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Travel insurance: When sports skippers go on vacation

The vacation season is approaching. For many, this means spending a few days or weeks on a chartered boat. However, travel insurance is often neglected when planning a summer break – a topic that can save money and nerves in an emergency. What insurance do boat vacationers in Europe really need? SeaHelp clarifies this.

If you’re planning a boat trip in the summer, there’s no getting around skipper liability insurance. This covers the policyholder’s legal liability as the charterer and skipper of a yacht worldwide.

As a rule, charter vessels are insured against both liability and hull damage. However, skipper’s liability insurance is an important supplementary cover for skippers and charter crews. In certain cases, it can happen that the yacht liability or hull insurance of the charter yacht does not pay out or the amount or scope of cover is too low. This is where skipper liability insurance can step in.

Charter deposit insurance can also provide good service. This comes into force if damage occurs to the chartered (and fully comprehensive insured) yacht during the trip and the charter company can retain all or part of the deposit in this case. It is precisely this financial risk that is covered by the charter deposit guarantee – ideally with no excess.

Really important and indispensable is international travel health insurance

However, things get interesting when it comes to personal, so-called travel insurance. Sports skippers and their crew often have a lot of catching up to do here. “The only really important and indispensable insurance in this context is health insurance for travel abroad,” says Karolina Wojtal, lawyer and co-director of the European Consumer Center Germany (ECC).

“Whether for a summer vacation or simply for a short trip to Poland or Holland. You don’t expect it, but life sometimes plays out differently. In the event of a medical emergency, this insurance is worth a lot.”</em

Although (at least the German) health insurance card is automatically the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). This means that in an emergency – depending on the country you are traveling to – you are effectively a Spanish or Italian patient. The card should actually be used to bill patients directly, but unfortunately this rarely works, says Karolina Wojtal in an ECC interview.

The patient often has to pay in advance. In addition, the services covered in the EU countries are not standardized, which leaves gaps. Back in Germany, patients may then be stuck with the costs because the treatment provided in the country of travel may not even be covered by health insurance.

In extreme cases in particular, this can easily add up to four-figure sums, according to the lawyer. And these costs would definitely not be covered by statutory insurers. In this situation, international health insurance would come into play. And for a family, this is already available for less than 100 euros a year.

There is no general recommendation for travel cancellation insurance

“Unlike international health insurance, it is difficult to make a general recommendation for cancellation insurance,” says Karolina Wojtal. “We at ECC recommend this type of insurance if a) children are traveling with you, b) you are planning the trip well in advance and c) it is also very expensive”. This is because without insurance, the loss is often almost the entire price of the trip if you cancel at short notice – many people’s travel funds are then simply empty and their annual vacation is completely ruined.

However, cancellation insurance is not a “free ticket” if you simply no longer want to travel for personal reasons. “There are clear conditions, which vary from insurer to insurer, but you can break it down to the keywords ‘unforeseen illness’, ‘accident’ and ‘death in the family’,” says the ECC lawyer. For each of these cases, proof is required for submission to the insurance company.

Less recommendable is travel interruption insurance, which only makes sense if it is included in the cancellation insurance, says Karolina Wojtal in the ECC interview. As a stand-alone product, it is simply too expensive and a trip interruption does not usually lead to financial ruin. On the other hand, luggage insurance should be mentioned in this context, which is only worth considering for valuable special luggage.

Passenger accident insurance, which covers accidents involving the skipper and/or crew, makes sense

“Finally, I would combine travel liability insurance and travel accident insurance,” says Wojtal. This is because, as a rule, the insurance policies you have already taken out in Germany also apply abroad. Passenger accident insurance is an exception here. This covers accidents involving the skipper or the skipper and crew (according to the crew list).

Not only accidents with permanent consequences or death, but also recovery costs in the event of a heart attack or stroke are covered. In the event of a claim, the sum insured is divided by the number of persons registered. If only the skipper is insured, he is also entitled to the full sum insured.

SeaHelp contact person for insurance:

Robert Perger

Tel: +43 (0) 7617 – 21921

Yacht insurance | Charter insurances | Free no-obligation quote. Offer

More information on travel insurance from the European Consumer Center Germany, c/o Zentrum für Europäisches Verbraucherschutz e. V., Bahnhofsplatz 3, 77694 Kehl, Germany, phone: +49 (0) 78 51.991 48-40, e-mail:, website:

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