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Old 23 October 2006, 16:16   #1
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Read the small print

My insurance has just been renewed. I stuck with Porthcawl (the broker) as I had been happy last year. I think they changed who the policy was with this year (now with EIS sailplan)... apparently no change to policy terms / limitations etc since last year.

My policy arrived today. I have "Water sports toys liability cover", because despite the fact that I don't have any toys - I quite fancy having a play.

The new policy has some very wording i don't recall from before (I am that sad that I read the policy wording!). My new rules:

Quote:
It is warranted that whilst towing inflatable water sports toys:
  1. All drivers must be over 18 (Not an issue for me - but might be for others on here.)
  2. All drivers are experienced in handling the vessel whilst being used for towing purposes. (seems fair enough - but not sure how you get that experience, or even what experienced means)
  3. A competent and experienced observer is on board the vessel at all times when persons are being towed (again good practice, but no explanation of how competence or experience is to be measured here - and bizzarely they have to be on board but not maintaining a look out!)
  4. Use is restricted to "Inland Non-Tidal Waters includingrivers, lakes and sheltered coastal waters". (To me the terms Non-tidal and Coastal Waters are, contradictory.)
  5. All drivers adhere to the manufacturers recommended towing speeds. (OK no complaints there - my boat probably doesn't exceed them anyway)
  6. All riders will be over 6 years of age (seems reasonable) and riders aged between 6 and 10 years must be accompanied on the inflatable water sports toy be a responsible adult. (this isn't a big issue for me as I don't have any children over 6 years old - it might be for some of you - it seems a bit restrictive to me - surely that experienced driver, and observer can make decisions like this themselves!)
  7. All riders will wear CE or US CG approved impact jackets. (As far as I can see all bouyancy aids conform to the same standard, EN 393, regardless of whether they are designed for "impact" or not. Some impact jackets do not comply with EN393 however.)
  8. Manufacturers general use and safety guidelines will be complied with by all persons. (fair enough)
  9. The vessel will not be sed in areas where this activity is prohibited (fair enough)
It is further warranted that inflatable water sports toys used must be CE or US CG approved. (Now this is where I am really confused. As far as I am aware there is no applicable CE standard, and I can't see any claims on the manufacturers websites - which claim US CG approval.)
I will of course write to PIC asking them to clarify the terms of the policy. However the message here is beware! Check the T&C's and if you policy changes from year to year (even with the same broker) then beware of different interpretations to what is OK.
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Old 23 October 2006, 16:59   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
My insurance has just been renewed. I stuck with Porthcawl (the broker) as I had been happy last year. I think they changed who the policy was with this year (now with EIS sailplan)... apparently no change to policy terms / limitations etc since last year.

My policy arrived today. I have "Water sports toys liability cover", because despite the fact that I don't have any toys - I quite fancy having a play.

The new policy has some very wording i don't recall from before (I am that sad that I read the policy wording!). My new rules:



I will of course write to PIC asking them to clarify the terms of the policy. However the message here is beware! Check the T&C's and if you policy changes from year to year (even with the same broker) then beware of different interpretations to what is OK.


Good advice from yourself, but also the terms of the policy seem to be pretty sensible.
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Old 23 October 2006, 17:01   #3
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Hey,

Mine doesn't allow me to tow any toys. Thats through a broker with Norwich Union.
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Old 23 October 2006, 17:26   #4
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Originally Posted by Stephen-RIB View Post
Good advice from yourself, but also the terms of the policy seem to be pretty sensible.
I agree most of it is reasonable. But some of it is stupid. In particular the "non-tidal" bit and "toys must be CE or US CG approved" both of which appear to make it impossible for people to use it.
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Old 23 October 2006, 17:29   #5
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Originally Posted by Biggles View Post
Hey,

Mine doesn't allow me to tow any toys. Thats through a broker with Norwich Union.
It is an option I pay extra for!

If memory serves me correctly it was NU i was with last year - and I paid extra then. I chose PIC as they gave me this option and the insurer I used to use for my dinghy didn't do towing at all.
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Old 23 October 2006, 18:16   #6
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Whilst on the subject of insurance I am rather concerned by the way they value outboards. It seems all the isurers are the same - they use some book to determine value based ONLY on the age of the engine.

I was horrified to discover my lovely engine only has a book value of £3100 - despite the fact it only has about 30hrs on it. The engine was bought new in 2004 but not fitted until 2006. If my engine was nicked or something what could I replace it with for £3100??? There seem to be very few 2nd hand big outboards around anyway. Even looking on Ebay USA doesn't help!!! A 2004 4 stroke Suzuki 225 is valued at £3600 or something - again a joke!!!

If my boat is a total loss than it's not a problem - an agreed value is paid for the whole thing - but anything else - for example a capsize and beaching - and I just won't get enough. Apparently they are all the same and won't budge no matter what???
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Old 10 December 2006, 05:57   #7
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OK - a brief update:

2. All drivers are experienced in handling the vessel whilst being used for towing purposes.

Insurance Co - say that RYA PB2 is considered "experienced". (Strange don't remember towing any toys!).

4. Use is restricted to "Inland Non-Tidal Waters includingrivers, lakes and sheltered coastal waters".

Insurance Co - confirm that this badly worded section covers use in tidal waters.

7. All riders will wear CE or US CG approved impact jackets.

Insurance Co have given me two contadictory answers. The first said that you must wear an jacket to EN393. When I pointed out that this included automatic gas inflation life jackets which offer no impact protection, and that were totally unsuitable for this application they revised it to say it must be an impact jacket. That they believed any impact jacket sold in the UK through a reputable source would be approved. (This is nonsense - as it only needs to be approved to the lifejacket standards if it claims to provide bouyancy too!)

It is further warranted that inflatable water sports toys used must be CE or US CG approved.

I am still waiting for an intelligent response to this point. Further searching has failed to identify either (a) an applicable standard OR (b) any product that claims to be approved by either. I got the same "buy it from a recognised dealer" waffle again - but it doesn't get round the nonsense policy wording. The initial response suggested that this should also be tested to EN393 (lifejackets!) so I don't have much faith that the insurer understands the issues.
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Old 10 December 2006, 06:02   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nofear
Just found it Norwich Union Sailplan Pleasurecraft Policy There is no mention of headgear just.1.All riders will wear CE or US Coast Gaurd aproved impact jackets 2.It is further warranted that inflatable water sports toys usedmust be CE or US Coast Gaurd Approved. Dont want to digress from the original post though
(quote taken from this thread http://rib.net/forum/showthread.php?t=17220&page=5)

Ask NU to clarify what is meant by CE or USCG approved impact jacket - as there is no standard for Impact Jackets! While you are there ask them the same about the toy - as described above it seems to be made up... ...but might give them a get out clause from all claims. It will be interestign to compare notes!
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Old 10 December 2006, 08:49   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
I was horrified to discover my lovely engine only has a book value of £3100 ... what could I replace it with for £3100???
Talk to Dan Cooper aka riversendmarine / Outboardspares / norfolkboatandoutboardcentre - I'm sure he'll be able to help you out!!!

Andy
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Old 10 December 2006, 11:11   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
(quote taken from this thread http://rib.net/forum/showthread.php?t=17220&page=5)

Ask NU to clarify what is meant by CE or USCG approved impact jacket - as there is no standard for Impact Jackets! While you are there ask them the same about the toy - as described above it seems to be made up... ...but might give them a get out clause from all claims. It will be interestign to compare notes!
Same insurance co. as yourself and i see you have gone to great lenghts to get to the bottom of it with no success i will ask though.I would imagine in the event of a claim you would be quoted the clauses and if your equipment didnt fall into there catorgaries your not insured.The fact the products dont exist is imerterial.
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Old 10 December 2006, 11:42   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no fear View Post
Same insurance co. as yourself and i see you have gone to great lenghts to get to the bottom of it with no success i will ask though.I would imagine in the event of a claim you would be quoted the clauses and if your equipment didnt fall into there catorgaries your not insured.The fact the products dont exist is imerterial.
Are you direct of via a broker? I am going through the broker - and it seems to be adding another layer of complication/confusion to the whole issue (as whilst he is normally pretty good - he seems to be clueless on this issue).

I agree that even if it was impossible to comply with the terms of a policy that it gives the insurer a good argument to get out of the claim. This was exactly why I raised the issue in the first place. A court might see it differently however (there is consumer protection from unfair contract terms) - but going to court to settle a claim is extreme.

Appart from the issue of the towable itself I am now satisfied with the response to the other issues I raised. Even if the original wording was poor/meaningless/different I have clarification in writing which would be my argument in the event of a claim.
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Old 10 December 2006, 12:50   #12
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i Have just renewed with Mardon, tryed Porthcawl but they just keep telling me they where waiting for a fax, any way when i asked about tying up at a marina, first they told me the boat would need to be chained to the pontoon.
When i told them that Northney dont allow that on the grounds that if the rib caught fire they would not be able to move it away from the other boats.
they then took it all back.
Mardon did say that all cross channel crossings and any trips to the channel islands have to be notifyed in advance and the marina name where you tie up.
I did ask the question, if we were on our way home from say jersey and due to bad weather we put in to Alderney and we cant contact you no email, or its a weekend (a bit obvious) are we still covered. No reply.
Is this a grey area.
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Old 10 December 2006, 16:15   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
A competent and experienced observer is on board the vessel at all times when persons are being towed (again good practice, but no explanation of how competence or experience is to be measured here - and bizzarely they have to be on board but not maintaining a look out!)
I think you'll find that an Observer that isn't "observing" is called a passenger!
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Old 10 December 2006, 19:03   #14
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Mardon did say that all cross channel crossings and any trips to the channel islands have to be notifyed in advance and the marina name where you tie up.
I did ask the question, if we were on our way home from say jersey and due to bad weather we put in to Alderney and we cant contact you no email, or its a weekend (a bit obvious) are we still covered. No reply.
Is this a grey area.
I am probable going to insure with Mardon, and crossing the channel was one of my questions. They added it with no hassle and no need to inform them.
They are sending me the paperwork so ill check that.
The only bit they were not sure of is if I could leave the boat anchored overnight or on a mooring bouy.

It does appear to be a problem with most insurance, the other one I found that offered a good policy was craftinsure. They will not insure inflatables but offer a good basic package and will add most things. They include cover for crossings to France.


I think you need to be very careful of what is and is not insured, as they do not make it clear at the time of getting a quote.

Tim
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