Getting Your Boat Insured
The type of boat insurance policy that you require will depend on what type of boat you have and its intended usage. Should you choose third party liability or comprehensive cover? Does your policy need to cover commercial use?
If you own a boat, you need to insure it.
In order to find the best boat insurance policy you need to determine the type of boat you own and what you plan on using it for. The type of boat and its age will all affect the cost.
Insurance for your boat is similar to that for your car. There is not only cover for the boat, but also for passengers, damage to other boats and damage to property.
Third Party Liability covers boat owners for any damage they are not liable for, such as other vessels or property. It will also cover injuries to others including loss of life.
Comprehensive Cover usually covers all accidental damage, fire, theft and vandalism but is subject to policy conditions.
With New For Old Cover, anything that's damaged will be replaced with brand new goods. However, there is often a clause on the age limit where the broker will rather pay the market value of the item.
Racing Risks Cover is for those wishing to enter their boat in races. In competitions, boats travelling at higher speeds means a greater risk of damage.
Laid Up Period - If your boat is to be laid up ashore for any period of time, you need to make sure that your policy covers this.
It's possible to have a boat insured under your home insurance policy, but this will rarely cover specific risks such as running aground or wreck removal.
If you intend to use the boat for commercial purposes, for charter or even informal client entertainment, most insurance companies will class this as commercial use and the cover will probably be more expensive. Always check with your broker to make sure that you are covered.
It is important to check the territorial limits of any boat cover before undertaking a trip abroad. Many European countries will ask for evidence of insurance cover and may require a translation which your insurer should be able to provide.
Which Insurance Company to Choose
You should always choose a familiar and reputable insurance company which specifically caters for boat insurance. Many regular high street insurers are able to offer boat insurance, but may not have the expertise to offer the best advice. If you're in the UK, it is always best to choose a firm based in the UK so that access to UK Law and competition is available if a problem should occur.
Making a Claim
Submit your claim as soon as possible after an accident. Any incidences of theft or criminal damage should be reported to the police. For your claim form you'll also need the Crime Reference Number.
Usually, you'll be asked to get at least one quotation in writing for the repairs or replacement. Often you'll need two if the claim is over a certain value. Before allowing repairs or a replacement, your insurance company might send an inspector or loss adjuster to make an assessment of the damages.
Most insurance companies will require a survey for any boat aged 20 years old or more, and again after every five years. Some boats may require a survey earlier than this if they have sustained serious damage, if they are wooden or if they have been self-built.
None of us can predict when or where an accident may occur. However careful or experienced you may be it's vital to insure your boat. Speak to fellow sailors and do plenty of research on the web. The right boat insurance gives you peace of mind which is invaluable.
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