For some people buying insurance for anything is a nightmare. Boat insurance is approached in a similar way to home insurance. Insurers calculate your premium based on a number of risk factors, and your quote will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your boat (model, location, age, value etc), as well as your personal circumstances, such as previous claims history, and qualifications.
You'll be pleased to hear that there are a number of things you can do to help reduce your premiums and make you look like a desirable customer for any insurer. It goes without saying that being careful and having a clear claims history will go a long way to reducing your costs, but you should also consider obtaining certain certifications and qualifications which are recognised by certain associations and insurance brokers. Depending on your purpose, there are a number of qualifications you can look for such as the 'International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft' and the RYA/MCA 'Coastal Skipper Certificate'. Insurers love these types of qualification as it demonstrates that you have knowledge of your particular field, and reduces the risk of having you as a customer.
Like with car and home insurance, your price will be affected by the area your boat is stored or moored at. If crime is particularly high, or there are any other extenuating circumstances such as weather risk, then you can expect a rise in premium as a result. Unlike car or home insurance though, you have the option of where to keep you vessel and you can effectively 'shop around' getting quotes for different marinas etc to help whittle down the best and cheapest option for yourself.
Again, as with home and motor insurance, you can reduce the risk, and therefore the cost, by improving security measures on your boat. There are a wide range of options available, and depending on the cost of your boat/premium, you'll need to gauge how much to invest on this. Generally speaking, extra locks on cabin doors etc, engine locks, and CCTV/ improved locks for when the vessel is stored will all be taken into consideration by the provider.
Coverage for Competitions and Racing
If you’re planning on taking part in any competitions or racing events, don't assume that your policy automatically provides cover. It may seem that the vast open sea is an unlikely place to have a collision but accidents do happen, and the competitive nature of sporting events makes insurers nervous; boats are pushed harder and faster than they would be for leisurely use, and as a result stand greater chance of failure.
If you're in the process of applying for insurance for your speed boat, jet ski or yacht etc, ensure that you mention to your provider that you plan to take part in competitions, and enquire as to the coverage level and any additional cost.
The other thing to consider and enquire about is exclusions for certain areas/contents/countries; if you're planning a voyage into Somalian Pirate infested waters, you're unlikely to get affordable insurance! If you're in and around Europe, then taking out a policy which covers you more or less worldwide would be a waste of money, the same can be said if you never intend venturing past the Devonshire coast. Many insurers offer the flexibility to add additional cover as a time-limited extra as and when needed, meaning that you can add to your policy the relevant level of cover if you plan to venture further at any point. Again this is something you should query upon application if there's a chance it might apply to you at some point© Glebska | Dreamstime.com