The importance of having boat insurance and the consequences of not having it

Boating can be an expensive hobby and both novices and more experienced boaters sometimes wonder whether the extra expense of boat insurance is justifiable. If your boat is moored at a marina or a local authority mooring, or if you launch it from a slipway at such locations, you may well have no choice but to purchase at least third party insurance, as this is a common requirement for boat owners using these facilities. However, apart from these circumstances, there is no legal obligation in the UK for boat owners to take out insurance and it might be seen by some as a luxury rather than a necessity.

A day’s cruise at sea or boating on a river or lake are wonderful ways of de-stressing and boat insurance is all about your peace of mind. A relatively small fee paid up front means that if the unforeseen happens, your insurers will pay out what could be a very large sum. You may think that if you do not use your boat very often and are careful when out and about on the water that insurance is not necessary, but accidental damage and theft can occur even when your boat is stored in a safe location. Insurance also covers you for unexpected events: for example, what if your boat breaks loose from its moorings and causes damage to another owner’s valuable boat? For boats that are of low intrinsic value, inexpensive third party cover that will pay out in this eventuality may well be enough. If a boat is rather more high-end, or if there is valuable equipment such as auxiliary motors or fishing gear on board, many owners prefer to take out comprehensive marine insurance that covers theft, vandalism and accidental damage to their property and that of others.

Whether non-compulsory boat insurance is a worthwhile expense is a question only the individual can answer. People love boating for the tranquility and relaxation of days spent on the water and boat insurance is really about peace of mind: an annual or monthly insurance fee can ensure you a whole season’s worry-free enjoyment of your boat.