Boat insurance is not compulsory, unlike car insurance. There is no legal requirement to take out boat insurance, and this makes is all the more important to give important consideration, rather than just buying the policy with the cheapest premium, or risking it all and going without any kind of insurance at all.
The notion that you are not required to take out insurance on your boat comes with severe limitations. If you have a powered boat or a houseboat that you wish to use on inland waterways you'll probably need third party insurance for at least £1 million in damages payout. If you wish to traverse inland waterways without being insured to this standard you'll have to check with the relevant navigation authority. Neglecting to do so could land you a fine or even get you prosecuted.
Some harbours will also require third party insurance for you to moor with them.
Whether you're looking to own a luxury yacht or a dinghy your boat is a vulnerable expense which you're going to want to protect.
You'll if you leave possessions on your boat then you may want to consider contents insurance, particularly with narrowboats. Narrowboats can be kitted out as year round homes, full of amenities. Because of this they are prime targets for theft. If you live in your narrowboat it is clearly essential to you and we implore you to consider contents cover as well as vandalism, fire and theft as part of the insurance package you'll need to go on most inland waterways.
Yachts and other large boats need at least third party insurance before you can moor them in harbours or take them inland. A yacht is defined as a vessel that is over 27 feet long and it will require liability cover of at least £3 million. Yacht insurance can vary wildly so check that it does what you want it to. If you plan to take it racing check that it covers you for damages to the mast, sails etc. If you plan in sailing to different countries check that your insurance covers you abroad. If you plan on sailing solo you'll have to check this with your insurance company, too.
Depending on the water activities you're planning on, such as waterskiing, wakeboarding or riding a jet ski, it may be worth while taking out personal injury cover so you can have some peace of mind while you play.
Smaller boats and jet skis may spend a lot of time in transit - on a trailer on the back of your car. If you wish to protect the value of your marine vehicle while it is being towed by your car you'll want to check your existing car insurance and your existing boat insurance as often this is not covered. Even if you're looking to leave a larger boat in the water this may want to be moved across land every once in a while, making transit cover an important consideration when taking out insurance for boats.
Water skiing has never been more popular, but unlike more conventional sports like football, you need more than just a ball and some coats to put down as goalposts, to take it up.
Buying and owning a canal boat as a holiday home provides unprecedented freedom and holiday opportunities without the huge costs of international flights and expensive hotels.