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Old 02 January 2009, 05:53   #1
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A question about insurance?

OK I've seen enough threads and posts for me to ask a question, so here goes.

A lot of RIBnet members normally ask at some point if they can rig a bigger engine (weight/HP) than the manufacturers recomend. Obviously this affects insurance (if you have any) and liability if things are taken to Court.


So what happens if you modify the boat yourself or build your own RIB? Obviously you would have to inform the insurance company you modified your RIB or built it yourself for them to be offer the right cover or for them to refuse cover. But even if cover was refused, this still doesn't stop someone from taking a boat to Sea.

But where would this leave you in a court of law should any type of accident happen? In the same boat as a builder or in deeper doo..doo's?

I guess the best people to ask are the race boat builders as these are often custom built craft.
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Old 02 January 2009, 06:54   #2
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you must be really bored or somefink,come on give us a break
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Old 02 January 2009, 07:34   #3
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As part of my old job (insurance broker) used to be to arrange marine insurance ( for individual boats & dealers) I'll give it my opinion .

We used to fund that most insurers in the UK are more concerned with max speed & where its being kept ( most claims are theft / malicious damage related , very few for real full on boating accidents - by number, not cost). We used to have to explain that to ask for more money when the max speed went over 50 mph ( yes they didn't understand knts ! ) was daft as depening on all sorts of things the same 2 boats with the same HP/ engine may or may not hit the same top end ( especially in RIBS where alot of 6m boats hover around that level WOT) And as you say for one offs its all very very subjective - there fore costly for insurers to think about.

As a result they take a broad brush approach - most are 100% standard and for anything not charge an extra £50-£100 a year ( more as a token - in claim / loss ratio situation its worthless)

Most of the proposal forms (of the few that exist) dont ask for max HP of the boat), for example the Nav & Gen wording exludes under the whole policy :

the cost of making good any defect in repair
or maintenance, resulting from work carried
out by any person employed by you.
• the cost of making good any fault or
damage arising from any fault or error in
design or construction.
• replacing, repairing or renewing a faulty
part, faulty design, faulty construction or
defective materials. - Can you class 250 hp on a 5m Rib faulty design ?

But under the personal accident section excludes :
wilful exposure to needless risk

So it would ( as I understand in the UK ) come down to the insurer ( the burden of proof is technically on them, but in real terms it will be down to you) or you proving you haven't had cover excluded under these type of wordings.

In these cases a good broker is worth thier weight in gold as they can get very technical on these wordings on your behalf (although remember they dont have to - hence get a good one! Ask them exaclty how they would handle claims when you buy the policy) .

So an extra 5kg / 10 hp on the transome probably wont make a differance ( you may to prove it !) , but you could argue that having en extra 150hp on the back (over the max recommended -its only recommended after all ! ) doest make a bugger of differance to it getting nicked as long as you told them up front & they charged you correctly.

You can get into long arguments over the the 'disclosure of facts' under the idea of 'upmost good faith' if you are not 100% honest , but generally you'll get 90% of things covered under std policies & the extra 10% you'll get covered but you may well have to pay that bit more for it.

If you are really bored have a read of this

http://www.navandgen.co.uk/NR/rdonly...YMBNG87904.pdf

and see if you can find any exclusion for extra power / bigger engine . Its very hard for an insurer to write this in otherwise they could insist you have x number of red flares on the basis the boat may have been salvagable if the RNLI found you sooner etc - just unworkable & too costly for an insurer to administer. A lot of polcies ask that there is a 'competent person' onboard the boat , then will state thisis considered someone with at least x years experience - again nice and vague so they can argue with you if you are a dick & taking the piss!

Legally you will find most harbours/ marinas insist ( on paper at least ) that boats using them carry liability cover to a certain amount - but again virtually un-enforcable for visiting boats.

Hope this helps & yes I am this bored in the office today !!
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Old 02 January 2009, 07:58   #4
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That insurance schedule looks like it's biased towards yachts, and any motorboat/rib policy that I've had has always asked for max rated hp of vessel, and size of motor!
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Old 02 January 2009, 08:12   #5
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Its just one example that can be used to cover a RIB - each one will have slightly differant wording around the same exclusions.

Just my ex-professional thoughts !
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Old 02 January 2009, 09:45   #6
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http://www.noblemarine.co.uk/pdfs/nu_policy.pdf

Noble marine ( norwich Union ) policy - specific for Ribs apparantly. Still no mention of no cover if fitted with bigger HP than 'recommended' .

http://www.towergatemardon.co.uk/PDF...olicy-0108.pdf

Towergate - largely pwned by NU / AXA / RSA - no mention

As long as you tell them & they know, & accept it - its back to interpretation of the points above.

I'm sooooooo bored - can anyone tell ?
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Old 02 January 2009, 10:14   #7
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Just got of the phone to a pal of mine, who tells me that he was advised of the following by his broker...

"if you accept that the exceeding the max hp rating of the vessel is illegal, under the terms of the CE regulations, then the insurance company would be within their rights to refuse your claim as the vessel had been operated in an unlawful manner".
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Old 02 January 2009, 10:25   #8
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Just got of the phone to a pal of mine, who tells me that he was advised of the following by his broker...

"if you accept that the exceeding the max hp rating of the vessel is illegal, under the terms of the CE regulations, then the insurance company would be within their rights to refuse your claim as the vessel had been operated in an unlawful manner".
Dirk - from memory the RCD refers to selling boats not using them. So provided you put the engine on yourself that doesn't stack up - likewise with DIY, commercial and raceboats which are out with the RCD.
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Old 02 January 2009, 10:33   #9
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Dirk - from memory the RCD refers to selling boats not using them.
I can assure you that isn't correct!
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Old 02 January 2009, 10:49   #10
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Taken from the RYA website!!!!

"Virtually all recreational craft built since 16 June 1998 and intended for sport and leisure use, may only be placed on the EEA market or put into service within the EEA if they meet the essential safety requirements set out in the Recreational Craft Directive 2003/44/EC.

These regulations apply to all recreational craft between 2.5 and 24 metres in hull length whatever the means of propulsion. They may be fully built or partly completed; constructed within, or imported from without the EEA. The builder, importer or owner, or the person putting the craft into EEA service, (the responsible person) has a legal obligation to ensure that the craft meets the relevant requirements and to carry out the appropriate CE marking".

All work done to existing craft, from changing a switch, to re-engining has to conform, whether the work is done by the owner, your next door neighbour, or a professional. I don't reckon anyone build a boat/rib etc that totally conforms, mainly due to minor infringements, but I reckon overpowering a craft would be pretty high on the list, in the event of a claim!
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Old 02 January 2009, 11:10   #11
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I think its been on here before , but I think this applies to commercial sales not - private to private once a 'craft' has aready been entered into service.

Lawful use - ie not drug running / murder / theft . Lawful manner - not speeding etc - the key would be the defination of use/manner under the policy.

Still think youd be fine with a bigger engine as long as you told them.

Which type of law - any lawyers care to clarify ?
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Old 02 January 2009, 11:42   #12
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I think its been on here before , but I think this applies to commercial sales not - private to private once a 'craft' has aready been entered into service.

Lawful use - ie not drug running / murder / theft . Lawful manner - not speeding etc - the key would be the defination of use/manner under the policy.

Still think youd be fine with a bigger engine as long as you told them.

Which type of law - any lawyers care to clarify ?
I fully agree - look at all the modded cars and bikes around. I had no problem insuring a Rangie that had all sorts of changes including a 4.6 engine.

A mate of mine had a drag car he used on the road - a Ford Mercury pickup with a V8 chevy putting out 800hp - fitted with nitrous and all sorts of goodies!!!
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Old 02 January 2009, 12:33   #13
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Lots of useful info there guys. So providing you either get the manufacturers to up the engine rating on your vessel or get the insurance company to accept there is an overpowered/overweight engine stuck on the transom you run the risk of having your ass sued or not being covered by having no insurance.

But if you build you're own or carry out substantial mods to an exsisting brand, any manufacturer will tell you to do a running jump when you've told them what you've done so would become a custom build. Would the insurance company also tell you to do a running jump too, or would they just insist you're boat is CE complient?

And in the case of no insurance and in a court of law I guess evidence would be taken from the MAIB report?
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Old 02 January 2009, 13:53   #14
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I fully agree - look at all the modded cars and bikes around. I had no problem insuring a Rangie that had all sorts of changes including a 4.6 engine.

A mate of mine had a drag car he used on the road - a Ford Mercury pickup with a V8 chevy putting out 800hp - fitted with nitrous and all sorts of goodies!!!
And a kid up my road has a pogo stick with an uprated spring, but wtf has that got to do with this thread?
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Old 02 January 2009, 14:01   #15
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And in the case of no insurance and in a court of law I guess evidence would be taken from the MAIB report?
Maib reports contain opinion not evidence.

I would be most concerned about a police prosecution for manslaughter in which case, can I comment that you seem to be coming at this from the wrong standpoint - this seems to be "how can I legally 'get away with' running an overpowered boat" rather than "how can I add appropriate power, with any necessary engineering, stability etc improvements to make it safe and avoid the accident".
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Old 02 January 2009, 14:13   #16
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And a kid up my road has a pogo stick with an uprated spring, but wtf has that got to do with this thread?
It is about insurance companies views - the car market is a good example - modified pogo sticks aren't!!!
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Old 02 January 2009, 14:39   #17
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Taken from the RYA website!!!!

"Virtually all recreational craft built since 16 June 1998 and intended for sport and leisure use, may only be placed on the EEA market or put into service within the EEA if they meet the essential safety requirements set out in the Recreational Craft Directive 2003/44/EC.

These regulations apply to all recreational craft between 2.5 and 24 metres in hull length whatever the means of propulsion. They may be fully built or partly completed; constructed within, or imported from without the EEA. The builder, importer or owner, or the person putting the craft into EEA service, (the responsible person) has a legal obligation to ensure that the craft meets the relevant requirements and to carry out the appropriate CE marking".

All work done to existing craft, from changing a switch, to re-engining has to conform, whether the work is done by the owner, your next door neighbour, or a professional. I don't reckon anyone build a boat/rib etc that totally conforms, mainly due to minor infringements, but I reckon overpowering a craft would be pretty high on the list, in the event of a claim!
...mmm the directive itself uses the phrase "on the market and put into service" rather than OR. Also the directive explicitly states:
Quote:
Whereas this Directive does not contain any provisions directed towards limiting the use of the recreational craft after it has been put into service;
From the RYA's guidance manual:
Quote:
Putting into service
Put into service means the first use by the end user but does not include boats temporarily put into service for
reasons of tourism or transit.
Placing on the market
Placing on the market means the first making available against payment or free of charge.
so I still think ongoing compliance is not mandated.
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Old 02 January 2009, 15:41   #18
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If you kill someone through sheer laziness then I guess you will still be prosecuted if you have insurance or not ( like cars).

Its always a subjective view if any mod/ engine / HP contributed to a claim ( seems we are all mostly talking about liability cover)will increase risk.

Heres one - what about underpowered boats that could be considered dangerous ??? No one dictates you must have at least Xhp Auxillary, or that in you SIB you canonly go 1/2 mile offshore as you only have 3.hp - you'd still be insured.

You also need to consider that insurance companies are run by pencil pushers not boaters. Does your insurance company ever ask if you have a 2st or 4st ? Nope - they rate forst on value then location. Liability claims are rare and usually insurnace companies cant avoid paying the really big ones . I'd have to check up , but I dont hink they have the same legal liability as under the road traffic act.

Again - just tell them & let them decide. They cannot decline a claim if they issue cover & are in full possesion of all material facts (thats anything that might 'reasonably' be expected to be disclosed that could affect the risk they are covering - ie avoid them being selected against by way of certainty. Remember insurance covers unexpected events)
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Old 03 January 2009, 10:23   #19
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It is about insurance companies views - the car market is a good example - modified pogo sticks aren't!!!
Ok, how about this as an example. My mates stepson crashes his Impreza through a garden wall in Bournemouth a couple of years ago, no alcohol or speeding involved, just a pure accident, he writes the car off, but the insurance company refuse the claim as he neglected to tell them that he fitted different wheels/tyres.

18 months later he's still fighting with them, and still paying the finance on the motor!
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Old 03 January 2009, 12:03   #20
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That's the whole point - as long as you let the insurance company know you should be ok!!!
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