Should You Insure Your Trip?
Your charter company can and will go to great lengths to ensure that your sailing vacation is all you hoped it would be, but no charter company can ensure that you and/or your crew will not be subject to the slings and arrows of life. Nor, of course, can an insurance company. But travel insurance can make sure that you don’t pay extra for missing all or part of your charter.
Kelly P. Sahner, of BerkleyCare, a third-party insurance administrator that has designed travel-insurance packages for The Moorings, Sunsail, and other bareboat companies, told me that trip-cancellation protection is the major reason people buy travel insurance. This covers you if you must cancel your trip because of the illness, injury, or death of an immediate family member, business partner, or crewmember. Other significant areas of coverage include trip interruption for any of the above reasons, trip delay (for a variety of reasons), medical expenses or emergency evacuation, and baggage loss or delay.
The Moorings’s insurance package, for example, goes into effect 90 days from the day your trip starts (outside 90 days you pay a $300 cancellation fee); the cost is $89.95 per person, and, in this case at least, all members of the charter party (or none) must purchase insurance. The Moorings rep I talked with told me that about 50 percent of charterers elect to purchase insurance; others may be similarly covered through credit-card companies.
Of the charter-specific issues, perhaps the most threatening is the loss of the designated skipper of the bareboat, assuming that he or she is the only one qualified to skipper. I downloaded a travel-protection brochure from www.sunsail.com and found the following statement under predeparture trip-cancellation benefits: “We will pay your additional cost as a result of a change in skipper if your skipper cancels the covered trip for a covered reason and you elect to replace him/her with a skipper provided by Sunsail Sailing Vacations.”
Many bareboat companies have information on their insurance policies on their Web sites. It’s a good idea to check a few to see whether coverage is standard throughout the industry and to identify areas in which you need additional information. If you have any questions about coverage and pricing, call your chosen company’s booking office; most agents are very knowledgeable. Amy Ullrich
Sail Away Archive
Stormy Weather (August 2006)
Charter a Passage (July 2006)
Less is More (June 2006)
Summer in the Islands (May 2006)
Caribbean Notes (April 2006)
Where to Go Now (March 2006)
Wedding Bells (February 2006)
Charter Cats (January 2006)