1Accurate as of August 2023
Boat insurance provides financial protection if your boat is involved in an incident in which someone else is injured, or their property is damaged.
Some boat insurance policies will also pay out if your boat is stolen or damaged in an accident or fire. If the worst happens, payouts are normally limited to the market value of the craft at that time.
If you have a powered boat or a houseboat and you’re using inland waterways such as a canal or lake, you’ll usually need to have third party insurance for at least £1million.
Depending on the navigation authority, you might also need insurance for some types of unpowered boat.
But third-party cover might not be enough. A more comprehensive policy will cover your boat against fire, theft and malicious damage, as well as covering you for salvage charges and any incidents that occur while your boat is in transit by road. Insurance can also cover personal effects and equipment.
Boat insurance gives you peace of mind that you won’t have to pay for insured events out of your own pocket.
Loss or accidental damage: Loss due to fire and theft. Accidental damage due to fire, theft, malicious damage, sinking, stranding, collisions and salvage costs.
Damage caused by faults: A failure in or of the design, manufacture or installation of a component part of your boat.
Theft or attempted theft: Theft of your boat, parts of your boat or equipment.
Third-party liability: Accidental damage caused to another boat or property, or injury to another person. Legal costs incurred as the result of damage or injury.
Personal accident: Cover in the case of accidental death, disability and injury. Benefits could include evacuation, hospitalisation, treatment, rehabilitation and recovery.
Damage or loss of personal property: Items such as clothes, personal items, and sports and fishing equipment while these are aboard your boat or being loaded/unloaded.
Loss or damage to dinghy or tender and trailer: Dinghies, tenders and trailers carried on the boat might need to be itemised and listed on the policy.
Unseaworthy vessels: An unseaworthy condition is anything that would render the boat unfit to sail.
Wear and tear: This includes rot, rust, damp, and weathering. All boat parts will eventually need to be repaired or replaced due to day-to-day use or age.
Theft of property that isn’t adequately secured: Insured property needs to be securely fastened to the yacht or boat or within a locked compartment on board. Outboard motors should be securely locked using an anti-theft device.
Loss or damage while under the influence of drugs or alcohol: This could be deemed negligence, wilful misconduct or recklessness.
Mechanical or electrical breakdown: Breakdown of the motor or other mechanical/electrical parts.
Operating outside of designated cruising areas: Coverage can include distances from the shore, or longitude and latitude limits.
Terrorism, war, or civil commotion: These risks can be covered by a separate policy if necessary.
Cover is available for motorboats, narrowboats, sailing yachts, houseboats, rigid inflatable boats (RIBS), dinghies, as well as a wide variety of small and large pleasure crafts. You can even take out an insurance policy to protect your jet-ski.
Motorboat: Powered exclusively by an engine
Narrowboat: Type of canal boat, usually 6ft 10 inches wide and 20-70 feet long
Sailing yacht: Large, fast, leisure boat
Houseboat: Can be moored and used as a dwelling
Rib (rigid inflatable boat): Firm-hulled, surrounded by inflatable tubes, providing buoyancy
Dinghy: Small, usually inflatable, used for short-term, short-distance transport
Cruising yacht: Live-aboard yacht suitable for long-distance travel, but doesn’t require a crew
Motor cruiser: Large motor-driven vessel, 10-40m in length
Fast fisher: Fishing boat with an open configuration and a good walkaround
Sailing sport boat: Propelled partly or entirely by a large sail on a tall mast
Jet ski: Recreational watercraft that a small number of users sit on (not in)
Canoe: A light, narrow boat with pointed ends, propelled with a paddle
Kayak: Small, narrow, human-powered by a long, double-bladed paddle
the value of your craft
your boat’s size and model
how you intend to use it
where it is moored/stored
your boat safety education and experience
the zone in which you plan on sailing
your liability limit
your boat driving record
the policy excess
Gaining helmsman, skipper, or yacht master qualifications can help reduce your premiums
Keeping your boat in a marina berth can sometimes allow you to claim a special discount
Your boat’s value impacts how much you pay for insurance. Its value will depreciate over time so make sure you provide your insurer with an accurate valuation when buying insurance.
Inland waterways have stricter speed limits than the sea and the water is usually calmer – this means less chance of an accident, so lower insurance costs.
This is the cheapest type of cover but you’ll need to pay to repair or replace your boat yourself if it’s damaged or stolen.
A bespoke insurance policy might be better than one which bundles types of cover you might not need.
Comparing quotes online will allow you to find a policy that suits your needs and your budget.
Depending on the type of boat you have, you’re likely to need some level of protection. Boat insurance can cover you for a host of scenarios but potentially the most costly is damage to a third-party. It could end up costing you far more than your prized boat if you face legal action and don’t have cover in place."
Give a few details about you, your boat, and what you need cover for.
We’ll put together a list of boat insurance quotes, so you can pick one that works for you.
Once you’ve chosen, you can purchase your policy and your boat will be covered.
You may be able to pay extra to add theft and accidental damage cover for your boat to your home insurance.
However, this cover will sometimes only protect your boat while it is kept at your home. And even if your boat is covered away from home, it will not usually include insurance for incidents that occur in transit, for example when you are towing your boat from your home to a waterway.
Third party boat insurance provides cover if you injure someone else or damage their property. A more comprehensive policy will also cover you if your boat is stolen or destroyed in a fire. Insurance can also cover dinghies, trailers and personal possessions.
The authorities that oversee most inland waterways and marinas where boats are moored insist that boat owners have at least third party boat insurance. But if you have spent a lot of money on your boat, a more comprehensive policy to cover fire, theft and other events that will impact you financially is a good idea.
You need at least third-party boat insurance in the UK unless you only plan to use your boat on privately-owned waterways.
Some insurers might want a survey done if your boat is old or an unknown make or model. A basic insurance survey will just look at the condition of the boat. If you are using finance to buy your boat, the finance company might want a survey to ascertain the boat is good security for the loan.
Boat insurance exclusions include wear and tear, gradual deterioration, weathering, insects, mould, recklessness and anyone other than named operators skippering the boat.
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