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A private yacht charter offers a personalized experience on the water. You can choose how and where you sail, as well as your menu, activities and guest list.
Most charter companies have top-notch experts who can lead you through the process of planning your sailing adventure to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable yacht experience.
If you are planning a yacht charter trip, travel insurance is important to consider. Comprehensive travel insurance plans combine several coverage types together to protect your trip investment, your health and your belongings.
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What Travel Insurance Coverage Should You Buy for a Yacht Charter?
We’ve asked travel insurance experts about what coverage types you should buy so you can have smooth sailing on your next voyage at sea.
Trip cancellation insurance
Chartering a yacht is expensive, and you should protect your trip accordingly.
“Yacht charters typically require a significant up-front deposit, so individuals considering a yacht charter should consider trip cancellation insurance for the trip and travel medical insurance for all passengers on the trip,” says Don Van Scyoc, a spokesperson with GeoBlue travel insurance.
“In the current environment with changing travel restrictions and guidelines, a trip cancellation plan can be used to protect non-refundable deposits and other costs related to the charter,” Van Scyoc says.
Typical travel insurance policies list several reasons you can file a trip cancellation insurance claim to recoup prepaid and non-refundable trip expenses if you need to cancel your trip. Check your policy for the list.
Acceptable reasons for canceling vary by company but often include:
- Illness or injury to you, a travel companion or an immediate family member
- Death in the immediate family
- Death of your travel companion
- Your travel supplier is going out of business
- Military orders
- Severe weather
- Sudden job loss
- Civil unrest
- Serious family emergency
So if a week before your sea adventure, you dislocate your knee and can’t travel, you can file a claim for reimbursement of the pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs you have lost.
“Cancel for any reason” coverage
Not all reasons to cancel will be covered by a standard travel insurance policy. For example, if you read online reviews about the charter company that the food offerings are unappetizing and the staterooms are dirty, these are not reasons covered by insurance for canceling your trip.
If you want a higher degree of flexibility to cancel, consider adding “cancel for any reason” coverage to your travel insurance plan. This upgrade will increase your policy cost by about 50% but will give you the liberty to cancel your trip for any reason, including fear or a big fight with your partner.
To make a “cancel for any reason” insurance claim, you must cancel your trip at least 48 hours before your scheduled departure. Reimbursement varies by policy but is often 50% or 75% of your trip expenses.
Travel medical insurance
It’s especially important if you’re planning a yacht charter to check the travel medical insurance requirements for all the places you will visit.
“Some places like Aruba require each visitor to purchase local Covid health insurance for each trip, even if you’re there for one night,” says Van Scyoc at GeoBlue.
In this case, the Aruba Visitors Insurance is a Covid-only health plan that only provides benefits for medical expenses related to a positive Covid test. “Other medical expenses are not covered,” cautions Van Scyoc.
Even though there’s mandated insurance to visit a particular destination, Van Scyoc says each individual traveling on the charter should have travel medical insurance, so purchasing a robust travel insurance policy is vital.
“Travel medical plans typically have much higher medical limits,” he points out.
The most generous travel insurance plans provide $500,000 per person for emergency medical expenses. They can also provide $1 million for emergency medical evacuation.
Emergency medical evacuation
Having a good exit strategy is necessary for this pandemic environment, where it’s possible that some ports could be unexpectedly closed to private owners.
“The medical evacuation benefits are particularly important for travelers on a chartered yacht,” Van Scyoc points out.
To that end, he says that “travelers should read the fine print of any plans they are considering as some plans determine coverage based on the location of the yacht.”
Lisa Conway, the chief underwriting officer of Battleface, a travel insurance company, points out that yacht charters often spend significant time away from land. Yachts sail in open waters where fast access to medical facilities in the event of an emergency is not readily available. This makes emergency medical evacuation coverage especially important.
“Due to the nature of yacht vacations,” Conway says, “I recommend purchasing a medical evacuation benefit of at least $100,000, as well as coverages like trip cancellation, trip delay, and travel medical.”
Van Scyoc says that an important travel insurance benefit to consider for those chartering a yacht is access to telemedicine consultations with physicians. Many travel insurance companies, including GeoBlue, offer mobile services for policyholders, including medical guidance and consultations for non-emergencies.
“If you’re on a boat, access to a physician may require hours or even days of travel,” Van Scyoc says. “With telemedicine, a covered individual may be able to access care without any interruption to their trip.”
Water activities and sports upgrade
Another consideration when buying travel insurance for yacht charters is adding an optional sporting and adventure upgrade for activities. This can cover activities like scuba diving, a popular activity for guests on a yacht charter.
World Nomads travel insurance plans cover about 200 adventure and extreme sports activities, but not all plans from other companies do.
Check the limits in your plan for hazardous or adventure activities. For example, Van Scyoc says that some insurance companies will only pay claims from a scuba incident if the insured person is certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) or the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), or diving under the supervision of a certified instructor.
Other plans, he says, may include diving depth limits for their coverage. “As an example, some plans will only cover divers up to 10 meters,” Van Scyoc. Be sure to speak with your insurance company to make sure you are covered for activities you plan to enjoy on your yacht charter experience.
If not, see what sporting and adventure upgrades are available to purchase. AIG travel insurance, for example, offers an upgrade to its Travel Guard Deluxe plan that covers extreme activities that are excluded from its standard policy.
What Does Travel Insurance Not Cover?
Conway with Battleface notes that government regulation or prohibition is not covered by travel insurance. So if you are denied entry to a port based on current entry rules and restrictions, you are not eligible to file a travel insurance claim for reimbursement.
Also, if you are severely intoxicated and slip and suffer an injury due to your condition, you will not be covered. Most travel insurance policies have exclusions in the policy language that will not cover a traveler’s negligence due to excessive alcohol or illegal drug use.
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Do Yacht Charter Companies Offer Travel Insurance?
You may be able to purchase travel insurance directly through your yacht charter company. Mitja Mirtič, CEO of Goolets, a private charter expert company in Slovenia, says such plans come in several variations and are very adaptable.
“Our portfolio includes international medical insurance plans, short and long term, which can cover citizens of any country when they travel out of their borders,” Mirtič says.
Travel insurance costs will depend on factors including:
- Charter amount
- Number of guests
- Upgrades purchased to the policy
Goolets, for example, offers travel insurance plans from the International Medical Group (IMG). You can buy a standard Travel Lite plan, the Travel SE plan with additional benefits like coverage for missed connections, or the more extensive Travel LX plan, which offers the most coverage.
Travel LX also offers optional upgrades, like “cancel for any reason” coverage and “interruption for any reason” coverage.
According to Mirtič, the Travel LX plan for a nine-person yacht charter trip costing $35,000, with “cancel for any reason” coverage added, would cost you around 11% of your trip total.