Shopping for boat insurance can be a very tricky task. Unlike car insurance, it is a very selective field, as the amount of people who are boat owners in the UK is relatively low, therefore providers can afford to keep the price of their premiums at a relatively high rate, although it does depend on the type of boat you own and wish to insure.
There are a number of insurance providers who offer quotations and cover online or by phone for most classes of dinghy, sailboard, yacht, speedboat, RBI, narrowboat, rowing boat, houseboat and Jet Ski (the different forms of boat insurance). A third party policy is the minimum level of insurance offered.
A typical insurance policy will include:
- Cover against accidental loss or damage to your boat, including fire, theft and malicious acts.
- Third party liability cover (amount depends on insurer).
- No Claim Discount (amount depends on insurer).
- Claims help lines open 365 days.
How to make a claim
Whenever an incident occurs and another boat is involved, take a note of the details of the other persons/boats involved. You will also need to obtain the details of any potential witnesses, which can prove to be difficult whilst afloat, but note the name of the boat or the sail number and make contact once you are ashore.
The information you might require would include:
- The name and address of the person who was in charge of the other vessel.
- Are they the owner of the boat? If not, the name and address of the boat's owners will be required.
- Their insurance company and policy number if is known.
- Their boat name and / or sail number.
If possible, try and take photographs of the damage to the boat and email or post with your claim form.
You will also be required to arrange estimates for the repair or replacement items. Only one estimate may be required initially, but if the costs involved are large, further estimates may be required or a Surveyor may be appointed to inspect the boat or oversee the repairs.
Bear in mind it may be necessary to communicate with the other party involved, or their Insurers, before authority can be given to proceed with the repairs.
Important factors to remember when buying boat insurance:
- Boat Insurance is not compulsory, but most owners do take out some boat insurance to help cover their large investment in the craft. It is important to remember that some harbours, marinas, or water authorities insist on third-party insurance cover of at least £1 million as a minimum if you are to be allowed to moor your boat.
- First time boat users should be aware that boat insurance premiums can vary depending on their experience.
- Type of boat, current value, and the current location of the boat can also affect the premium the boat owner should expect to pay.
- Make sure all items within the boat are locked away as your boat insurance may not cover you for items stolen that were left on the deck.
- Check through the small print of the boat insurance cover to make sure you are purchasing the cover that is right for you and doesn’t contain any unnecessary cover. Most policies will cover for damage, sinking, collision, theft etc, but make sure this is indicated in the policy document.
- Commercial use of a boat is not normally covered, unless agreed at the time the policy was taken out.
Finally, remember to shop around when searching for your insurance and compare policies using online tools.