Boating should be fun, but can prove very expensive if you’re not properly protected. Insurance can be a bit of a grey area, with a lot of boat owners not knowing their options, the level of cover they need, or what cover is a legal requirement. To help guide you, here are some important things to think about when you come to insure your boat.
It’s definitely worth checking the insurance legislation for your boat because you could be prosecuted if you don’t have the right type of insurance. The Government have published some useful information for boat owners here. Take a look so you don’t get caught out.
If you own an Inland Craft and you’ll be using it on inland waterways, such as rivers or canals then you’ll need to get a Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) Certificate for your boat. This examination is a legal requirement for any boat using inland waterways and is in place to minimise the risk of boat fires, explosions, or pollution that could harm the inland waterways. In order to pass the examination you must provide proof of insurance. It’s worth having a look at the BSS site for more details.
The Canal and River Trust Association recommend that you have third party insurance cover for at least £2m. As the boat owner, this will safeguard you from claims made against you in the event that your boat is involved in an accident. Take a look at their advice on third party insurance here.
If your boat was to sink whilst it is moored then it is your responsibility to arrange its recovery. The costs of a salvage operation as well as other potential implications, such as spilled fuel can be extremely costly. Insurance will cover you for the cost of the salvage operation as well as to repair or replace your boat and the damage caused to other boats or property in the process.
When you are sailing a UK registered boat from the UK to any other country, you will require papers both for the boat and for the crew on board. Many European countries will ask for evidence of your boat's insurance cover so it is wise to check the requirements of the country you are sailing to before you travel. Some countries specify minimum levels of cover and others require a translation. It is also important to check the territorial limits of your cover before undertaking any trip, as you may need to extend the cruising limits.
If you are going to purchase your new boat through a finance scheme then you will be asked for proof of insurance as part of the agreement. For this reason we recommend that you should start looking for boat insurance as soon as you have a financial interest in a boat. To help you plan ahead you can choose to start your policy with us 30 days from the day you actually take out the policy.
If you need to tow your boat then you should check your motor insurance policy, as your boat won’t be covered in transit if you haven’t specifically added this to your policy. Add our transit cover to your policy if you need this.
For a lot of owners, boats can be a place to escape for days at a time, which means you’ll keep some personal possessions on board. If that’s the case and you want to protect your possessions against theft or damage then you can add them to your policy as an optional extra.
You’ve probably been so focused on protecting your boat that you might not have considered the risks to you as well. Serious accidents can happen and if that’s the case then a personal accident payment can help ease what will already be a difficult time.