Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a new boat owner, there’s lots to consider when it comes to insuring your boat. Read on to find out everything you need to know about boat insurance.
Do I need boat insurance?
Owning a boat does not come with a legal requirement for a licence, qualifications, or insurance.
However, for boating on the UK’s inland waterways, you must have a licence. To get a licence, you need a Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certificate (a boating version of a road vehicle’s MoT) and third-party boat insurance.
Most UK marinas require boats to have at least third-party insurance. If you’re planning on using your boat in a race, it must also be insured.
Boat insurance: what does it cover?
There are three basic categories of boat insurance:
- Third party liability – cover for damage caused to another person or their property.
- Assets insurance – cover for the boat, equipment, and possessions.
- Personal injury – cover for injuries incurred by the owner or the owner’s guests.
Third party liability
Third-party liability insurance provides protection if legal action is taken against you. Cover includes:
- Damage to another boat and/or equipment. (Collisions are the number-one cause for boat insurance claims.)
- Injury to another person.
In short, third-party insurance covers your liability for other people’s losses. But it won’t cover damage to yourself or your own property.
If your boat is damaged in a collision, and that collision is your fault, you’ll bear the whole financial burden of the damage. So it makes sense to protect your investment with insurance.
Boat insurance may include cover for:
- Boat theft. The smaller the boat, the easier it is to steal. It’s not uncommon for a small boat to be stolen from a driveway.
- Theft of equipment and fittings. Generators, navigation equipment, sails, and marine communication equipment are frequently stolen – and outboard motors are particularly vulnerable. Boats are often left for long periods, especially during the winter, which gives thieves plenty of opportunity to break in.
- If your boat isn’t a total write-off after sinking, getting it back in working order is going to be expensive. It’s not only the loss – or repair – of the boat that will cost you. Retrieval of the boat is a legal requirement. It’s the owner’s responsibility, and it’s not cheap.
- Fire damage. Although one of the least common causes for claims, fire can destroy a boat.
- Grounding or collision with an underwater object.
- Malicious damage.
- Transporting your boat from one location to another exposes your boat to additional risks, such as road traffic accidents and lifting and launching accidents.
- Damage sustained in a lock.
With Alan Boswell Group, you get that bit extra:
- Racing cover: Local club racing cover automatically included in all sailboat policies.
- Multi-vessel discounts: For two or more boats.
- 125% repair clause: In recognition of the fact that older boats are more expensive to repair than new ones.
If you or your guests are injured whilst using your boat, the repercussions could be dire. This is where personal injury cover comes in.
What is generally excluded from a standard policy?
A standard boat insurance policy will exclude:
- Deterioration and loss of value due to wear and tear and ageing.
- Damage caused by vermin, insects, marine life, and damp.
- Wilful misconduct or neglect.
- Policy excess.
- Damage done whilst the user is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Racing cover. (NOTE: Alan Boswell sailboat policies automatically include local club racing cover.)
Boat insurance is based on the information the customer has given. The terms of the policy are based on this information, and failure to comply with these terms will invalidate the policy. For example, if a customer claims there’s a fire extinguisher onboard, and it turns out there isn’t, this will invalidate the policy in the event of a claim for fire damage.
What factors can affect the cost of boat insurance?
The greater the risk to an insured boat, the greater the financial risk to the insurer. Low risk is reflected in a cheaper policy.
So, how can you bring down the cost?
Theft has always been a threat to anyone who owns anything, from a £5 note to a £50,000 boat. Security is a huge factor in the cost of boat insurance, but, luckily, there are many measures you can take to prevent theft and help recover stolen goods:
- Use padlocks or combination padlocks to secure hatches and fuel caps, and to secure outboard motors and anchors to the deck. Also use padlocks to harness the boat when it’s moored.
- When your boat is being stored on land, secure the boat – and trailer – to a solid structure and use wheel clamps on the trailer.
- Ensure that your property is identifiable. Make a note of any serial numbers on equipment and mark each item – covertly and more obviously – with identifiable information, such as a post code, date of birth, or name. Keep a note.
- Take photographs.
- Conceal a small global positioning system (GPS) tracking device in your boat.
- Install a burglar alarm.
- Moor your boat in a marina.
Make it as hard as possible for thieves to take your stuff. And make it as easy as possible for the police to recover it.
The longer you go without making a claim, the cheaper your policy. With our boat insurance, you can build a discount of up to 25%.
For Marine Trade insurance, the number is 01603 218000.