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Topsail Insurance

Garold

Well-known member
Joined
24 Jan 2010
Messages
1,314
Location
St Albans
Like most others who insured with Y Insurance, we were a bit surprised when they sold out and in the process sort of transferred us on to Topsail Insurance.
Nevertheless, after many years with Y, and feeling a bit like we had been shunted sideways without any say in the matter, we gave Topsail Insurance a go.
We renewed our yacht insurance with them, and we also took out a 12 months travel insurance with them (before COVID and Brexit we had the cosy arrangement of sailing all summer in the Med, and doing some tropical travel in the winter).

Last year, we managed to travel to India for a couple of months but like most others we were largely grounded after this. I asked Topsail if there could be any refund from our travel insurance because we couldn’t travel And so would be unable to fully use the annual travel insurance any further that year. They refunded approx 50% of the annual premium within a week or so.

Soon after, I enquired about a reduction in our annual yacht insurance because we would be unlikely to leave the yard in Cleopatra for the season as COVID had put paid to our sailing season in the Med. They explained that even though we were stuck in the yard, there were still significant risks especially in the E Med. But even though it was mid term, they did reduce the premium, and refund about 20%.

This week we managed to complete the sale of our yacht. A slick combination of Brexit and COVID finished off our enthusiasm for Med cruising, and we sold our yacht to a Swedish couple. I let Topsail know by email on Friday (five days ago), and today I received a very fair almost pro rata refund of my annual premium into my bank account.

I am not sure how we are all supposed to measure yacht insurance companies, but I guess any interaction is relevant, and over the last 2 years Topsail have been more than fair, very efficient, and frankly have measured up well since we were transferred from Y. I have never had a claim with them but I feel that my experience with them may be interesting to others.

I’m a sucker for good customer service, and I think that Topsail Insurance have delivered.
 

Gary Fox

Well-known member
Joined
31 Oct 2020
Messages
1,493
That sounds promising, thanks.
Y were great when I had an accident in Norway, my boat got fixed very well with no quibbling at all, at a specialist wood boat builders yard, not cheap even by Norwegian standards.
Now I'm with Topsail, I think I will need a fresh survey for the 2nd year which is going to be money down the drain, but I suppose you can't blame them.
We are lucky that Claire Froggat and co. in the office have stayed on with the new arrangement.
She was kind enough to detail the policy changes in words of one syllable, as I don't do insurance brokers' jargon, and to be fair the changes were small.
 

Sandy

Well-known member
Joined
31 Aug 2011
Messages
17,435
Location
On the Celtic Fringe
I contacted them after seeing their add in Flying Fish, the Ocean Crusing Club journal, sorry sir we won't insure you for more than 18 hours single handed.

They are in my 'don't bother' list.
 

Gary Fox

Well-known member
Joined
31 Oct 2020
Messages
1,493
I contacted them after seeing their add in Flying Fish, the Ocean Crusing Club journal, sorry sir we won't insure you for more than 18 hours single handed.

They are in my 'don't bother' list.
Moving from Y to Topsail, my single-handed max hrs actually went up, from 18 to 24hrs!
 

bromleybysea

Member
Joined
10 Nov 2007
Messages
618
Location
Not Bromley anymore, yippee!!
Like others, I was a happy Y customer and was transferred to Topsail. I now have to have a “full, out of water survey” before renewing. This I resent. There is also a clause which says I have to confirm: “The vessel has not been modified (examples include but are not limited to changes to the cabin or hull, changes to the rig or additions such as a stove, generator, mains power or include a different engine than supplied, extending the superstructure, a different rig or sails)” This is a 40-year old boat. I modify it every bloody winter to some extent! Over the years, I have undertaken all the modifications listed, and I’m currently installing a new heater. Do I now have to get approval from the insurers? I don’t have to get my house surveyed when I renew my house insurance or my car either for that matter, though I suppose the MoT might count. Are there any firms that don’t insist on a survey for new business or am I stuck with it? And how much is a survey likely to cost? And will I then have to get the gas installation checked by a competent person? These are serious questions as I sail on a tight budget and might make the difference between being able to get another season sailing in or swallowing the anchor.
 

Fascadale

Well-known member
Joined
15 Jan 2007
Messages
1,415
Location
One end of the A1
On the strength of the OCC connection I also contacted Topsail for a quote for an Atlantic circuit. They turned me down as the boat was not of a large enough value.
 

Gary Fox

Well-known member
Joined
31 Oct 2020
Messages
1,493
Like others, I was a happy Y customer and was transferred to Topsail. I now have to have a “full, out of water survey” before renewing. This I resent. There is also a clause which says I have to confirm: “The vessel has not been modified (examples include but are not limited to changes to the cabin or hull, changes to the rig or additions such as a stove, generator, mains power or include a different engine than supplied, extending the superstructure, a different rig or sails)” This is a 40-year old boat. I modify it every bloody winter to some extent! Over the years, I have undertaken all the modifications listed, and I’m currently installing a new heater. Do I now have to get approval from the insurers? I don’t have to get my house surveyed when I renew my house insurance or my car either for that matter, though I suppose the MoT might count. Are there any firms that don’t insist on a survey for new business or am I stuck with it? And how much is a survey likely to cost? And will I then have to get the gas installation checked by a competent person? These are serious questions as I sail on a tight budget and might make the difference between being able to get another season sailing in or swallowing the anchor.
My boat is 60 yrs old, every single thing has been altered in some way!
 

geem

Well-known member
Joined
27 Apr 2006
Messages
3,443
Location
Anywhere without Covid19
We have been insured with Y for a number of years. Topsail refused us insurance a few years ago as the boat was too old! Now we are with Topsail and they wanted a survey before we launched. New quote from Topsail was very expensive so now we have gone with Pantaneus. They were cheaper. Apparently a number of Topsail/Y customers have made this jump.
 

Tranona

Well-known member
Joined
10 Nov 2007
Messages
33,264
Like others, I was a happy Y customer and was transferred to Topsail. I now have to have a “full, out of water survey” before renewing. This I resent. There is also a clause which says I have to confirm: “The vessel has not been modified (examples include but are not limited to changes to the cabin or hull, changes to the rig or additions such as a stove, generator, mains power or include a different engine than supplied, extending the superstructure, a different rig or sails)” This is a 40-year old boat. I modify it every bloody winter to some extent! Over the years, I have undertaken all the modifications listed, and I’m currently installing a new heater. Do I now have to get approval from the insurers? I don’t have to get my house surveyed when I renew my house insurance or my car either for that matter, though I suppose the MoT might count. Are there any firms that don’t insist on a survey for new business or am I stuck with it? And how much is a survey likely to cost? And will I then have to get the gas installation checked by a competent person? These are serious questions as I sail on a tight budget and might make the difference between being able to get another season sailing in or swallowing the anchor.
You are right. Few insurers will take new business with 40 year old boats they know nothing about without a survey. An insurance survey is not that expensive (although meeting the recommendations might be!). Unlike a pre purchase survey you are the client and the audience for the survey is an insurer who is only interested in whether the vessel is sound and worth the value you place on it. A good surveyor will appreciate that and not nitpick in the way that he might if you were going to use the survey in the purchase process.

Having a good insurance survey puts you ahead when you search the market for the best policy in what is currently a very volatile market. It would not be a surprise if you could get premium reductions that would recoup the survey cost in a couple of years - and the survey is valid for at least 5 years, or even longer if you keep a good record of your maintenance and replacement work.
 
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