Yacht Insurance Questions And Answers

Written By: Rob Bowman Apr 11, 2020

yacht insurance questions

SI Yachts is committed to helping our customers through every step of the yacht ownership experience, including recommending insurance agents we trust.

Buying a yacht is one of the most thrilling and rewarding experiences in life. Enjoying the outdoors in total luxury will allow you, your family, and friends to create memories on the water you never thought possible. But for new boaters, or yacht owners looking to make a change, the details of the process can seem slightly overwhelming. This is where your trusted yacht sales professionals from SI Yachts use our decades of experience and customer service to guide you through every step of the process.

Selecting the right yacht insurance for your new vessel is key. While no one wants to think about the absolute worst case scenario at an exciting time, SI Yachts wants to make sure you are prepared for everything. Yacht insurance is important to protect against theft, lightning, fire, and sinking. While rare, these situations can, and do, occur. Having a reputable boat insurance firm behind you can mean all the difference in the end result. Mike Abbott, a senior underwriter for Global Marine Insurance Agency, answers some of the most popular questions below that come from boat owners.

If you're new to boating or looking to upgrade, give the SI Yachts team a call at (718) 984-7676 or by email at Sales@SIYachts.com, and we'll answer all of your questions you might have about the market, the process, insurance, service, and more.

(Seen Below: Mike Abbott of Global Marine Insurance.)

mike abbott global marine insurance

Bio: Mike Abbott has been a Senior Underwriter for Global Marine Insurance since 2000. Mike's passion for the water landed him a crew dream job about "Highlander", a famous yacht constructed by Feadship and owned by Malcolm Forbes. Mike has been so successful in helping to lead Global Marine's yacht business to one of the largest in the country that he has become part owner.

Q: Mike, the first question we always hear from new boat owners is 'Am I required to carry boat insurance?'. What's your answer?

A: From a legal standpoint, boat or yacht insurance is not mandatory. That is unless you have a loan that is using your yacht as collateral. The bank will then require you to have insurance listing them as a loss payee to cover their interest on the boat should something happen. If you're spending the money on a yacht, it only makes sense to protect your investment and yourself from liability. Many marinas will also often require a minimum insurance policy if you want to keep your boat at their facility.

(Seen below: Staten Island Marina, one of the largest and most popular marinas in the Northeast, requires liability insurance for every slip customer.)

staten island marina

Q: After years helping boat owners find the right insurance policy for their needs, what are some helpful tips you can give to those who might be new to boating?

A: The best advice I always tell our customers is to sit down and read your policy every so often. Insurance is one of those things you don't think about until you need it, but it becomes very important when you do. With an investment of a million dollar yacht, it's important to understand your coverage limits. This is especially important for boaters who cruise north-to-south during seasons and may spend weeks at a time on their boat. If your insurance representative is part of Global Marine, they will be happy to answer speak with you about your policy as often as you'd like.

Q: What are the questions you hear most often from boat buyers?

A: When it comes to yacht insurance, most of the time the customers have owned a boat before. Most of the questions revolve around what is an acceptable jump in size. For example, they might own a 40-foot cruiser and they want to purchase a new Absolute 58 Flybridge from SI Yachts. 'What will the carriers allow me to do? Am I properly covered? Does my personal umbrella cover my yacht?'. Obviously these questions vary per customer and it takes a conversation with the client to properly answer each one.

(Seen below: The new Absolute 58 Flybridge is available and in-stock at SI Yachts.)

absolute 58 flybridge

Q: Speaking of umbrella policies, some of our customers user their boats for charter or other commercial business. What's the difference between a bumbershoot policy and an umbrella policy?

A: This is an example of a situation where the experience of our agents at Global Marine really shines with helping boaters through tricky scenarios. An umbrella insurance policy works the exact same way as with your home or car policy. The policy offers excess coverage in case of a major, catastrophic loss. This is generally written over primary liability policies to cover any costs when the primary policy is exhausted.

A bumbershoot policy is a specialized umbrella coverage that is intended for risks associated with wet marine liability, but can also be applied to non-marine risks. Bumbershoot policies offer a broader level of coverage because it is designed with marine-related risks in mind. This type of policy may cover expenses related to collisions, salvage, and other liability coverage. The best thing to do is to give us a call and let us advise you on the best potential policy for your specific situation.

Q: What are the factors that go into determining my yacht insurance cost?

A: There are several factors that go into what your premium might be. Global Marine is committed to helping our customers find the best coverage at the best price possible. Obviously, the type, brand, condition, and cost of the yacht you are purchasing will be a main factor in your insurance costs. Your boating history is also important. If you plan on operating the boat yourself and have no experience owning a boat, you may pay a higher premium. We advise all new boaters to take a boating safety course.

Q: Are boat owners covered if they let one of their friends drive their boat or yacht?

A: I think any boat owner has been in the situation before where one of their friends wants to operate the boat. The general answer here is yes, the boat owner is covered if he allows another person to drive the boat. This doesn't include marine service personnel as they would have their own coverage. The only exception here would be if the yacht insurance policy has a 'Named Operator Endorsement'. If your policy includes this, only the people listed as 'Named Operators' are covered when operating the yacht.

Q: We have some customers who live out their retirement dreams of living on their yacht full time. Are liveaboard boaters covered?

A: Absolutely. It doesn't matter if you plan on living on board full time or part-time, we will have coverage options for you. In fact, yacht insurance becomes even more essential if you are a liveaboard boater since that is your primary residence. The best thing to do is call one of our agents, give them your boat information and the marina you plan to keep it at, and we will work directly with the carriers to find the best coverage.

Q: There are a lot of yacht insurance companies out there. Why should our customers choose Global Marine?

A: We are marine specialists and boaters ourselves. We are heavily engrained in the marine industry whether it's sponsoring marine-related events, boat shows, and events. We are true stewards of boating and the industry itself. So unlike many of the mega-insurance firms out there, we specialize in boats and yachts. We truly understand the needs of boat owners, as well as understand all of the potential risks involved. We are proud to work with over 50,000 boaters to make sure they are all properly covered.

To be connected with a Global Marine Insurance Agent, you can call 1-800-748-0224.