ADVICE ABOUT YOUR BOAT INSURANCE......
Introducing to UK & EU Boat Insurances
Points about Leisure Boat Marine Insurances
Boat insurance for leisure boating is (....believe it or not!) not mandatory in the UK. It is however in almost all of the EU.
However we here at Pennine Marine always recommend that every boat owner and marine operator has a minimum of both personal injury and third party insurance in place when using their boat: on either inshore or coastal waters.
If you do go boating without insurance, you might get away with it. However if you ever have a serious accident on your boat, especially if somebody gets injured, then if you do not have a boat insurance policy to cover you: you will become personally liable. This situation of not having proper insurance for your boat is far, far worse than paying an annual marine insurance premium. Boating accidents are very rare. Serious boating accidents are, fortunately, even more rare. However marine accidents do happen occasionally: and when they do it can become expensive. It is not just a matter of getting wet; remember that too much water can involve drowning. Personal injury accidents caused by boats are rare. However serious boating accidents which do involve both death and/or destruction and personal injury are both extremely expensive and extremely litigious. Thus the consequences of a severe marine accident can run on for years after the event.
Uninsured persons have been bankrupted and ruined after a serious accident (not just in the boating world) - simply because they have become personally liable for all costs incurred as a result of their accident. This being the 21st century, any type of marine accident that results in either damage – or even worse, death or serious injury - will get very very expensive.
Paying your annual boat insurance premium means you, as the boat owner, are covered for the financial aspects. Therefore you will avoid the worst of the consequences if, god forbid, a serious boating accident did occur. Having proper boating insurance also means you will be able to sleep at night
We must also note that many sailing clubs, powerboat clubs, boating marinas, waterways owners and even council owned slipways are now asking boat owners for proof of marine insurance cover, before they will allow you use of their boating facilities.
Different Types of Marine Insurance Cover for Leisure Boats
There are two basic types of boat insurance – third party cover or comprehensive cover.
Third party cover only covers the damage and injury to other boats and other people. Third party marine insurance is normally for at least £2M, however there are occasions when more cover may be required for specific types of higher risk boating. Comprehensive boat insurance however covers both this third party injury and damage and also damage to your own boat. With comprehensive boat insurance, of vital importance to make clear to your boat insurers whether you want your boats “current value” insured (after depreciation), or whether you want full replacement “new for old” value of your boat. In practice most people who own a boat will take out comprehensive boat insurance, simply as you will probably want to cover your boat.
Anyhow, often you will find that there is very little difference between the cost of annual premiums for boat insurance for having either third party cover or the, far better, fully comprehensive cover.
Boat Insurance for Chartering, Hiring and Commercial Use
If your boat is used for any type of chartering or commercial use, then quite simply it must be insured. Please always make it clear to yor marine insurance company, whenever you are chartering, hiring or taking any fare-paying passengers. Even taking on board your boat a passage crew who pay you a nominal amount for the trip counts as "commercial boating use" . Please also read - and be aware of - the small print in your boating insurance policy. If in doubt, we recommend you always check with your boat insurers before thinking about boat hiring, boat chartering or taking any fare paying passengers - or even nominal payments by passengers to "help out with the bills".
Common Exclusions in Boating Insurance Policies
Creeping into many marine leisure / recreational boating insurance policies, there are now a number of common exclusions from the standard boating insurance clauses, such as;
- Towing toys (i.e. doughnuts, ringos, bananas)
- Boat drivers under 16 (or 18) years old
- Going a long way offshore
Cover for these “high risk” activities is still available, however often at additional cost. These clauses may require you to “shop around” between marine insurers, simply so that you obtain the best deal for they type of boating you want to do. One – and we have to say slightly sneaky - exclusion with some insurers’ boating policies is about “underwater machinery”. This clause is for propellers and engines damaged by striking rocks and other submerged objects. As this is quite a common cause of damage, we do not recommend taking out a marine insurance policy which has this exclusion.
However the good news for boaters is that many of the reputatable marine insurance companies now offer discounts for powerboats and sportsboats if you comply with certain conditions and also have certain boating qualifications. Therefore, for example, our own insurers GJW offer their customers discounts for their customers having RYA / SBDA qualifications (i.e. RYA powerboat level 2); up to 60% no-claims discounts; having a tracker system fitted etc etc Please contact your own isnurers for details of their policies.
The Excess on Boat Insurance
The excess is the first part of any damage or injury claim on your own boat: the excess is the fist part of any claim, which you have to pay yourself. You may want to consider agree to have a higher than standard insurance excess on your policy, as this can significantly reduce your annual marine premiums for your own boat insurance - i.e. you will pay out the first few hundred pounds of any claims. Most marine insurance companies ask boaters for an excess of a few hundred pounds on any one claim
Boat Insurance Premiums
These boat insurance payments are usually arranged annually, and paid either as a simple annual one-off insurance payment, or as monthly insurance premiums.
Your details to be given to Your own Boat Insurers
All marine and boat insurance compnaies are all nowadays asking for more and more details. When you are arranging boat insurance for your pride and joy it is vitally important that you answer the marine insurers question’s honestly and comprehensvely. This is simply because any dishonest answers can invalidate your boat insurance in the event of a claim being made – even if the dishonest answer was not directly related to the type of claim being made!
Boat Insurance when being Towed by a Vehicle
When a boat is being towed by a vehicle, a different insurance principle will apply. Normally it is the vehicle’s insurance which covers the towed boat when it is on the road, not the boat’s insurance. If you are towing your boat, then you need to check that the vehicle insurance covers the boat and trailer.
International and EU Travel and Insuring Your Boat Aboard
In almost all other countries, boat insurance is always compulsory. Many European (EU) countries now require you to have proof of insurance carried with you when you are using your boat.
Most UK boat insurance companies insist you notify them when taking or using your boat outside the UK.
For insurance purposes - despite the UK’s membership of the EU - the definition of the international border still starts at the English Channel, or Irish Sea (around here it is the nearby border with Lancashire). Please check with your own boat insurance company for their own detailed requirements. If you intend to use your boat overseas, tow it internationally, or especially keep it in a foreign country, you will need to change your boat insurance, even if only slightly. Your standard UK boat insurance cover might need to be extended and you may need to take out additional boat insurance.
Within the EU organising your boat's insurance for European use with your own marine insurers is usually fairly simple (however there are some noteable exceptions). The question of whether your boat's insurer will cover you overseas can be tied up with a number of related issues, especially the security arrangements if the boat is unattended.
Security of Boats
Theft of boats - and especially outboard engines (just the engine) - is unfortunately more prevalent than it used to be. Therefore boat insurers are now often insisting on additional security measures on boats, simply so that boat thieves are deterred and prevented. This keeps boat insurance premiums for everybody lower.
Therefore please check with your boat's insurance company which security measures they specifically require - especially if your boat is going to be left unattended in a relatively insecure location.
Conclusion about Boat Insurance
Having given you a few hints, we must now let you arrange your own boat insurance. Please note that we are not a regulated financial advisor and Pennine Marine plays no part whatsoever in arranging (nor paying for) your boating insurance policy with your chosen marine insurance company.