Question:  When is a £5,000,000 (or £10,000,000 for that matter) limit of Public Liability Insurance worth only £1,000,000?

Answer:  When your insurance provider applies restrictive inner limits to your Shipwrights Insurance.

We are seeing examples of this on a weekly basis when we receive enquiries from shipwrights for quotations of “comparative” third party liability cover.  So, where a shipwright may think they have the £5,000,000 level of insurance they are required to hold by the harbour or marina they are working in, they are actually carrying less than the stipulated cover when they are conducting certain activities; here are 5 reasons for you to check the small print in your insurance and speak to IRCM if you think you and your cover are compromised:

  1. Restrictions on Length of Vessel Worked on:  Some insurers have stopped noting the maximum length of vessels worked on by their policyholders; but not all.  So it’s worth checking your schedule to see if your insurers have imposed a limit; this might typically be 30 metres but we’ve seen limits much lower than that.
  1. Heat Work Limitations:  Assuming you’ve actually got cover for any hot work that you carry out (and remember to check your insurers’ definition of heat work as this is likely to include the use of grinders, soldering irons, heat guns, disc cutters and gas space heaters; not just welding) your insurers may have imposed a cover limit of only £1,000,000 for claims arising from this activity, potentially leaving you significantly underinsured.
  1. Height Work Restrictions:  You should check your policy small print to see if any conditions or restrictions have been applied to your cover regarding work carried out above ground level.  It’s not uncommon on Marine Trades policies to see limits of 10 metres imposed, sometimes it can be relaxed to 30 metres.  If you have these restrictions in your cover and are working at higher levels then you don’t have the cover you might think you have.
  1. Vessel Value Restrictions:  There are Marine Trades Insurance providers who are still restricting their policyholders to working on vessels not exceeding a specified value – these restrictions can range from as low as £100,000 to £1,000,000.  This really does restrict a shipwright’s ability to trade if they must adhere to their policy limitations.
  1. Vessel Type Exclusions:  Linked to points 1 & 4, many Marine Trades Insurance underwriters will not cover shipwrights to work on various types of vessels.  Work on MOD vessels is usually excluded, as is work on superyachts and all but the smallest commercial boat.  Such exclusions are not always apparent, if you’re not sure whether your insurance covers you to work on such vessels, you need to check with your provider.

Insurance Risk & Claims Management (IRCM) are a specialist Yacht & Marine Trades broker who offer exclusive scope of cover and premiums to shipwrights, boatbuilders and marine engineers.  Here are 5 benefits about IRCM’s shipwrights insurance cover that will help you to operate with the correct level of protection:

  1. No restriction on length of vessel worked on.
  2. No lower liability limit attaching to your heat work.
  3. No limit on the maximum height at which you need to operate.
  4. No restriction on the value of the vessels you service or repair.
  5. No restriction on the type of vessels on which you work.

For a no-obligation consultation or quotation telephone 01902 796793 or email

Insurance Risk & Claims Management are authorised & regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority