If the past few years have taught many of us anything, it’s the high value of leisure time. There’s nothing like the end of a long period of disruption to reignite the mantra, “Live life to the full.”
Buying and enjoying a new boat is one example of doing precisely that. The time you’re going to spend using your latest acquisition is a commodity worth protecting. That means insuring your boat properly so you can fully relax as you stretch out on board.
Find out more as we navigate through a sea of boat insurance options and assess their importance.
Boat Insurance Explained
Unlike with cars, in Australia, it’s not a legal requirement to insure your boat. On the face of it, that’s quite surprising given the relatively high value of many boats. Don’t get too excited because unless money’s no object, a “no insurance” option is never a good one.
It’s all about risk and, given the density of traffic on our roads, you’re arguably more likely to have an accident in your car than you are on your boat. But, not paying out for the best boat insurance is a false economy.
There are certain circumstances when you’re going to need it in order to get your boat out onto the water at all. For example, many marinas require a minimum of third-party cover if you want to use their facilities. And, what happens if you’re towing your boat on the open road and you have an accident?
Types of Boat Insurance
There are two main kinds of boat insurance: comprehensive and third-party. In a nutshell, comprehensive products offer cover for both your own boat and those of others whereas third-party insurance won’t cover any damage to your own vessel.
Both kinds of insurance tend to include liability cover in case you injure someone else outside of your own party or damage their property.
There are, however, disparities as to what gets included in both these categories. That includes huge variations in the upper limit an insurer may pay out on a liability claim. For example, some may offer up to $20m whilst others only up to $10m.
Everything depends on the product so it’s worth considering what you might want or need. If you’re a new owner without much experience, that’s a big ask. The best advice would be to cover all your bases initially and then reassess further on down the line, if necessary.
Read the Small Print
Given the high value of boats, it’s likely that, at least initially, you’re going to be super careful and more cautious until you build up a degree of confidence you’re comfortable with.
That said, you need to make sure you have the best boat insurance cover against any accident you have, especially in case you’re at fault and cause damage or injury to another party.
As with any insurance product, the devil is always in the detail. By definition, comprehensive insurance is going to offer you better cover than third-party. However, it’s a good idea to check how the insurers calculate the value of your boat should you ever need to replace it.
Here are some common reasons boat owners make claims on their policies:
- Fire, storm or accidental damage and vandalism
Some policies have exclusions. Wear and tear, faulty parts and lack of maintenance are typical ones. Before looking at any bolt-on boat insurance extras, here are a few general questions to ask about any type of comprehensive insurance you’re considering:
- What is the maximum replacement value I can claim for my boat?
- What is the upper cash limit if I’m liable in an accident?
- Will my cover be valid if I take part in some kind of competition?
- What are the key general exclusions in my policy?
- How far can I travel offshore?
- How will any salvage costs work?
- What happens if I tow my boat and have an accident?
- Am I comfortable with the insurer’s perceived level of customer service?
Once you have satisfactory answers, it’s time to consider other extras you might want your insurer to include in your policy.
The Importance of Getting Away From It All
You’ve got the boat and bought the t-shirt. You also think you have your insurance sorted. But it’s not only the actual boat and other people you need to be thinking of. There are further issues that can crop up and have the potential to wreck the best-laid plans.
Time-off is a precious commodity. You need to be sure you have it covered. If you’re towing your boat, the last thing you need is a load of hassle if you have a breakdown en route to a well-deserved weekend break on the water.
Some policies will cover your boat, vehicle and trailer together so that you can set off with total peace of mind. There are other optional extras to think about too.
- Fishing gear
- Water ski equipment
- Diving gear
- On board tools
It’s always a good idea to make sure you have cover for these in case there’s damage or theft.
When you have a lot of prep and packing to do, it’s just the moment to take your eye off the ball and lock your car keys in your vehicle. Some policies offer assistance in either retrieving a spare set or getting inside the car itself.
Breakdowns due to flat batteries or burst tires as well as thefts are not time-dependent, so be sure to choose an insurer that can offer 24/7 cover, 365 days of the year.
We’ve Got You Covered
We want all our customers to enjoy their new boat to the full, relaxed in the knowledge that they have the support of an excellent insurance product. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Club Marine Assist for all your boat insurance needs.
Not only do its policies offer a load of valuable extras, but there’s also a huge range of discounts available to members and even an app to make claims.
We’re proud to be able to recommend the best boat insurance product that includes round-the-clock support, 7 days a week. Get in touch with us now and get all your bases covered before you set sail.