February 14, 2022 - Velos

Boat Insurance vs Yacht Insurance - What's the Difference?

If you are considering getting your boat insured, then you should consider which would be best for your vessel: boat or yacht insurance?

The policy that you choose will dictate a lot about how and where you can use your ship.  But what is the difference between boat and yacht insurance? 

Simply put, yacht insurance covers more precise and wider-reaching insurance coverages for larger vessels.

Yachts are considered to be vessels that measure 27 feet or more in length, whereas boats tend to be 25 feet in length or less. 

So, what will your yacht insurance cover for you, and which boat insurance policy of the two will be the most expensive? 

What Are the Major Difference Between Boat and Yacht Insurance?

As you may know, a standard boat insurance policy covers what are generally considered to be smaller boats (up to 26 feet).

Of course, the specific types of boat insurance policies depend on the boats themselves.

It is important to remember that a ‘boat’ can be anything from a fishing vessel or speedboat to a recreational or professional vessel.

As you can imagine, these different kinds of boats require different levels of insurance based on their age, where they go, who helms them, what they are used for, their market value, the mooring locations, etc. 

However, a general boat insurance coverage usually offers liability, personal property damage, assistance, and will even cover physical damage. 

You should be able to add other things to your insurance terms based on your specific vessel (for example, insuring your fishing equipment). 

However, the policies are a little more precise when it comes to yacht insurance.

Boat Insurance vs Yacht Insurance blog post image

Given that yachts (boats over 27 feet) tend to go further into the ocean, even crossing them, the insurance policies have to be able to meet the needs of owners. 

Generally speaking, every yacht insurance policy should contain the general terms that you would find in typical boat coverage.

As is the case with boat insurance, you will also be able to add fuel spills coverages and coverage for other boats that are uninsured or even underinsured. 

If you do plan on travelling far with your yacht, then you will also be able to extend the insurance past the general navigational limits to follow where you plan to go.

Another thing that tends to be added to yacht policies specifically is certain weather coverage – for example, hurricane coverage.

This will, of course, depend on where you are planning on travelling with your yacht, but it is definitely worth considering. 

Specifically, yacht coverage generally oversees P&I insurance (protection and indemnity) and hull insurance. 

To distinguish boat insurance from yacht insurance, the main things to remember are that yachts tend to be the bigger vessels and that, therefore, their insurance policies tend to be more specific and have broader coverages to cater to greater navigational areas. 

In short, the P&I coverage extends past the general liability coverage that is included in most boat insurances.

It adds certain coverages to meet maritime law. For example, it can cover bodily injury to a crew member and damages caused to other boats during a boating accident.

What Is Not Covered by A Boat Policy that is Covered by a Yacht Policy?

Boat and yacht coverage do tend to have very similar policies that apply to many of the same things.

That being said, as mentioned, yacht insurance policies tend to be far more detailed than a general boat insurance policy. 

For example, animal damage does not feature on most boat insurance policies.

That being said, if you do plan on taking your yacht across an ocean, you could come across certain animals that could potentially damage your boat.

Moreover, yacht insurance tends to cover a broader and more varied area as the owner is likely to sail far and wide on a bigger ship.

However odd that may appear, it is actually very logical. Think about it – if you took a houseboat onto the great open sea, it is likely to come across many things that it will not be prepared for and scenarios it was not built to traverse!

Therefore, the insurance company will not be willing to cover the damages that the boat will receive in those areas.

However, yachts can go to farther and more varied locations, meaning it means a more detailed approach to its insurance policies.

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Yacht vs a Boat on Average?

The amount that boat owners have to pay for marine insurance compared to yacht owners depends on many factors. Sadly, boat insurance is not as straightforward as you might think, and boat insurance prices can vary a lot depending on: 

  • The insurance company: As is the case with home or car insurance, some insurance companies are a lot more expensive than others, which is why it might take some time to find the right one for you and your boat. It is best to get as many quotes as possible before making your choice. 
  • The age of the vessel: Generally speaking, it will cost more to cover an older boat than it would to cost a new boat, whether it is a yacht or not, as more things are likely to go wrong and repairs are more likely to be needed. 
  • Whether or not you are a first time boat owner: If you are about to get boating insurance for the first time, then like a new driver, you are bound to pay more, whether you have a boat or a yacht. 
  • Whether it is a personal watercraft or a professional/commercial boat: Vessels used for professional purposes generally pay more than personal vessels. (we also provide commercial boat insurance)
  • Your vessel’s current market value: The price of the insurance will depend on the agreed value of your ship.  
  • Whether or not you already have a homeowner’s policy with the insurance company: this can sometimes make a difference and net you a discount, depending on the insurance carrier.

The list goes on! However, here’s a comparison of what you might expect comparing yacht insurance to boat coverage.

Very generally speaking, fully comprehensive insurance covers for a yacht costs around £380, whereas a fully comprehensive cover on a boat, such as a speedboat, for example, will cost around £340.

A houseboat will cost more, and dinghies even less.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The cost of your boat and yacht insurance will completely depend on the type of boat and other features on board. Costs can vary hugely due to the many variables and your personalised needs.

Summary

If you are considering getting boat or yacht insurance, then do ensure that your policy covers everything that you consider to be important for your ship.

The insurance may cost a lot, especially if you do plan on going far; however, there are ways of reducing the costs of your insurances, on both yacht and boat insurances. 

It is also important to remember that while boat insurance isn’t necessarily a legal requirement, if you do plan on taking your yacht into international waters, then you are very likely to need some form of boat insurance.

Personal property coverage alone won’t cut it!

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Do I Need a Survey for Boat Insurance?

If you are currently looking at getting boat insurance for your vessel, then you may well come across boat surveys as viable options.

Some insurance companies do indeed request that professionals survey certain ships before they can accurately insure them.

However, not all vessels are necessarily subject to these kinds of surveys, so how do you know if yours will be and if you’ll need a survey for boat insurance

The chances are that, yes, your boat will need to be surveyed by a professional in order to secure fully comprehensive insurance. It’s worth preparing yourself for a pre-purchase survey regardless of the vessel you’re buying.

But why does your boat need to be surveyed, and what exactly happens during a boat survey?

What Is a Survey for Boat Insurance?

A marine insurance survey is a series of inspections that your boat will have to go through to determine the current state of both the interior and the exterior of your vessel.

Boat surveys happen whether you have a new boat or an older one. 

Boat insurance companies either suggest that you use a marine surveyor that they know and work with or that you contact an accredited professional by yourself.

The surveyor will check the hull, the fuel system, the sole boards, the deck, the rigging, the electric system, the fire extinguishers, other safety equipment, etc.

A proper survey will include a detailed inspection of both the exterior and the interior of the boat to determine the current state of the boat, how safe it is, and generally, what it is worth.

Most surveyors reference moisture meter readings, oil testing, and other tests to determine the current state of the boats.

A good surveyor may even request a sea trial and is likely to request that you haul out your boat in order for them to take a better look at the hull in particular. 

Many insurance companies require that boat owners have marine surveys in order to fit the policy to the specific vessel better.

The insurance company can also decide whether or not it is worth covering the boat and may advise you to fix certain problems before they can give you a comprehensive cover. 

However, you may have successfully managed to set up boat insurance before and have found that your boat insurance company wants all the information regarding your vessel, including insurance surveys before they can move ahead.

It’s a good idea to comply!

Do You Need a Boat Survey for Insurance?

Whether or not your insurer will require a survey depends on a few things: 

  • The insurance company: Many insurers do require boat surveys; however, there are still some that don’t. However, if they do not ask for a survey, it won’t necessarily be a good thing. Given the fact that the survey is there better to determine the value and safety of your boat, your costs could be a lot cheaper than what they would be without a survey. 
  • The vessel type: Whether you have a brand new yacht or an older boat will have a big impact on whether or not your insurance company will ask for a survey report. Boats become more difficult to maintain and are more prone to issues past a certain age. Large boats are also more prone to needing a condition survey, as they tend to go farther and cost more to maintain, repair, etc. So yacht insurance or super yacht insurance will generally require one.
  • Any previous claims that you may have made: Whether or not you have already made a claim, your boat insurance will determine whether or not you will need to have your boat surveyed. It will also determine whether or not you have had accidents in the past, what kinds of accidents, etc. 

Generally speaking, boat surveys depend and vary on the insurance company and on you as a boat owner. Some insurance companies may even ask for a pre-purchase survey, too.

How Much Does a Boat Survey Cost?

Generally speaking, surveyors charge based on the size of the boat and, therefore, the time that it will take them to examine the boat entirely.

They very rarely run at a flat rate due to the differences in vessels that they see.

Certain things may cost more to test, although most things that need surveying are generally included in the price.

It is best to ask the surveyor about the different tests that are needed and their general marine survey cost before you have them come to do the survey. 

Moreover, as easy as it may seem, you cannot do the survey by yourself.

In fact, most insurance companies will not even allow the marinas to do the surveys and instead ask that you hire professionals to do it.

You can always ask their advice about surveyors that they have worked with and their general rates. 

Do All Insurers Require a Boat Survey?

Insurance companies typically ask for boat surveys on both new boats and older vessels.

You may find that your boat is not subject to a marine survey just yet, but it is very likely that it will be in the future as it gets older. 

You may even find that, a boat survey is required on an older vessel that might still be a new purchase to you.

As the current owner, it is best if you know as much about the boat’s history as possible to better determine the points that will need to be addressed in the policy wording. 

However, you will not necessarily need to get a boat survey in order to get insurance quotes.

It can help to assure market value, however – so even if you are not offered a marine survey outright, it’s worth keeping them in mind.

Summary

If your boat does need surveying for insurance purposes, then it is best to prepare the vessel beforehand. Take up any repairs that you think need doing, and clean up your boat.

Leaving clutter around will make it more difficult to determine the current state of your vessel, and it will take longer for the surveyor to complete the survey. 

There are also ways of helping your insurance policy go down in price, and increasing the market value of your ship, simply by investing in safety equipment, certain repairs, etc. Preparation is key!

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