RYA Guide to Boat Insurance


Whether you�re a seasoned sailor or new to boating, there are many considerations for boat owners when it comes to insuring your boat.

RYA member reward partners and specialist marine insurance brokers, Bishop Skinner have been insuring pleasure craft for more than 40 years. That�s why we�ve got the experts at Bishop Skinner to go back to basics to answer the most common boat insurance queries, such as �how much cover do I need?�.

Origami paper boat Why do you need boat insurance?

While it is not usually a legal requirement on most waters, having appropriate cover makes sound financial sense. Marine mortgage companies for instance insist on compulsory insurance as part of their money lending process. However, there are two stand-out reasons why boat insurance is not a �would like to have� but a �must have�:

  1. Firstly you have to protect your capital investment against loss or damage which ultimately could result in a large and costly repair bill if the worst were to happen.
  2. Secondly having adequate boat insurance can help to protect you against any third party liability for injury or damage caused by you or your vessel. Third party liability is usually the most frequent claim we receive when it comes to boat insurance.

What does a typical boat insurance policy usually include?

Checklist with tick boxesAny physical damage covered by a boat insurance policy will usually include equipment such as hull, sails, machinery, furnishings, on-board equipment and the trailer if applicable.

Standard cover generally provides:

  • Accidental damage, including fire, theft and malicious damage, sinking, stranding, collisions and salvage costs
  • Damage to engines
  • Transit risks up to 30 feet in length
  • Lifting and launching risks
  • Loss or damage caused by latent defects
  • Frost
  • Personal effects
  • Damage to mast and rigging whilst racing can be purchased for an additional premium

Third party liability cover provides protection for you, or authorised persons using your boat, from claims made by third parties for death or injury or damage to third party property for which you may become legally labile.

What can influence the premium?

From a small dinghy to a large super-yacht or personal watercraft, each type of vessel will attract a different level of risk, so just like car insurance - boats are usually categorised according to their vessel type and risk.

A yacht will have a different risk assessment than a dinghy or a jet ski, so insurers will factor in the type of the vessel and any potential repair bills before calculating the premium.

In general, the actual size of the boat isn't as important as its value, how easily it could be stolen and the potential for damage. If your boat is trailer-able and spends a large amount of time safely tucked away on your drive, you'll probably pay a different premium than if it was stored at a marina.

The area in which you keep and use your boat will also have an influence on the level of premium you pay and may have restrictions on cover that are subject to local weather conditions.

The experience of the boat owner and the type of use i.e. private use, as a charter or racing vessel as well as previous claims experience are also taken into consideration when calculating the premium.

Man inspecting hull of boat in the boat yardAnd finally�

Ensure you review any potential policy in detail before you commit to purchase. By undertaking a thorough analysis of every possible scenario, you should be able to get the right cover for your vessel and enjoy peace of mind when sailing without worry.

RYA members enjoy exclusive member discounts with Bishop Skinner. Visit www.rya.org.uk/go/bishopskinner

To find out more about RYA membership visit www.rya.org.uk/go/membership