Where does the responsibility for a boat write-off lie? RYA paralegal Lucy Rutter has the answer
Who owns a boat write-off?
I wonder if you could offer me some advice regarding an ongoing insurance claim.
I was paid out for my vessel after it was declared a total loss and was told to collect my personal belongings because the insurance company would be disposing of the boat.
Six months later, however, I have been informed that the boat wreck is still my responsibility.
Do you have any idea where responsibility for a write-off lies?
The Royal Yachting Association’s paralegal, Lucy Rutter responds:
Who is responsible for the disposal of a boat where a claim is settled as a total loss should be set out in the insurance policy terms and conditions.
If who is responsible for disposal is not expressly stated on the discharge form and if it is not covered in your terms and conditions, I’d contact your insurance company directly to confirm the position.
However, you should really be aware of your obligations at the time of obtaining the policy or seek clarity at that time if it is not very clear.
We understand from our Royal Yachting Association insurance partners, Bishop Skinner Marine that, in most circumstances, insurers will normally arrange for the disposal of the wreck on behalf of the policyholder and the cost be accounted for in the pay-out.
But this may vary between insurers and their policy wording, so you should ensure you’re aware of all terms and conditions before signing up to the policy.
Make sure you're covered
Here’s my advice for people looking to buy older/project boats and asking themselves: ‘Do I need boat insurance?’ Before buying…
For further information the Green Blue has published some guidance on End of Life Boats on their website thegreenblue.org.uk.
RYA members can benefit from additional advice on this subject and other marine related matters as part of their membership. They should contact the legal department on 02380 604223 or email: email@example.com
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