Contract Risk Academy Blog

A Comparison of Protection & Indemnity to Vessel Pollution Insurance

contract review contract risk management insurance protection & indemnity (p&i) vessel pollution insurance Jul 25, 2023

An Article by Noelle McCall, CIC, CRM, CISR

Protection & Indemnity (P&I) insurance provides broad coverage for maritime liability risks associated with owning and operating a vessel. It covers various liabilities, including property damage, crew medical expenses, oil spills, and loss of life. P&I policies are flexible and tailored to specific risk factors such as vessel type, cargo, navigation limits, and claims history.

Typical coverage under a P&I policy includes crew and passenger injury (excluding liabilities under statutory compensation acts such as Workers' Compensation), cargo damage or loss, damage to fixed objects and other vessels, quarantine costs, wreck removal, pollution liability, fines and penalties, war risks, and repatriation. However, P&I coverage does not obligate insurers to pay claims unless the insured is found at fault.

Vessel pollution coverage is a more narrowly focused insurance policy that specifically addresses pollution risks. It provides comprehensive coverage for spills, threats of spills, and pollution-related liabilities. This coverage is vital as oil spills can have devastating ecological, economic, and legal consequences. Vessel pollution policies cover clean-up, environmental and natural resource damage, property damage, loss of revenue, civil penalties, criminal fines, and legal fees associated with pollution incidents.

To complement both P&I and vessel pollution coverage, a P&I Pollution Buy-Back endorsement can be added. This endorsement fills certain gaps in coverage and extends protection. It covers bodily injury and cargo damage arising from pollution events, complementing the vessel pollution policy's focus on spill clean-up and removal costs, property damage, and other pollution-related liabilities.

In summary, P&I insurance offers broad coverage for various maritime liabilities, while vessel pollution coverage specifically addresses pollution risks. Adding a P&I Pollution Buy-Back endorsement can further enhance coverage. Vessel owners and operators should consider both P&I and vessel pollution insurance to ensure comprehensive protection against a wide range of risks and liabilities.


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