Insuring boats, yachts and ships based in Croatia and covered only by the Croatian compulsory insurance has some pitfalls that apparently not all owners are aware of, warns SeaHelp, Europe’s largest nautical breakdown service. To cut to the chase, Croatia’s compulsory insurance, which until 2020 could also be taken out directly through the port captain, only covers damage for which the policyholder is responsible in the event of a collision with swimmers and divers (coverage amount 3.5 million kuna, about 470,000 euros), but not property damage or personal injury, such as could occur in a collision with a foreign boat, ship or yacht or a jetty.
Liability is not equal to liability
Especially fatal: With the word “liability” one normally associates all damages, i.e. personal and chess damages, which one has caused oneself and for which one can be held financially liable. This is how it is handled in the area of motor vehicle insurance in Germany and Austria and predominantly also in the insurance for yachts, boats and ships in these countries. But because the insurance conditions for the Croatian compulsory insurance in most cases are handed out only in Croatian and English, hardly any owner takes the trouble to read this set of rules, which is already difficult to understand in the native language, and to recognize the pitfalls in the insurance conditions.
Only people in the water are insured, i.e. swimmers and divers
We have translated the conditions once in excerpts for all those who are not aware of the fact of insufficient insurance coverage in reality:
Coverage of the Croatian compulsory insurance
- On the basis of the insurance policy, the insurer is obliged to compensate the damage in accordance with the provisions of the regulations on indemnification under liability insurance, if bodily injury, impairment of health or death of a third party has occurred during the use of the boat or yacht specified in the policy due to the liability of the insured.
- Third parties shall not include any person on the boat or yacht by which the damage was caused or any person on another boat or yacht, ship or other watercraft.
- In addition to the owner of the boat or yacht, the insurance shall also cover the liability for the damage caused by the persons working at the will of the owner while using the boat or yacht, as well as persons transported by the boat or yacht.
Exclusion from coverage
On point 1: In general, first of all, since the GTC of the Croatian compulsory insurance do not explicitly mention property damage, they are also not included in the scope of coverage and are thus subject to exclusion from the covered damage.
To point 2: Thus, personal injuries suffered by crews on board the polluter as well as on board the vessel damaged by the polluter are also excluded.
On point 3: Croatian liability insurance also applies to damage caused by authorized persons on board a ship, boat or yacht, but (see above) also excludes property damage to boats, ships yachts or personal injury suffered by the crew of the causer or the crew of the injured party in the accident.
This means in short: There are no people on board insured, but only outside (in the water), just only swimmers and divers and also no property damage! This circumstance should probably not be fully aware of all policyholders who assume with a liability insurance, similar to Austria or Germany, it are analogous to a liability insurance usual in these countries, for example, for cars all damages covered. In addition, the terms and conditions of the Croatian liability insurance do not express this fact in the desired clarity and a certain degree of interpretation is required to fully understand the content, or the scope of coverage.
This results in two different scenarios for owners:
- You damage with your watercraft another boat, ship, yacht or for example a jetty. This claim is not included in the coverage of the Croatian compulsory insurance (third party liability), the owner must pay the damage out of his own pocket.
- A boat, ship or yacht with Croatian compulsory insurance damages another watercraft. The injured owner can not turn to the Croatian compulsory insurance (liability) in terms of compensation for the damage, because this type of damage is not included in the scope of coverage. He must then take civil action against the person who caused the damage. This is particularly difficult if you have to seek as a foreigner the Croatian jurisdiction to enforce his legitimate claims against the causer of his own damage.
SeaHelp advises: pay attention to coverage
Therefore, SeaHelp recommends to pay attention to the sufficient coverage with the insurance, because even the limited in its amount coverage of 470,000 euros of the Croatian compulsory insurance (liability) is unlikely to prove sufficient in most cases.
Additional comprehensive insurance urgently recommended
In order to be sure of having one’s own damages reimbursed if the causer of the damage only has Croatian compulsory insurance, hull insurance should also be taken out, at least as a precautionary measure. This insurance will then pay the owner for the damage actually incurred and will then take recourse against the person who caused the damage in a second step. This avoids the financial risk of having to sue abroad or being stuck with the damage.
SeaHelp insurance check creates clarity
For this reason, SeaHelp Insurance is once again conducting the “SeaHelp Insurance Check” this year. Owners can scan their insurance policy and mail it to SeaHelp Insurance for a free, no-obligation check of the risks covered by the policy and be advised of any risks. In addition, you will receive an equally non-binding quote about SeaHelp Insurance.
Especially at the beginning of the upcoming water sports season, according to a SeaHelp spokesperson, you should not only keep an eye on the technical condition of your ship, boat or yacht when winterizing out, but also take a look at your insurance documents to see if there is a shortfall in coverage.
Performances also for personal injuries to swimmers/divers hardly sufficient
By the way: All vessels with a power of 15 kW (20.39 hp) must have liability insurance when operating in Croatia. The minimum coverage required by law is 3.5 million kuna, or about 470,000 euros at the current rate. However, even for less motorized watercraft, it is recommended to have not only liability insurance, but also hull insurance.
Sending the insurance policy:
By fax: +43 (0) 6133 6272 90
By mail email@example.com