Helpful advise about insuring your cruising catamaran:
The world wide acceptance of cruising catamarans and the understanding that most of them are at least as safe- if not safer than monohulls, has made finding insurance for them an easy task. There is nothing special about catamarans as a class of vessel regarding current yacht markets.
In the past 10- 20 years catamarans were harder to insure since the underwriters were not as familiar with them. The good news is -allot has changed since then. The risks and frequency off capsizing has been a thing of the past. In fact the risk of a catamaran capsizing (and floating if she is built with foam) is less than a monohull sinking and disappearing to the bottom of the ocean.
While some insurance companies cover only certain catamaran manufacturers others may cover a different group. It can be confusing, which is why you must do the proper research to find adequate catamaran insurance coverage.
Racing catamarans are still in same class of risk as racing monohull as they are boats which are often pushed beyond safe limits. The underwriting market for trimarans is slightly more limited than catamarans but a little research will result in proper coverage.
How much is catamaran insurance?
There are many factors that affect the actual cost of boat insurance. There are however some rules of thumb. Insurance typically runs 1.5% to 3% of the cost of the catamaran.
Catamaran Insurance Underwriting Criteria:
- Generally catamarans will have the same underwriting requirements as similar length monohulls. Owner and operators must show history and/or past experience for which insurance companies will give them credit for.
- Past loss experience: Usually a major factor and an operator with a recent total loss or number of major incidents will have a hard time placing coverage.
- Navigation area: Sailing your catamaran South of Florida / Georgia border during hurricane season (from July 15 to November 1st) will have a more limited market and reflect higher rates. This does not mean that you cannot sail in the Caribbean in August, but the premium might be higher.
- Storm coverage for your catamaran: Special plans are required in wind storm areas. It is very important to conform to your insurance plan submitted to underwriters.
- Politically restricted zones: Sometimes navigation of your multihull in areas such as Cuba, Haiti , Venezuela are more restricted. Colombia is being more accepted lately.
- Charter insurance for your catamaran: If your catamaran is to be operated as part of a business or in charter, underwriting will be slightly higher but you may benefit from the savings of a fleet policy negotiated by a charter company. See if you can get on to their policy.
- Catamaran Surveys for Insurance: Underwriters require surveys when you first purchase a catamaran with the exception if the boat is brand new. Usually a major manufacturers Builder’s Certificate will serve as proof of seaworthiness. Catamarans should be surveyed every 5 to 10 years. All pre-owned catamarans will require surveys.
- Surveyors findings: All surveys of catamarans will have recommendations that the surveyor will note on his report. Underwriters normally require all recommendation to be complied with. This is because the insurance companies rely on a surveyors recommendation for the vessel’s seaworthiness.
- Length, age and condition of your catamaran: Bigger and more expensive cats are sometimes less costly to insure as a percentage of the boat’s value.
- Be very careful in filling out insurance applications for your catamaran. Any factual errors or misrepresentations can void coverage.
- Transatlantic crossings: For catamaran ocean crossings, insurance underwriters normally require a minimum of 3 crew with offshore experience. This is the same for monohulls.
Some Tips about insuring your catamaran:
- Check to see if your newly purchased catamaran has a clean title. If it doesn’t, getting it insured may become a problem
- Go with a reputable well-known boat insurance company to insure your catamaran. You will be more certain to get claims paid against your insurance with a reputable, well-known marine underwriter.
- Avoid lesser known or small marine insurance companies. You may run into trouble if you should ever have to file an insurance claim for your catamaran.
- Don’t skimp on your catamaran’s insurance; doing so could result in higher out-of-pocket costs if repairs to the catamaran are necessary.