Years ago you could take out a cover note when buying a new boat – it was a service you could organise over the telephone and it gave you insurance cover for about a week. Long enough to let you get the boat home, organise the paperwork and secure coverage for the remainder of the year. But things have changed.
With the advent and convenience of mobile phones, the web and online applications, pay by the month or annually, the cover note is now an historical artefact of financial transactions. What does this mean to the boat buyer? Irrespective of whether you buy a new or pre-owned boat and irrespective of whether you bought it from a private seller, an auction house or a licensed boat dealer, you become responsible for that boat the minute you become the owner. It therefore is essential you arrange insurance cover for it immediately and your first place to start is with a specialist marine insurer like Nautilus Marine.
The reason? If you have an existing boat policy, but no longer own that boat, Nautilus Marine will give you 21 days to update them about the details of your new boat and will provide coverage in the interim. If you did not own a boat before or if the policy has expired, you can arrange new cover immediately online 24 hours a day, or by phone from 7.30am to 7pm.
Nautilus advises that some people get caught out thinking an insurance policy covering the boat taken out by the previous owner will cover that vessel now that it is with you, the new owner, until you change details over.
Not correct. Any cover held by the person who sold you the boat will terminate at the point you become the new owner. With the capacity to take out insurance 24 hours a day (provided you have internet access), there’s no reason whatsoever to drive off with your new boat behind your car without it being covered by insurance. And also remember, your car insurance will not cover the replacement of your boat if you become involved in an accident on the way home from the seller’s place.
Nautilus Marine advises it is a good strategy to telephone before finalising arrangements to buy the boat. That way you can confirm the boat is one the insurer will cover under its policies and there is nothing precluding you from becoming an insured party. It’s also a good idea to check the Personal Property Securities Register to see whether there are any outstanding debts or encumbrances on the boat you are considering buying.
The register is run by the Australian Government’s Australian Financial Security Authority. Its database will show if there is debt registered on the PPSR for the vessel. Why is that important? Well if the seller is leasing or buying the boat under some financial arrangement when you purchase it, there is a very real chance a finance company listed on the PPSR can take the boat away from you if the seller fails to complete his or her contractual obligations.
You currently can undertake a PPSR search online for $2 or have a service centre conduct the search for you at a cost of $7. You will need to provide the hull identification number.
Two key points to note: the PPSR will not show whether the outboard motor is under a finance arrangement – you need to undertake a search by ‘individual grantor’. Nor will the PPSR confirm whether or not the vessel has been stolen.
The process for checking the register is explained online – just search for PPSR. Special conditions and excesses should always be explained clearly in your insurance policy’s product disclosure document. Always check your PDD and if you have a query, ask for clarification.
If you need further information, you can contact Nautilus Marine Insurance on 1300 780 533 or mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org for any boat insurance requirements.