A Short Guide to Motorboat Insurance
Whether you just enjoy leisurely local cruising or exploring further afield, getting the right motorboat insurance for your needs is important. This guide is designed to help you understand not just the types of motorboat insurance available, and their associated limits, but also what you can do to help reduce the cost of your cover.
What types of cover are available?
There are two types of cover which will normally be at the core of a motorboat insurance policy:
- Vessel Loss or Damage: This can provide cover for the cost of loss or damage to your motorboat arising from a range of causes such as accident, theft, fire, and storm. You can usually choose the level of cover you want, which should reflect the full cost of you replacing your motorboat with an equivalent craft. Depending on the value of your motorboat, you may also have the option to arrange cover on a market value or agreed value basis, with the premium, and the amount payable in the event of a total loss, varying based on the option you select.
- Third Party Liability: This can help protect you from liabilities you may incur to other people for death, injury or property damage arising from the use of the motorboat. Most companies will only allow a pre-determined level of cover, but some will allow you to choose a value, with the premium varying accordingly. While having liability cover is not a legal requirement in the UK for most leisure boats, it may be required if you wish to navigate certain waterways / territorial waters, or to use a commercial marina.
In addition to the above, there are a range of other covers related to motorboat insurance, further details of which can be found by clicking the links below:
- Tender Cover
- Trailer Cover
- Outboard Cover
- Personal Belongings
- Personal Accident
- Medical Expenses
- Emergency Accommodation
- Emergency Travel
- Emergency Breakdown
- Search & Rescue Costs
- Marina Benefits
- Machinery Extension
- Replacement Locks & Keys
- Courtesy Vessel
- Mooring Fees
- NCD Protection
- Marine Legal Protection
Many insurance providers bundle up the different types of motorboat insurance into a single package, but this can result in owners paying for cover they may not want or need. An alternative therefore is to look for a provider which lets you choose the cover you want, as well as letting you vary your cover as your needs change over the year.
What are common exclusions or restrictions on motorboat insurance?
The specific exclusions on your motorboat insurance will vary according to what types of cover you have selected. However, most policies will have a set of general exclusions such as for:
- Use of the motorboat for an illegal or non-permitted purpose.
- Use of the motorboat outside the geographical limits of the policy.
- Wear, tear, depreciation, or similar deterioration of the motorboat.
- A failure to ensure the motorboat is properly manned and maintained in a seaworthy condition.
- Reckless acts by anyone in charge of the motorboat.
- Damage by Insects, vermin, barnacles, marine growth, corrosion, rot, rust etc.
Similarly, for the motorboat insurance to operate the insurer will require you to:
- Take reasonable steps to look after the motorboat and ensure anyone using it is competent to do so.
- Ensure that if the motorboat is moored, it is in a safe, properly maintained location.
- Comply with any regulations relating to the safe operation of the motorboat.
- Take reasonable steps to ensure information you provide to them is accurate and current.
- Always be honest in your dealings with them.
As such exclusions and requirements can vary between insurers, make sure you check the policy terms when arranging cover.
Where do I need my motorboat insurance to operate?
The first consideration in terms of where you want your motorboat insurance to operate is what is your intended cruising area. These are the geographical areas and waterway types within which you plan to use your motorboat, and therefore where you wish to be covered. Most companies will require you to select an area from a drop-down list of broad options, although a more modern innovation is to allow you to map the precise area for which you require cover.
The second consideration is where will your motorboat be kept when it is not in use. This will usually be at a mooring location, in which case what type of mooring in involved and who has access to it may be considered. Alternatively you may keep your motorboat out of the water, in which case factors such as the type of premises in which it is kept and how it is stored will come in to play.
What can I use my motorboat for?
The permitted uses under a motorboat insurance policy will usually include as standard, use of the vessel for ‘private and pleasure’ purposes, although this may exclude certain activities such as racing or any commercial usage. However, depending on the provider, it may be possible to extend cover to include uses such as for:
Who can use my motorboat?
As with most forms of transport (cars, aircraft etc), much of the risk associated with a motorboat does not come from the vessel itself but the person in control of it. However unlike cars and aircraft, there is usually no licencing requirement when it comes to who can use a motorboat. Insurers are therefore increasingly looking for other indications of experience when calculating premiums, such as:
- Who will be permitted to use the motorboat?
- How much general boating experience do they have?
- How much experience do they have specifically on motorboats?
- What qualifications do they hold and how applicable are they to motorboat use?
What this does mean is that owners who are prepared to restrict who can be in control of the motorboat to relatively experienced, well qualified users, will tend to benefit from lower premiums.
How can I keep my premium down?
The cost of your motorboat insurance will be determined by a wide variety of factors, not least of which being who you buy your cover off and how much flexibility they offer, both in terms of cover options and the discounts they give when calculating the premium. Amongst the actions which you can take to keep your premium down are:
- Try to gain one or more relevent motorboat qualifications.
- Restrict those who you allow to be in control of the motorboat to experienced users only.
- Ensure that you have good physical security on your motorboat.
- Keep your motorboat in a safe, secure location when it is not in use.
- Consider arranging a higher excess on the ‘vessel loss and damage’ section of your policy.
- If your motorboat insurance provider offers flexibility in terms of the different covers available, only select those that you need.
- Unless you know you will be using your motorboat for towing water skis / toys or charter, you may not need to include cover for such uses from the start of your policy, you can always add it later when you are sure you need it.
- Similarly, only select the cruising area where you know you will be using the motorboat. If you need to use it elsewhere during the year you can always extend the cover later.
- If your circumstances change, such as you no longer need a cover option, or you no longer need cover for an inexperienced user, consider updating your policy immediately rather than waiting until your next renewal.
- Watch out for ‘hidden’ charges such as administration fees to increase your cover.
Spending a little more time thinking about the cover you want, and giving your insurance provider a little more information about you and your motorboat, may well result in you cutting the cost of your motorboat insurance.
How can we help you to keep the cost of your motorboat insurance down?
There are many ways in which Visicover can help you to keep the cost of your motorboat insurance down:
- Rather than bundle different types of motorboat insurance into a single package, resulting in you possibly paying for cover you may not need, we let you choose the cover you want.
- We offer a wide range of discounts, such as rewarding experienced owners or those with relevent qualifications, as well as those who take care of their motorboat when it is in use and when it is not (e.g. ensuring it has good physical security and is kept in a safe location).
- You can spread the payment of your premium over nine months at no extra cost.
- We know that owner’s requirements can change over time, which is why we enable them to update their cover online whenever they want, usually with no administration fee.