Marine Insurance

Do you need it?

While it is not a legal requirement to have your boat or boating equipment insured, most people would not be foolhardy enough to pay out the sums of money involved in buying a boat, without insuring it against the perils and risks which could be experienced both in and out of the water and without considering third party risk to cover such things as a collision. If, however, you take out a loan, using the boat as collateral, the bank or finance company will require insurance coverage, listing them as a loss payee to cover their interest on your boat. Also many marinas will insist that you have insurance cover on your boat in order to keep it at their facility.

Marine insurance companies

Specialist marine insurance companies will have the necessary marine knowledge and boating experience to help you choose the most suitable package for your vessel or equipment, whether that might be fully comprehensive, third party only, or a policy specially tailored to meet your needs. These will provide a high level of protection and will ensure your peace of mind. The insurance companies will also advise you of the procedure immediately after the accident and how to file your claim.

Choosing your policy

Price is not necessarily the most important factor to consider. Unlike other insurances, such as house or vehicle insurance, where most companies offer almost exactly the same coverage, boat insurance differs markedly between companies. It is therefore wiser to consider the types of losses covered, how much you will collect, what assistance is available in an emergency and what level of service you will receive. Even large differences in premium can be quickly made up by selecting an inadequate policy or an agent without the necessary specialist knowledge.

Boats of all types and sizes are catered for from super yachts and cruisers to rowing boats, jet skis and sailboards. Many companies will give you free quotes online, the option to renew an existing policy online, online claim forms and even databases where you can find repairers and marine surveyors.

You will need to choose a policy which is suitable for you and your cruising ground, whether it is on inland waters, coastal waters, tidal or non-tidal waters, trips to continental Europe or further afield. It is not an easy task and you need to be very clear exactly what each company is offering and the price differences. Some companies will allow you to amend the policy if you find that it does not exactly meet your requirements. You might be able to opt for an extended payment plan. Find out whether transportation of your boat is covered, if it needs to be taken to a boat yard for repair. As with all deals and packages, be sure to read the small print.

Some points to consider

Remember that it costs more to insure a boat in coastal waters than on lakes and rivers. You may be fortunate enough to find a policy which gives discount if you have completed a safety or boating course, or if you are a member of some organisation such as the RYA.

From a practical point of view, maintain your boat well and keep it in a secure location, protected from severe weather, theft or vandalism. Loss from catastrophic weather is a significant cost factor in boat insurance. Lastly, do your research carefully, compare the deals offered and make sure you are satisfied that the policy is the one for you, before you sign up.

Author – Dee White

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