Although home insurance policies may cover boats during storage on the property, boats are exposed to many risks that require their own specific boat insurance policy.
When taking your boat out on the water, regardless of whether it is for a leisurely sail, a long-haul trip, or for racing, it is recommendable to seek out a suitable insurance policy. Boats have a high level of risk associated with them including injury, damage and theft so it is good practice to insure them.
Unlike home insurance policies, boat insurance is specifically designed to cover the needs of boat owners. Thus, you are much more likely to have an insurance policy that is tailored to your needs from specialist insurers who understand the specific risks and challenges of owning a boat.
The easy answer is no. Although the amount of coverage for your boat will vary from one home insurance policy to another, it is unlikely that the policy will be sufficient to cover all of your specific boating needs.
That being said, what a home insurance policy will normally cover is any damage that is incurred by your boat whilst it is on your property. If you choose to store your boat at home, you may be covered up to a certain value by your home insurance. Yet, the amount of coverage offered is typically lower than that of a specific boat insurance policy. Additionally, this policy will not cover your boat whilst it is in-transit, moored in a marina or on the water.
Your boat may be covered by your car insurance whilst you are towing your boat to the water, up to a point. Yet, motor insurances are not specialised to insure boats meaning that the policy will likely be fairly limited. It does not function as an adequate replacement for boat insurance.
In the UK, boat insurance is not a legal requirement. However, if you are choosing to dock your boat in a boatyard or a marina, you will need third-party cover. Additionally, if you plan to sail in rivers and canals, you will need to take out an insurance policy.
Despite not being a legal requirement, it is highly recommended to take out a boat insurance policy. This is especially true for bigger boats or those worth a lot of money. Not having boat insurance opens you up to very high costs associated with damage to yours or someone else’s vehicles, personal injury and theft.
Some home insurance policies provide good coverage both for smaller boats and motors. Typically, this is limited to a certain horsepower (around 25 to 100), as these vehicles are more low risk. It is worth noting that home insurance policies, if they cover water crafts, may only apply to use in inland waterways, rivers and lakes. It is unusual for a home insurance policy to extend to usage of boats outside of a coastal inlet. This would typically require a specific marine insurance policy.
The extent to which your boat is protected will depend largely on the homeowner’s policy that you choose. Many policies will not specifically cover risks incurred whilst on the water. Risks such as wreck removal, fuel leakages and third-party liability cover are things which are hugely important when insuring your boat. Yet, they are things that may not come under a traditional homeowner’s policy. Consequently, many boat-owners choose to take out a separate insurance policy to ensure that marine-specific risks are covered.