Do I have to have boat insurance ?
If you’re serious about boating, whatever kind of watercraft you’re intending to buy, it makes sense to protect the vessel and yourself with some form of boat insurance. Although it can be costly, this additional expense is always justified when you consider the alternative. Accidents and injuries can happen even in calm seas or rivers, and there are various types of policy to suit your particular craft, and the journey you’ll be undertaking. If you plan to use inland routes, then you may be able to save money by cutting out offshore sailing cover, similarly, many insurance companies offer discounts for organised group sails that will be remaining in British territorial waters. There are many options available, so speak to individual insurance companies about getting a bespoke policy, and make sure you don’t end up paying out for cover that’s not needed.
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The most comprehensive boat insurance policies cover your liabilities as a boat owner and damage to your vessel, including the hull and the engine. They may also include Personal Accident cover and medical expenses if you intend to travel outside of the United Kingdom. However, there may be limitations in terms of your possessions on cheaper policies; often valuables are not covered if you accidently drop them overboard, or if they are damaged by water during a trip. Similarly, if you’re sailing and your satellite or mobile phone stops working due to the wet conditions, you are unlikely to be covered for that loss on a low-cost policy.The kind of insurance you’ll need will depend on how and where you intend to use your boat. On inland waterways like rivers and lakes, sailors are expected to have third party insurance to the value of £1 million for power boats and larger house boats, according to the gov.uk website. However, even if your craft is unpowered, you may be obliged to take out a robust insurance policy. To find out more, contact the navigation authority which looks after the waterway you’ll be using. If you don’t obtain the right insurance, there’s a possibility you could be fined, or even prosecuted, but that depends on the policy of each specific navigation authority.
At sea having evidence of your insurance cover is vital for gaining access to many marinas and destinations in Europe and beyond. Some countries may even ask for a translation of your documents, this is standard practice and your insurer should be able to provide one if you give them enough time. If you’ll be venturing outside of Europe, check the cruising limits of your cover, as you may need to extend them to remain insured.
Sailing trips are some of the most exhilarating and enjoyable experiences you can have, on a boat you have the freedom to discover the coast, inland waterways or the open seas at your leisure. Each day is a new adventure, from exploring secluded coves, to mooring up at an exclusive marina – this is a pastime like no other. If you’ve been sailing for a while, or you’ve just started to read about owning a boat, you’ll most likely be aware that there is a degree of risk involved, just like any other activity, although some are more specific to water sports.
With the right planning and organisation, the vast majority of your boating trips will go to plan and not give you cause for concern, nevertheless, all veteran sailors know it makes sense to be prepared. By taking out an appropriate policy and insuring your boat against accidents and damage beforehand, you’ll have peace of mind whilst you’re away.