Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

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Arthur
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Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Arthur » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:17 pm

Can anyone recommend an insurer for my sea kayak, including third party liability?

E&L come top of a Google search - and in a quick comparison with three or four other insurers they do appear to cover the things that others exclude/hide/obscure in the small print.

I don't particularly want to continue with the BCU - of which I've been a member as an open canoeist - but if insurance via the BCU, plus any benefits of membership to a sea kayaker, is deemed worth it, then please point this out to me.

Thanks!

robhorton
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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by robhorton » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:21 pm

You get third party insurance as a BC member - although your household policy may provide cover.

We looked at insuring our kayaks a few years ago and decided the policies had so many exclusions it wasn't worth it.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by john.ruston » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:20 pm

Arthur.
Check your home insurance for 3PL content. If you have it, contact your insurer for a cover note (covering letter). You will have to do this every year.
PM sent. John.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by GregS » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:24 am

BC membership gives you insurance for what you do... which is worth the fee even if you place no value on anything else offered... and the bolt on boat insurance is the best I have encountered.

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Psamathe
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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Psamathe » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:10 am

I use (and am very happy with) Noble Marine.

When I got my kayak I looked at BCU but it was a complete rip-off - they force align your renewal to your membership and if you start cover part way through your membership they still charge you the full 12 month premium but for the time until your next membership renewal. In my case I'd be paying the 12 month rate but only getting 10 months.Switched to Noble Marine who were cheaper than BCU even without the BCU rip-off.

BCU need to learn that not everybody buys a new boat when their membership starts/on renewal date!

My Noble Marine policy includes 3rd party cover.

When I got my kayak, discovered the BCU rip-off (10 months for the price of 12!) I contacted Noble Marine as I use them for my sailing dinghies and they were cheaper than BCU anyway so didn't bother hunting around further - so I wont clam they are the best price anywhere.

(I can PM you the details if you need them).

Ian

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Arthur » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:09 am

Thanks guys. I forgot about Noble Marine, I used to insure my windsurfing gear with them and they paid out for theft from my roof rack one night.... which leads me to my next question...

.... all of the policies exclude theft from a motor vehicle if the kayak is secured in a manner other than any that requires FORCE to remove it - how do you guys do that?

Roof rack straps obviously do not require force for removal?

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by john.ruston » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:41 am

Arthur. Lockable steel cored straps are available.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Psamathe » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:52 am

Arthur wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:09 am
Thanks guys. I forgot about Noble Marine, I used to insure my windsurfing gear with them and they paid out for theft from my roof rack one night.... which leads me to my next question...

.... all of the policies exclude theft from a motor vehicle if the kayak is secured in a manner other than any that requires FORCE to remove it - how do you guys do that?

Roof rack straps obviously do not require force for removal?
A thought (I've no experience or knowledge) but there is a cable thing you can get fairly low cost that loops through something on the kayak and has a large plastic ball in the other end you shut in your car boot (i.e. the ball fixed to the cable end inside the car boot cannot pull out ... so I'd have thought some sort of force would be required to remove the kayak. Available all over the place and I've no experience of them https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rack-guard-Pla ... B002GUFDXG
Image

But, whilst locks and things might protect against theft, what if somebody tried to steal it and failed but damaged it in the process? (e.g. removed straps, lifted it off, found it rather heavy, discovered the locking cable and dropped it on the road before running off).

Noble Marine do provide their policy wording on their web site. My cover with Noble Marine is a "Dinghy Insurance Policy" with the "Class" specified as "Valley Sirona Kayak 16.1". I took out the policy over the phone and made it very clear it was a kayak. On telephoning to renew I also raised the dinghy/kayak question again and they explained that was fine and that they use their dinghy policy for kayaks. On briefly scanning my policy there is nothing about locking the kayak when in transport (probably because they happily cover sailing dinghies that are left in open insecure dinghy parks unattended for most of the week). If they are a possibility for you then give them a call and check. I'd assume there must be some overriding "take reasonable care" aspect to all insurance.

Ian

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Arthur » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:12 pm

Thanks Ian. I'll contact Noble.

Still not sure about the security cable thingy. When you say 'loop through something on the kayak', there really isn't anything it can loop through. And damage in the process of attempted theft can be claimed for. I guess some of these things are simply a deterrent, so that the scumbag moves on to what appears to be an easier target.

But anyway, if Noble are okay with ordinary tie-down straps then my tendency to over-think things becomes irrelevant! ;-)

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Psamathe » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:57 pm

Arthur wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:12 pm
......
Still not sure about the security cable thingy. When you say 'loop through something on the kayak', there really isn't anything it can loop through. And damage in the process of attempted theft can be claimed for. I guess some of these things are simply a deterrent, so that the scumbag moves on to what appears to be an easier target.
....
I've not used mine yet but I've assumed the eye in the non-ball end allows it to form a "lasso" and then what you loop round would depend on your kayak e.g seat, towing eye thing, even a fixed eye at bow or stern.

As you say more of a deterrent (as the cable would not be difficult to cut with appropriate tools. But, unlike bike theft (where the bike can be ridden off or put in the back of a van), getting away with a sea kayak might be more of a problem and probably not too many opportunistic thieves with suitable roof racks/j-bars/cradles/etc.

Also, do check on any requirements they might have about where the kayak is stored. I've never bothered to check as mine is kept locked in the garage, but I believe (I've heard that) BCU have specific requirements about where/security the kayak is stored (some person at my club apparently cannot keep their kayaks at home because they would have to be locked-up outside and their policy does not allow the kayaks to be kept outside even locked-up. I know with bikes different policies have all sorts of different requirements on specifications of lock, where kept (in doors/outside/locked/etc.).

Ian

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Arthur » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:30 pm

Hi Ian - everyone...

Thanks for the replies. My home insurance only provides cover up to £1500.00 and I'm in dispute over damage to my thatched roof, so they are going in the bin as soon as possible.

Anyway, I've gone with Noble Marine for my Sirona, so that I'm fully covered immediately. I was impressed with their no-nonsense online application and a response to some email queries within an hour. (Answered my queries about security... none other than straps required.)

Cover is about £20.00 less than the equivalent through the BCU and the excess is half.

I might still loop a fine cable lock through the towing eye of the kayak, as an additional deterrent. My car has roof rails, so I can loop it under one of those.

I'll keep my BCU membership for access to the rivers for training / keeping fit, but the saving on insurance means the BCU membership is effectively half price.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by MikeB » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:48 pm

We have a "rackguard" as noted previously - we generally just use the towing bullseyes, or loop round the seat, and trap the ball end in the boot. Be aware they are just a deterrent to the opportunist thief as they can be cut as already noted, and can in fact be defeated even without cutting tools although I'm not going to outline how, here. This said, it does allow you to tell your insurers you were using a lock / security of some form.

While I appreciate you've now got the cover you need, I use my household insurers both for fully-comp cover on our boats, and also for tp liability. Be aware that many insurers' tp cover has a limitation on the length of craft - something like 3 meters comes to mind, but without checking I can't be sure. In my case, I specifically checked that a 6 meter boat was covered.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by john.ruston » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:28 pm

A local paddler with a place in London recommends cored straps with locks.
Perhaps these wont cut so easily :
Thule 841
https://www.surfsurfsurf.co.uk/roof-rac ... gL_p_D_BwE

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:07 pm

I went to a sailing chandler and asked them to make up 5m of 6mm stainless wire with a soft eye in each end. I loop this through a fixed point on the boat and then round the roof rack and padlock it. Trying to trap a ball in the door only risks having the door bent - if I do loop it into the car, it goes round the seat runner. If I don't have a suitable fixed point on the boat, it's quite easy to wrap it round the boat each side of the cockpit rim so that the boat cannot be removed. It could be cut with bolt croppers, but no other way. If I was doing it again, I'd ask them to put a plastic sleeve over the wire before making the ends, to save the car paintwork when wrapping it round the boat/rack.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Rainshine » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:41 am

For what its worth, earlier this year there were organised gangs stealing kayaks particularly sea kayaks from a number of the motorway services on the M6. I don't know if this is still happening. The nice services at Westmorland was apparently a particular favourite and kayak theft was rife there. These guys come ready with a big van and all the tools to cut your kayaks off the roof (regardless of whether you have a locking metal-core strap or any other 'security') and they simply load the boats into the van. Its happened to people in less than the time it took them to go inside the services to go to the loo.

Its all well and good having insurance which may or may not pay out eventually in the event of a loss but its clearly a lot better and less hassle not to have a boat stolen in the first place so the recommendation is that if you are not travelling alone and stop somewhere on the M6, someone stays with the car at all times while you use the services.

Theft or property damage insurance is only one form of insurance and the BCU require you to purchase that as an add-on to the insurance that comes included as standard with their more comprehensive memberships. The insurance cover you receive by virtue of your membership is very similar to the cover that the BCU provide to members of affiliated clubs although it is obviously wider in its scope as it covers non-club and non-sanctioned events. You won't get a better or more comprehensive kayaking insurance policy in the marketplace than the one the BCU have. And its incredibly cheap. The insurance cover is worth the BCU membership fee alone.

Remember that it is highly unlikely that you will ever be making a claim on 'your own' BCU cover unless you are claiming for one of the very limited personal injury sums because you, unfortunately, have nobody else to claim against for injuries. Its absolutely worth having their cover via BCU membership to deal with the much more likely scenario of someone else making a claim against you. Even if someone makes a totally spurious claim against you the cost of defending that is likely to be huge, especially outside the UK and you can't not defend because you will automatically be found liable. If someone claims that you did something to injure them the value of loss of earnings, continuing care and rehabilitation, significant personal injury or death is likely to be in the hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds very easily. Don't assume that it will be another kayaker you always paddle with and we are all friends so "it'll never happen" either - it can happen - friendship disappears very fast when someone has a significant injury, can't work and can't pay a mortgage or when grieving relatives are dealing with the untimely death of their loved one!! Not to mention the third party making the claim against you could be a yachtsman or a commercial vessel owner - they aren't part of your nice group of understanding kayaking friends! Its a worldwide policy too - it would be almost insane to sea kayak in certain places without carrying comprehensive insurance from the BCU - relying on a travel policy is verging on bonkers. Its for that peace of mind and security that having the BCU insurance cover is absolutely worth it when taking part in a high risk adventure sport in unforgiving environments. If sea kayakers get absolutely nothing else from the BCU, the membership fee is more than worth paying just for the benefit of their insurance package.

I know some folk object to governing bodies and to insurance in principle - that's fine but if you cause injury or death to another person whilst kayaking or even if someone else claims you did, that's when the benefit of insurance could mean the difference between a grim bankruptcy for you versus carrying on the life you are used to.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by robhorton » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:14 am

Rainshine wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:41 am
For what its worth, earlier this year there were organised gangs stealing kayaks particularly sea kayaks from a number of the motorway services on the M6...
There's a thread on here from 2007 about that but I've not heard of it happening since. I like to think the faff of handling sea kayaks and the relatively small market makes them relatively unattractive to thieves but would well be wrong.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by pathbrae » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:45 pm

"it would be almost insane to sea kayak in certain places without carrying comprehensive insurance from the BCU" " Its absolutely worth having their cover via BCU membership to deal with the much more likely scenario of someone else making a claim against you." "You won't get a better or more comprehensive kayaking insurance policy in the marketplace than the one the BCU have."
The OP already stated that they didn't want to continue their BCU membership.
How many successful claims have been paid out from BCU insurers over the past 5 years?
Personal liability cover isn't expensive.

A quick search on-line will quickly find a couple of companies who offer a much better deal than the bolt on BCU boat insurance.

BCU would cost me £110 per year. My own insurance costs less than half of that and seems to offer better cover.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Arthur » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:37 pm

Rainshine wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:41 am

You won't get a better or more comprehensive kayaking insurance policy in the marketplace than the one the BCU have. And its incredibly cheap. The insurance cover is worth the BCU membership fee alone.
Rainshine wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:41 am

If sea kayakers get absolutely nothing else from the BCU, the membership fee is more than worth paying just for the benefit of their insurance package.
I'm actually quite astonished Rainshine. Nothing could be further from the truth...

... and readers don't necessarily have to listen to me, just shop around. It took me less than an hour yesterday to download and read the policy documents of the insurer linked to the BCU, Noble Marine (best cover, cheapest and lowest excess) and one other 'specialist' canoe and kayak insurer, to realise that the offering via the BCU was actually the worst of the lot, measured on almost every like-for-like criteria.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Rainshine » Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:16 pm

Everyone has different needs and opinions. So long as you have found something that suits you then that's great. I am only expressing my opinion.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by MikeB » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:40 pm

Arthur wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:37 pm
the offering via the BCU was actually the worst of the lot, measured on almost every like-for-like criteria.
This is from the SCA (no doubt the same as the BCU) -

"Cover: One of the following four levels of cover, chosen by the member, and displayed on their
Scottish Canoe Association membership document:

Standard Single - Cover for a canoe or kayak, paddles, helmets and buoyancy aids that you
own, covering one craft up to a value of £750.00 and £275 any one paddle.

Standard Multi - Cover for up to three canoes or kayaks paddles, helmets and buoyancy aids
that you own with a limit of £750.00 per craft and £275 any one paddle.

Premium Single - For specialist canoes or kayaks paddles, helmets and buoyancy aids that
you own, covering one craft with a value of up to £1,500 and £275 any one paddle.


Premium Multi - Cover Up to three canoes or kayaks paddles, helmets and buoyancy aids that
you own, each with a value not exceeding £1,500 and £275 any one paddle."

Excuse me while I piss myself laughing at £1500 being anywhere near the value of a modern sea kayak, let alone a paltry £275 for a paddle! Try close to £4K once you've factored in a decent ba and good splits as well as your main paddle!

(Source - canoescotland.org/sites/default/files/resources/.../BoatInsuranceDetails012011.pdf )

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by pathbrae » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:53 pm

Extreme Any canoe or kayak up to a value of £5000 and £350 for any one paddle. £110.00
Extreme Plus Up to 3 canoes or kayaks each with a value not exceeding £5000 and £350 for any one paddle. £180.00
From the BCU site....
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by MikeB » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:31 pm

pathbrae wrote:
Extreme Any canoe or kayak up to a value of £5000 and £350 for any one paddle. £110.00
Extreme Plus Up to 3 canoes or kayaks each with a value not exceeding £5000 and £350 for any one paddle. £180.00
From the BCU site....
Interesting.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by pathbrae » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:21 pm

... but not cheap
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Arthur » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:28 pm

For me, this small print in the Towergate / BCU policy was the nail in the coffin:
__________

We will not pay for loss or damage caused by:

 pilferage, which means the removal or disappearance of loose items of property that are left unsecured in
any way, where the removal does not involve the need for any force;

We will not pay for the theft of your canoe if it is stolen unless it is from a locked building, securely locked to an immovable object, securely locked to the roof of a motor vehicle...

_________

Plenty of equivocation in those two sentences.

In answer to both of the points in bold, Noble Marine emailed me to say that they consider standard roof rack straps sufficient security to validate the cover when a kayak is left with an unattended motor vehicle, at any time of day or night... clearly the Towergate / BCU policy would not accept simple roof straps... AND if you used anything more substantial, I'm darned sure they would require proof that you used locks or devices that required force to remove them.

If you trust an insurance company that words their policy in such a way as to allow them that amount of wriggle-room to refuse a claim, then please contact the BCU.

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Re: Sea kayak insurance - BCU?

Post by Fozzy » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:29 am

I've got 12 sea kayaks and 2 ww boats.
6 of the sea kayaks live on a trailer in the garden and the rest are kept locked in the garage. Total value including trailer is about £16000.
I just did a quick check online with Noble and if I can lump everything together this comes in at £212 which I think is excellent value, so I've emailed them to ask if I can. Of so I'll go for it.
To cover all the boats based on the BCU webpage I need 1x extreme plus £180, 1 x elite plus £85 and 2x explorer plus £90 so that's £355 without the trailer! At the moment I only have 1x extreme plus as up to now I've only been using 3 at any one time but that's set to change.
Then I have to see if I can cancel the BCU insurance, which I've just noticed on their insurance page says Elite up to £2500 but on the membership page says Elite up to £1500, so which is it???

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