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Shopping Around For Boat Insurance

Apr 4, 2008
All too often after buying a boat, boat insurance can become a bit of an afterthought. Many boat owners do not have an understanding of what they are covered for and how marine insurance differs from regular car insurance. It's not surprising things can get confusing when there are often variations beyond the basic coverage and even boat and yacht policy discrepancies between companies that specialise in marine insurance.

Any good marine policy should include physical damage and liability coverage. Physical damage coverage reimburses for any damage incurred to the boat or its machinery. Experts usually recommend a policy that covers your vessel even whilst it is being stored or transported, the best policy being an 'all risk' policy which will cover any loss not specifically excluded from the policy for example vandalism and wind storms. It is best to check your policy to find out the real extent to which you are covered for damage.

When you compare physical damage coverage an important consideration is whether the insurance settlement is based on an 'agreed value' or an 'actual cash value'. If based on an 'agreed value' you will be reimbursed for the amount listed on the policy in the event of a total loss. If you have made important additions to your boat it is in your interest to check the full value of your boat is covered. 'Actual cash value' will take into account depreciation and the condition of the boat at the time of loss and consequently provides less coverage but at a lower premium.

You can get additional coverage for a range of instances. Medical payments cover first aid, hospital and ambulance bills in the event of an accident. This also covers any passengers. Personal property and towing and assistance coverage is also available from marine insurance providers. Uninsured boater coverage will cover you and your passengers for any injuries caused by another boat owner not covered for liability insurance.

Remember to check the cruising area specified on your policy. Make sure that your policy covers you for where you want to go.

When you are still at the stage of shopping around and comparing policies take note of the excess on the policy. Do not simply concentrate on the premium but pay attention to the amount you will have to pay in the event of making a claim. Check for hidden charges especially if you are paying by premium finance (monthly instalments) as these can end up pushing up your premium to higher than expected.

How much you end up paying for your insurance will depend on a variety of factors including the length, value, type and age of the boat and the mooring location and cruising area. The key is to ensure that you find the most suitable policy and competitive premium based on your needs. Methods of reducing your premium may be to accept a higher deductible, install safety devices or reduce your cruising area. However you may just as well want to cover a high value vessel at worldwide cruising ranges which is also possible with the many policies on offer.

Ideally before you think about buying a boat compare quotes and speak to marine insurance experts to make sure your boat has adequate protection.
About the Author
For further information about boat insurance and buying a boat visit experienced yacht brokers Inwards Marine at http://www.inwardsmarine.com. Based in Europe Inwards Marine have offices in the UK, Switzerland and Monaco.
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