Boat Insurance is designed to give owners of boats, yachts and other vessels the peace of mind of being protected against loss or damage in and out of the water.
While boat insurance is not legally required in the UK, it is highly recommended due to the high costs associated with repairing a damaged a craft.
Furthermore, some harbors, water authorities and marinas insist on owners having at least third party liability cover in place, and applications for an inland waterways boat license will not be approved without sufficient insurance.
What types of boat insurance are available?
Most boat insurance providers in the UK offer Comprehensive or Third Party Only insurance policies for a wide variety of vessels. These include:
- Yacht insurance
- Dinghy insurance
- Jet ski insurance
- Narrowboat insurance
- Small boat insurance
- Houseboat insurance
- Speedboat i`nsurance
- Motor cruiser insurance
- Sailing boat insurance
- Fishing boat insurance
- Commercial boat insurance
Things to remember when insuring your boat
The sum insured
Before agreeing to a boat insurance policy, it is important to check that the sum insured is an accurate reflection of the vessel’s true replacement value – i.e. the value agreed should be the cost of replacing the vessel with one of a similar age, condition and equipment.
Having the vessel surveyed
Your insurer may ask you to provide a recent survey report (no older than two years) before they agree to provide cover. This is usually a requirement for vessels over a certain age, home-built or refitted.
The surveyor must:
- be independent of the buyer, seller and any intermediary involved in the sale
- have professional indemnity insurance
- be knowledgeable in the type of vessel you’re looking to insure
The next step is to arrange a full survey, covering the whole vessel including engine(s), rig, hull, deck, fittings, etc. This should be done on dry land – i.e. out of the water.
*Note; while a survey done for someone else, such as the previous owner, may be a useful guide, you shouldn’t rely on it as the surveyor involved only has the responsibility to the person who commissioned the survey and nobody else. However, it may be possible – and more economical – to ask the surveyor who conducted it to update it, rather than commissioning an entirely new survey.
If you own a small vessel, your insurer may only request a condition report. In this case, you will need to have your vehicle inspected by a knowledgeable boat builder who is able to give an independent opinion (i.e. has not carried out any work on the vessel themselves).
They should confirm in writing that the vessel has been well maintained and is currently in good sea or river-worthy condition, and is therefore suitable for its intended use.