Just what is a yacht form? The insurance industry uses the law of large numbers to make money by insuring as many of what the numbers tell them to insure. How do you get a large number of boat owners to buy your insurance? You make the policy as generic as possible and throw in some goodies like personal effects coverage, pollution liability, uninsured boater coverage and towing assistance. 

These all sound great, but personal effects are already covered by your homeowners insurance. 

Pollution coverage is liability only and most personal boats carry very little fuel and literally no heavy oil products so the insurance industry is willing to take that chance. Uninsured boater insurance? I have never seen a single claim made on that coverage.

This is a fact: Yacht policies take all or at least most vessels that apply for coverage. This one-size-fits-all coverage approach allows insurers to fill their coffers.

Now let’s look at the commercial hull and P&I forms for real commercial vessels. First of all, the commercial hull insurance form is actually a separate policy from the liability form or Protection and Indemnity (P&I). Is the hull form a take-all type of insurance? No. Each vessel is underwritten by a knowledgeable ocean marine insurance underwriter who asks for a lot of documentation while considering if the hull is a good risk. 

The types of vessels and what they do for work are varied.

Then, depending on what equipment is on the vessel, the policy may need to be what’s called “manuscripted” to add or take away coverage that needs to apply correctly.

The same underwriting treatment goes for P&I. The policies need to be tailored to the exact work of the vessel, the crew and any others aboard the vessel. 

Cargo is another consideration.

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