Deviation Clause in Marine Insurance

Marine insurance is an important aspect of the shipping industry. It provides protection against the financial loss incurred due to damage or loss of a ship, cargo or any other property while in transit. However, marine insurance policies are complex and contain many clauses and conditions that are essential to understand for both the insurer and the insured. One such clause is the deviation clause.

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Deviation Clause Importance

A deviation in marine insurance refers to any departure from the agreed route of the ship. In other words, it means that the ship has strayed from the path that was originally agreed upon in the policy. 

A deviation clause in marine insurance is a provision that outlines the circumstances in which the insurer shall still provide coverage even if the ship deviates from its agreed route.

The deviation clause in marine insurance is important for both the insurer and the insured. For the insurer, it helps to limit the scope of coverage and reduce the risks associated with providing marine insurance. 

On the other hand, for the insured, it provides some flexibility in case of unforeseen circumstances that may require a change in the route. For instance, the ship may need to make a detour due to bad weather or to avoid pirates.

However, it is important to note that not all deviations are covered under the deviation clause of marine insurance. The clause usually specifies the circumstances under which a deviation will be considered acceptable. For instance, if the deviation is caused by a storm or another natural disaster, it is likely to be covered. However, if the deviation is intentional and done to transport illegal goods, it will not be covered.

Case Study

Marine insurance policies often contain a deviation clause, which is a provision that limits the insured's coverage in the event of a deviation from the agreed-upon voyage. A deviation is defined as any departure from the agreed-upon course or the normal and customary route of a vessel.

Let us consider a case study to understand the deviation clause in marine insurance better:

  1. Factual Background

    ABC Shipping Company owns a cargo ship, and they obtained a cargo insurance policy from XYZ Insurance Company to protect their vessel and cargo. The policy included a deviation clause that stated that any deviation from the agreed-upon voyage would render the policy null and void.

    The cargo ship was supposed to sail from Hong Kong to Los Angeles with a stopover at Yokohama, Japan. However, due to unfavourable weather conditions, the ship's captain decided to deviate from the agreed-upon course and take a shortcut through the Taiwan Strait.

    During the voyage, the ship encountered a severe storm, causing damage to the vessel and cargo. The ABC Shipping Company filed a claim with XYZ Insurance Company for the damages. However, the insurer denied the claim, citing the deviation clause in the policy.

  2. Issue

    ABC Shipping Company argued that the deviation was necessary due to adverse weather conditions, and they had no choice but to take a different route to protect the vessel and cargo. However, XYZ Insurance Company argued that the policy clearly stated that any deviation from the agreed-upon voyage would nullify the policy, regardless of the reason for the deviation.

  3. Held

    After reviewing the case, the court sided with XYZ Insurance Company, stating that the deviation clause was clear and unambiguous. The court held that the deviation from the agreed-upon voyage rendered the policy null and void, and the insurer was not liable for the damages.

    This case study illustrates the importance of carefully reviewing and understanding the terms and conditions of a marine insurance policy, including the deviation clause. It also highlights the potential risks and consequences of deviating from the agreed-upon voyage, which can have significant financial implications for the insured.

Learn more about Marine Insurance


The deviation clause in marine insurance is an important provision in marine insurance policies. It provides some flexibility in case of unforeseen circumstances while also limiting the insurer's risks. However, it is important to understand the circumstances under which a deviation will be considered acceptable and to comply with all other clauses and conditions in the policy to ensure that coverage is provided in case of a loss.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 06 October 2023

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3.8 April 20, 2023
Great Experience
I recently purchased Marine insurance from Policybazaar for my shipping business and I must say I am thoroughly impressed with their service and coverage. From start to finish, the experience has been smooth and hassle-free.Thankyou.
4.3 April 03, 2023
Provides Comprehensive Protection
When it comes to coverage, Marine insurance that i bought from PolicyBazaar has exceeded my expectations. It provides comprehensive protection for my cargo and vessels during transit, ensuring I can focus on my business operations with peace of mind. Thankyou.
4.3 March 17, 2023
Excellent Services
I highly recommend Marine insurance from PolicyBazaar website to anyone in the shipping or logistics industry. Their user-friendly website, comprehensive coverage, and excellent customer service make them stand out from the competition. With Policybazaar, I feel confident in navigating the high seas, knowing that my business is well-protected. Thank you, Policybazaar.
4.3 February 28, 2023
User Friendly Interface
The website's user-friendly interface made it easy to compare different plans and find the perfect fit for my business needs.Thanks
4.3 February 11, 2023
Prompt Services
I appreciate the transparency and honesty with which Policybazaar handled my claims. They were prompt in processing my claim and their claim settlement process was hassle-free.Thanks PolicyBazaar.
3.8 February 10, 2023
Exceeds Expectations
I recently had the pleasure of purchsing marine insurance from Policy bazaar website and I must say it has been an outstnding experience from start to finish. I am thrilled to share my positive customer review, as this truly exceeded my expectations. Thanks PB.
3.8 January 31, 2023
Easy Navigation
The ease of navigating the Policy bazaar website and finding the right marine insurance policy was impressive. The website's user-friendly interface and intuitive design made it incredibly simple to compare various options, understand the coverage details and make an informed decision. I appreciated the transparency provided throughout the process. Thanks.
3.8 January 21, 2023
Excellent Support
The customer service provided by Policy bazaar was decent. Their team was responsive, knowledgeable and went above and beyond to assist me at every step. Their professionalism and commitment to customer satisfaction were truly commendable.Thankyou.
4.3 January 11, 2023
Sanjeev Rathor
Efficient Process
When it came to claims processing, Policy bazaar demonstrated remarkable eficiency and effectivenes. I had an unfortunate incident during the coverage period and filing a claim was a breeze. The entire process was streamlined and their team guided me throuugh every necssary step, making it hassle-free. The promptness with which my claim was setled reflected their commitment to their customers' well-being and peace of mind. Thankyou.
3.8 January 01, 2023
Comprehensive Coverage
I must mention the comprehensive coverage provided by the marine insurance policy I purchasd through Policy bazaar. It offered me the necesary protection and peace of mind. Thankyou PolicyBazaar.