Boat Insurance

If you currently own a river craft or seagoing vessel moored somewhere in the United Kingdom, the odds are that you’ll need to be insured.

Insurance is required for the vast majority of watercraft for you to make use of your vessel without incurring legal action from your local navigation authority. As with motor vehicles on land it is considered a criminal offense to use (or even own) your boat without having the right type in place.

How Your Boat Insurance is Estimated

There is good news. Although specialist boat insurers are a niche market most run affordable schemes for boats similar to those that most major insurers run for cars.

The average cost of insurance will ultimately depend on the type and current state of your vessel. Many insurers operate on the basis of having a set flexible band for each variant of boat.

These set premiums are usually payable monthly or yearly, so a fixed source of income is utterly key to successful boat owning. If you were anticipating buying a new boat as a one-off cost now may be the time to reconsider your options.

Third-party and fully comprehensive packages are typically available. Third-party will cover any liability incurred in an accident with another boat whilst fully comprehensive packages will usually extend your coverage to most serious foreseeable incidents (i.e. fire, theft, vandalism). The major downside to a third-party package is that you will usually have to pay for your own repairs in the event of an accident.

Whether your boat is also covered against acts of god mostly depends on the package you buy, but expect to pay substantially more. Nevertheless, coverage does exist for certain unforeseeable incidents (such as damage incurred by storms).

Legal coverage for any dispute that can arise can often be added to your package for an additional fee.

If you’re looking at living part or full-time on your boat you will also need to take out a policy that covers home insurance for fixtures and fittings (most smaller, portable items will usually be covered by your existing household policy). This may likewise incur additional, regular costs, although they can often be packaged at a discount with regular boat insurance.

Much like with cars insurers will also try to take the specific make, current market value, and your past record with boats into account when calculating your premium. Many insurers will also ask for a valuation assessment, either undertaken by self-reporting or a third party, before offering you a personalised package. It is important to be honest, as your premium may fall short of coverage otherwise in the event of an accident.

Expensive makes of boat, vessels with additional custom modifications or additions, or types of boat perceived as more risk-prone (i.e. large luxury yachts, expensive speed boats) will, of course, typically incur larger yearly premiums without extenuating circumstances.

Yearly no-claims bonuses may also apply as your premium can fall significantly over time. Expect a 20-40% discount for five years of no-claims.

Using your boat for competitive racing or water sports will also substantially raise your premium. These activities may also require separate liability insurance in certain cases. Any water-toys attached to the boat may also need to be taken into account as an insurable factor, which may raise your premium further.

Insurance Estimates

Below is a brief rundown of some of the more common types of boat that need insurance, each with a rough estimate of what to expect to pay premium wise for coverage.

These are only estimates based on current market information. They should therefore not be used as an absolute, inflexible price guide.


A dinghy is usually amongst the cheapest boats to insure. Expect to pay £60-80 for fully comprehensive and c.£30 for third-party coverage per year. Costs may rise if the dinghy is motorised.


Expect to pay around £120-200 for fully comprehensive cover and £60-90 for third-party only to cover a seagoing leisure vessel of this type.

Expect similar costs for specialised vehicles, such as sportsboats.


For fully comprehensive with contents cover, expect to pay around £300-500 per year to keep a houseboat running. Similar models such as Dutch Barges incur similar costs.

Third-party accident cover is much cheaper at around £170-200. However, the use and contents of the boat should be carefully considered before this is arranged with an insurer. You could stand to lose much more than just a boat in the event of a crisis.


A medium sized yacht will cost £100-200 to insure on a fully comprehensive basis. Expect to pay around £80-120 for third-party coverage.

Yacht costs can vary greatly due to a vast range of mooring destinations, possible contents, and custom fittings. Talk to your provider for information about insuring larger or luxury vessels. Click here for more information


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