling in a foreign country and become unwell, you are entitled to medical care at the same level as a resident of that country.

It is important to remember you probably won’t receive care at the level you would expect in the UK, so you should still have a suitable travel or private health insurance in place which covers you whilst at sea too.

Acting as a prudent uninsured.
When loss or damage occurs, you should act as if you are uninsured and take all of the necessary steps to minimise the loss in the first instance.

This involves but is not limited to taking immediate action to protect your vessel from further damage, enlisting help (amateur or professional) to safeguard your boat and equipment, and retaining any broken items for inspection.

Be sure to notify your insurer of any damage at the earliest possible opportunity.

Preparing for a Medical Emergency.
Going on a long sailing trip? There is no need to worry, as long as you have considered the risks involved. You should ensure that there is cover for medical evacuation under the insurance policy you choose, as this means that you will not have to worry about paying emergency transportation expenses with your own money and you can feel at ease when you are in remote areas. 

You should also strongly consider including a medically trained person in your crew, as this can make all the difference in a real emergency situation and make sure you have some medical equipment on board for any initial first aid required. 

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