Yacht Crew Insurance: Putting All the Cards on the Table

Posted July 18 2019


Doctor talking to the patient about menopause and treatment in future.When it comes to international yacht crew insurance, being as open and forthcoming as possible, both before and during the time you are insured, can be critical to having a successful insurance experience. When you ask people about their medical status, the most common response is “I’m fine”. Unfortunately, many people often... shall we say... “overstate” how healthy they are.  Normally, this will not bode well once a claim against insurance is made.

Let’s review the 5 most common pitfalls:

1. Non-disclosure of a past medical condition

Not only can this be a dangerous situation for you and your fellow crew, but it also sets up a scenario where in a worst case, your insurance could be cancelled. Insurance enrollment forms are a contract, and misrepresentation or incomplete information can render your insurance policy void. It’s important, no matter how minor it may seem, to disclose your entire medical history (and keep a file).

2. Non-disclosure of an ongoing medical condition

Accurately representing your health to the insurance company (and even your insurance broker) is really important. Many people don’t realize that taking a regular prescription drug is significant in the eyes of the insurer.  When the claims start coming in for the cost of those medications, the insurer is most certainly going to start asking questions and that’s likely to take you down the path of having your claims denied. With all of the necessary information, we can provide you with personalized support that works for you.

3. Overstating the recovery of a previous illness or injury

It’s important to be careful about saying, “I’m fine” after recovery from an illness or injury. This is particularly important with back, shoulder and neck injuries.  With the work that you do, we often see crew returning to work before they really should and that doesn’t always give the body time to fully recover. Not being in pain, may not mean you are fully recovered.

4. Non-disclosure of all the facts at the time of claim

If you have an injury or illness and you need to make a claim, it is important to fill out the claim form completely with as much detail as possible surrounding the circumstances.  This may include an incident report, or possibly a police report(!) along with your own personal narrative, which can be valuable.  Withholding information usually will simply result in your claim being delayed or otherwise declined.

5. Waiting until you have insurance to see a doctor     

This is the most critical item of all the pitfalls, when it comes to your wellbeing.  Do not delay seeking medical attention until you have health insurance. Not only are you putting your health at risk, but once you do see the doctor, the insurance company may not pay your claim because you had the condition prior to purchasing insurance. This is a standard clause in most international insurance plans, the language says something to the effect that treatment should have been sought previously by a prudent person. So please be prudent! The key to a successful insurance experience starts from the very beginning and goes all the way until you are no longer in need of health insurance.

The experienced Insurance Specialists at MHG Insurance Brokers are ready to help you with all the details of what coverage every crew member should have, and which carrier is best for your particular situation. MHG Insurance Brokers offers a wide range of yacht crew insurance plans and international medical insurance for expatriates, with customizable coverage for all nationalities and itineraries.