Marine Legal Protection

This is a separate insurance which runs in conjunction with a Nautical Insurance boat policy but is provided by an alternative Insurer. The provider is MS Amlin Insurance SE.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Marine Legal Protection cover for?

Marine legal protection insurance gives you access to marine law experts for practical and financial support to help protect your legal rights. It is an additional cover for your uninsured losses. An uninsured loss is a loss that is not covered under your hull policy.

What do you mean?

As a boat owner you have certain rights and responsibilities regarding the ownership and use of your vessel. If your rights and responsibilities are disputed, marine legal protection is designed to provide practical and financial support for your defence, but you must have a reasonable prospect of achieving a successful defence to receive this support.

Can you give me an example?

You are planning a 14 day family holiday away on your boat in France. You have booked several marina berths in advance, a couple of nights in a hotel and a day at a water park. Two days before setting off you stock the boat with all you will need including food for the first weekend. The next day you receive a call from your moorings operator to tell you that another vessel whilst manoeuvring has collided with yours causing considerable damage. The other boat owner has let his insurance lapse. Repairs to your boat must be undertaken before she is seaworthy (fit for purpose) again. You can’t consider a claim under the policy of the other boat owner as he has no insurance, but you can claim for the damage to your boat under your own policy. Unfortunately, works cannot be undertaken immediately; this may be because the approved repairer already has other commitments or perhaps parts may take a few weeks to be delivered. Either way works will take 7-10 days to complete once started and so you have no choice but to cancel your holiday.

I don't understand why I might need Marine Legal Protection for this?

1) Your boat insurance does not provide cover for consumables or loss of use of the vessel so you have to cover the cost of the provisions on board and your holiday expenses. Because you have had to cancel your holiday at such a late stage you are unlikely to be entitled to a refund against any of your advance bookings. In short, this incident which was not your fault has caused you a lot of expense that you cannot claim for under your boat insurance.

These are examples of what could be your uninsured losses:

  • The policy excess of £200 to claim for the damage to your boat
  • 6 weeks loss of use of your boat whilst the vessel has been awaiting repair or undergoing repairs
  • Out of pocket expenses involved in obtaining estimates for repair and the like
  • Your usual mooring fees that you have still had to pay whilst the vessel has been ashore
  • Loss of family holiday including pre-booked marinas, hotels, etc. that are not refundable

(Uninsured Loss Recovery) These uninsured losses would be considered under marine legal protection.

Could there also be other issues?

Whilst your boat has been away from its usual mooring, the mooring operator has taken the opportunity to rent it out to someone else. When your boat is ready to be returned to its usual mooring there is no space and the mooring operator offers you an alternative that is not acceptable to you. Your agreement with the mooring operator is between you both and does not involve your boat insurer. However, marine legal protection also provided assistance for (Contract Disputes).

2) Whilst you were on board your boat carrying out maintenance below deck your boat is hit hard by the boat in the next berth attempting to moor up. The unexpected thump from the third party boat caused you to fall and injure yourself and throw gloss paint over yourself and or the boats interior?

You may submit a claim for paint damage to personal possessions that are not covered under your boat policy such as the wrist watch that you were wearing or the fixtures that are now sprayed with yellow paint. You can also claim back your uninsured losses related to Personal Injury Pursuit. As self-employed you may not be able to work whilst a broken arm heals and you can claim for loss of earnings.

Prosecution Defence

Prior to the incident as a part of your general maintenance work on board you had several tubs of dirty engine oil, half empty paint tins and a bucket of oily rags on deck ready for disposal. On impact the tubs, tins and rags slip off into the water. You are unaware as you are concerned with the damage to your boat. However, you are prosecuted by the Environment Agency for pollution and endangering marine life. Marine Legal Protection is there to assist and contribute to the legal costs involved in your defence.

So, what's the difference between this and the legal cover in my boat policy?

Nautical boat policies include cover under section B for your legal liabilities. This means if the accident or incident was your fault because you have caused damage to someone else’s property or caused injury to another person, that person can claim against you for the costs of rectifying the damage to property or compensation for injury and other costs such as loss of use of their boat, and claim back legal costs associated with claiming from you. If your vessel sinks you are covered for the costs of removal of wreck and salvage unless this has been specifically excluded by our underwriters. Section B will also cover the costs of defending any claim bought against you by a third party. As standard, Nautical Insurance policies include up to £5 million.

Examples of your legal liabilities:

a) The owner of the boat is responsible for the welfare and safety of his guests or passengers on board. He should keep the boat in a seaworthy condition (fit for purpose) and operate the vessel correctly and in line with Maritime Laws. Where this is not the case the passenger can hold you liable and claim compensation from the owners boat policy under Section B Legal Liabilities for damage to personal possessions or personal injury or death whilst on board.

b) Whilst out on the water you and your boat are involved in a collision with another boat owned by Mr Smith (third party). You receive a letter from Mr Smith holding you liable for the incident and claiming the costs of repairs to his boat from you. You have also written a similar letter to Mr Smith holding him liable for the damage to your boat and asking him to pay for the cost of repairs. Both parties stand firm in their belief as to who is responsible and in order to resolve the issue of liability the case ends up in court. The Legal Liabilities section of your Nautical Insurance boat policy provides cover to meet your legal costs incurred in contesting liability or claiming against the third party (Mr Smith).

What is meant in the policy wording as 'Territorial Limits'? Is this the registration of the vessel, the cruising area, where the vessel is kept or where the customer lives?

'Territorial Limits' refers to the cruising area only for Uninsured Loss Recovery and Personal Injury Pursuit claims.

Is the Marine Legal Protection valid if I’m outside of the cruising range shown on my insurance certificate?

Yes, but only for Contract Disputes, Prosecution Defence and Emergency Expenses claims if you are within countries covered as listed on page 6 of the MLP policy wording. This is an example of uninsured losses. You boat insurance will normally only cover your legal liabilities whilst in the cruising area defined specifically within your insurance certificate, but Marine Legal Protection will consider claims for Uninsured Loss Recovery or Personal Injury Pursuit occurring in the countries covered as listed on page 6 of the policy wording and also for those specifically named in respect of claims relating to your Legal Defence or a Contract Dispute.

How do I make a claim for Marine Legal Protection?

Call the number in the policy wording and quote them your policy number that we have written on the back page. You will be asked for some information and a member of the claims team will refer the details to an appropriately qualified solicitor for opinion on whether there is a reasonable prospect of successfully pursuing or defending the case. A reasonable prospect is at least 50% chance of a favourable outcome for you. Please do not delay in notifying the legal protection claims team, as a late notification may adversely affect their chances of the reasonable prospects of a claim.

Legal Helpline

Only available 9am-5pm, Monday – Friday and excludes normal UK Bank Holidays.