Boat Insurance – The Key Factors That Determine Your Quote!

This marine insurance article reviews the key price calculation factors that will ultimately determine the boat insurance quotation for inland waterways vessels. Whether you own a dutch barge, narrowboat, houseboat or other type of barge in insurance terms the vast majority of boat insurance companies will categorise them as the same. The reason for this is perhaps partly due to simplicity (there are already too many boat types the boat insurance companies have to create and maintain premium calculation rules for!), but actually the key reason is because the inherent risk of a claim between these categories is very similar. Luckily if you own a barge this immediately guarantees you lower rates of insurance levy, with fast powerboats/ yachts attracting the highest levies for obvious reasons (greater speed = greater claims!). Regardless of boat insurance category however all good boat insurance companies will firstly offer you the option of either comprehensive or third party only insurance.

As you might guess this option is actually the single biggest criteria in determining your insurance cost as you are effectively stating whether the insurer must pay a claim on one or two vessels in the event of an incident and you are found at fault. Third party insurances are usually calculated as a fixed price, but assuming you select comprehensive insurance, the second key factor determining the price of any boat insurance quote is inevitably the total value of your vessel. Insurance companies literally take the value of the vessel (plus an additional quoted items you state for coverage e.g. generator, ouboard) and multiply it by a specific percentage rate (i.e. vessel value x 0.#%). When it comes to inland waterways insurance the rate applied is normally fairly static however the rate can be on a sliding scale (i.e. reducing gradually for higher valued boats) but also age may well be classed as a factor (i.e. as boats age the probability of hull disrepair increases the likelihood of accidental sinking). The third key factor that will affect your quote will be (similar to most insurance types), years no claims bonus. Most insurers provide 5 years but some do provide 6 years. For each and every year without a claim a percentage will be knocked off your final insurance cost up to the maximum number of years. The remaining factors determining your insurance cost are often then optional. Clearly taking up additional optional items incurs a cost (or risk) for the insurer and as a result inevitably affects the price;

  • Breakdown cover (usually a fixed price)
  • Contents cover (depends on the type and value of contents being covered & normally requires direct contact with insurance staff)
  • No claims bonus protection (when available at a small percentage rate)

Finally there are also one or two other factors which may be taken into consideration (this all depends on individual insurers) which perhaps don’t affect a majority but inevitably will affect some. For example, not having a mooring (roaming boats are of greater risk to insurers due to increased movement) or requirement for access to tidal areas e.g. on the River Severn near Gloucester, UK for instance. Somewhat surprisingly whilst most insurers will stipulate an age of 18 or over, thereafter age is not a factor upon boat insurance cost. Those over 70 however may find exemptions from personal injury claims.