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Do I need to insure my yacht and how much will it cost?

The simple answer to this question is almost certainly yes. By law you will need to be able to provide proof of some type of insurance (at least third party) for your yacht in order to be able to sail it on waterways, in harbours, on canals, etc. The issues are therefore what type of insurance you will either need to have or would ideally want to have.

In order to be able to sail and moor your yacht you will need to have a license from the British Waterways, Environment Agency and Broads Authority. You can only obtain a license from these sources if you can produce evidence of at least third party insurance.

Different types of insurance:
Just like insurance on a motor vehicle, there are different types of marine insurance available. The most basic of differences is the one between third party insurance and fully comprehensive insurance. Simply put, third party insurance insures you against claims against you; in other words, if you cause damage to property or injury when sailing your yacht, your insurance covers you for any claim made against you for repairs, replacement or compensation. What third party insurance does not do is offer you any cover for your own property or person.

It is possible to buy extension insurance to third party insurance, specifically against theft of your boat, or damage in the event it catches fire; this is what is referred to in motor car insurance terms as third party, theft and fire.

Of course, if you are sailing a yacht that is of little value, you may take the view that you do not want to insure against repairs or damage as it may not be worth it. However, do think about the fact that should your yacht sink then in order to remove the wreckage you would have to pay for the salvage operation to recover and remove it.

Fully comprehensive insurance is just what it sounds like; you are covered for damage to others and their property, but also to your own.

How much does it cost to insure a yacht?
A major factor in the ultimate cost of insuring your yacht will be its value. This will be dictated by its size, condition, age and state of repair, and the types of sails and equipment you will want insured as well as the hull and its contents.

Brokers specialising in marine insurance will have a very clear idea of the value of yachts by manufacturer, age, condition and equipment, and most will have a fairly accurate and up to date database.

There are a number of things to consider in buying insurance besides your boat and yourself: your personal effects, any period the boat is not in the water or is in transit, and sailing abroad. Also consider whether you will wish to race your yacht, as this will increase insurance premiums.

If you have a trailer for your yacht and wish to insure it you may be able to do so by tying it into your car insurance.

Given the number of variable factors in insuring your yacht, it is difficult to give a firm price range, but some websites quote as low as £220 for fully comprehensive yacht insurance and as little as £80.00 for third party only, but these are prices obviously used as a very rough ‘taster’ guide. Insurance 4 Boats provide reasonably priced yacht insurance, but you should always check with marine insurance specialists to get a policy that is right for you and shop around to get the best possible price.