What does boat insurance cover?
Here, we review what typical boat insurance policies cover – and what may be excluded.
Firstly, it is important to bear in mind that cover will vary between insurers, different types of boat and the intended use – such as on inland waterways, inshore waters, or for offshore navigation. Other factors that are taken into account are the size of boat, its age and engine power. Speedboats that are capable of planing at speeds in excess of thirty knots will characteristically be more costly to insure than displacement craft, which make way steadily at less than twenty knots.
Where the boat is used and its maximum speed are key factors affecting policy cover and the conditions, as well as the class of boat and its age, where it is kept and whether it is used for racing or not. These material facts have to be declared. Day boats are generally classified as vessels up to 23 feet (7 metres) long in centreline, while sports boats over 23 feet long are considered cruisers. Yachts can usually be covered up to the sum of £350,000, though a survey may be required.
Quality policies provide cover for physical and accidental risks, including public liability for injuries and fatalities due to accidents. As well as third parties, private passengers on board and the owner will also be insured. Other cover includes theft, damage to the boat’s hull and engines (whether inboard or outboard) including dropping overboard. Here, insurers expect reasonable security and safety precautions, such as the use of mounting or safety strops.
Although many policies have excesses that require the first part of every claim to be paid by the insured person, this may be waived if the boat is moored in her home harbour or marina. In such cases, no claims bonuses may also be protected. Tenders and dinghies must be permanently marked with the name of the parent vessel, for easier identification.
Rowing boat policies typically cover loss or damage when stored or in use; many also cover theft while being towed on public roads. However, this should be checked in the policy conditions, as well as any limit(s) that may apply to third party liability at this time. When being towed on public roads, some insurers or specific policies require that the boat be covered by the driver’s motor insurance policy instead. Additionally, certain risks such as scratching or bruising and normal wear or tear are excluded, as well as loss of use.
Characteristically, marine insurance policies typically exclude design or construction faults, intentional damage or loss and deterioration due to normal wear and tear. Additionally, theft of unsecured equipment and belongings will not normally be covered.
Boat owners are strongly advised to ensure that any proposed insurance adequately covers their vessel. Flexible protection policies may be available, depending on the type of craft insured and its current or intended use. Third party only cover is also possible, while some risks will also attract an automatic excess clause for certain types of boat.
Jet ski policies require storage in locked garages, experienced handlers and other general safety precautions to be followed. Most jet bikes and skis can be covered for private use if speed is limited to 50 knots and the rider has a minimum age of between 16 to 25 years. Commercial jet ski cover may require special terms.
Finally, for specific questions about boat insurance policies, we recommend checking the policy wording. Alternatively, if you require further assistance or would like to review your marine insurance cover, we will be delighted to offer advice. Please contact us here