NotificationImgTo buy marine open policy

Deviation Clause in Marine Insurance

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Last Updated On :
  • 25/05/2024
  • 2 min read

The marine insurance contract is one of the most important aspects of the Indian shipping industry. A marine insurance policy financially safeguards you against unforeseen events like loss of cargo, loss or damage of ship, and other properties. While it is important to have marine insurance, it is very important to understand the clauses of the marine insurance policy.

The various clauses of marine insurance policies might be complex and tough to comprehend, so it is recommended to understand them in detail. The deviation clause is an example of such a clause.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the details of voyage deviation in marine insurance. Let’s get right into it!

What is the Deviation Clause in Marine Insurance?

A voyage deviation in marine insurance refers to a change in the route of the ship from the previously mapped route. In simple words, it means that the insured ship has deviated from the originally decided path mentioned in the policy document.

The deviation clause in the marine insurance plan simply states the circumstances under which the insurance policy will still cover the ship even if the ship has deviated from the original route. It is essential for the insurer as well as the insured.

For the insurance company, the clause limits the scope of the policy’s coverage and reduces any risks associated with providing a marine insurance policy to the insured.

For the insured, it defines the circumstances under which the ship will still be covered in case it deviates from its course due to unforeseen events. For instance, the change in the ship’s route could be to avoid any pirate attacks or extremely harsh weather conditions.

However, policyholders must understand that all types of deviations are not covered under the nature and scope of marine insurance. The clause states all the possible reasons for deviation which will be acceptable to the insurer.

For instance, the deviation could be due to a natural disaster or storm, which will usually be covered. But, if the deviation from the route is done intentionally in order to transport some illegal goods, no coverage will be provided.

When Do Insurers Allow Deviation?

A situation where the deviation will save a human life.

A situation where the deviation is beyond the control of the insured.

A situation where the deviation must be done to protect the vessel or the insured goods it is carrying.

A situation where the deviation is necessary to get access to medical aid for a person onboard the vessel.

Case Studies

To understand the deviation clause in marine insurance better, here are some case studies:


XYZ Shipping Company is the owner of a cargo ship, and they purchased a marine insurance plan from ABC Insurance Company. The policy covers the ship and cargo of XYZ company. This insurance policy contained a deviation clause that clearly stated that the policy would become void if there was any deviation from the original path.

The journey of the ship was from Hong Kong to New York with a stopover in Japan. However, the weather conditions worsened, so the captain of the ship decided to deviate from the original route and take a shortcut from the Taiwan Strait.

The ship and cargo suffered damages due to the bad weather conditions. The XYZ company filed a marine cargo insurance claim with ABC company, but they rejected the claim, citing the deviation clause in the marine insurance.


XYZ company stated that the deviation from the route was essential due to the bad weather conditions, and they had no other choice but to deviate so that they could protect the ship and their cargo. However, the ABC company argued that the policy clearly mentioned that any deviation from the pre-decided route will lead to nullification of the policy regardless of the reason for the deviation.


The judge, after hearing the matter, sided with the insurance company. They said that the policy stated the deviation clause unambiguously, and it mentions that any deviation from the pre-decided route will nullify the policy. Thus, ABC company did not have to pay for any of the losses and damages.

This case study reflects the need to carefully read and understand the deviation clause. If you miss any information, it can lead to claim rejection. It also points out the risks that you might encounter if you deviate from the route that has been pre-decided.


The deviation clause is one of the most important aspects of the nature and scope of marine insurance. The insured must read the marine insurance policy carefully to understand what deviations would be covered and what is not covered, especially when choosing from the right insurance provider.

Except for extreme circumstances like bad weather, deviation from the original route should be avoided as much as possible. Voyage deviation in marine insurance can have adverse effects like nullification of your insurance plan, so before making any decisions, think carefully.

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

Related Articles

Tata AIG Also Offers Insurance for the below products

Travel Insurance

Two Wheeler Insurance

Health Insurance

Car Insurance