Boat Insurance – What You Need to Know

Boat insurance is an important consideration for anyone that owns a boat – but do you know all you need to know about this type of insurance? We break down and answer all your important questions in our handy guide below… 

Do You Legally Need Boat Insurance? 

Unlike other types of insurance, boat insurance is not a legal requirement. With that said, boats can be an expensive investment and boat insurance can provide you with that all important protection should anything happen to your vessel.

What Kind of Boat Insurance Do You Need?

Regardless of what boat you own, your first decision will be whether you opt for third party liability insurance or full boat insurance. While third party liability insurance will help protect you if you cause damage to another boat, full boat insurance will ensure you’re protected against all sorts of damages.

Outside of this, the kind of boat insurance you need will then depend on a number of different factors. These can vary between insurance providers but they most commonly involve the type of boat you own, the value of the boat, its engine type, where you dock your boat when not in use, as well as the previous boating insurance of the boat’s owner. 

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

Full boat insurance won’t protect you against everything, but most standard boat insurance policies will ensure you are protected against several different scenarios as standard. These typically include:

Accidental Damage

As long as your boat is damaged through no fault of your own, you’ll be able to make a claim. Common causes include perilous weather, such as lightning, or fires. This type of cover will also protect you if you accidentally damage someone else’s boat. 

Personal Belongings

Boat insurance will also protect your personal belongings if they’re lost due to an accident or stolen. Bear in mind that different boat insurance policies will have different maximum value thresholds, so if you have any particularly expensive items aboard, it’s worth checking that your insurance will actually cover the full amount.

Personal Accident

Most boat insurance will also protect you should you suffer any accident on your boat that wasn’t your fault. This includes any emergency medical expenses, all the way to more extreme damages, such as permanent disabilities or injuries that have life-changing consequences, such as loss of sight. 

Third Party Liability 

Full boat insurance will also give you all the cover third party liability insurance will provide you. Third party liability helps protect you if you end up causing an accident that impacts another person or vessel, so it’s always worth having. As with personal belongings, you’ll want to check up to how much your insurer will cover you for. 

What Will My Boat Insurance Not Cover?

While full boat insurance will protect you against all of the above, don’t assume you’ll simply be protected against everything. Many policies have exclusions, so it’s worth knowing what is excluded from your insurance policy. Common boat insurance exclusions include:

Incorrect Mooring

You’ll need to let your boat insurance provider know where you moor your boat when not in use. Depending on the type of boat you may be asked to have your boat moored in a spot most suited for it, such as a canal bank. If your mooring doesn’t adhere to your boat insurance policy, or you moor your boat in a different spot without letting your provider know, your policy may become invalid.

Poor Security Measures

While most boat insurance policies will protect you if your boat is stolen, your policy might not pay out if you didn’t take reasonable steps to secure your vessel in the first place. As such, it pays to install some basic security to ensure your boat (and your policy!) is protected. 

General Wear & Tear

General wear & tear can be a pain but due to it being unavoidable, boat insurance won’t typically cover any damage caused by it. 


If you use your boat for more extreme uses such as racing, you’ll be hard pressed to find a boat insurance provider that will cover you due to the increased likelihood of accidents and damages. 

Looking After Your Boat

Boat insurance can protect you and your vessel – but it also pays to take the necessary steps yourself to help protect your boat. Be sure to check out our guide to boat checks to ensure you’re safe every time you set out, or with winter approaching, why not check our boat care in winter guide?