Just as taking to the road without cover is unwise and illegal, setting sail without boat insurance is also not a good idea. Getting a boat insurance Northern Ireland policy might not seem quite as straightforward as insuring a motor vehicle, but the essential basics remain the same, and protection is available from a number of providers whatever your needs.
As with cars, different levels of cover will be offered to you. A comprehensive policy protects you if your boat is damaged accidentally or damaged during a theft or attempted theft, and it will also protect against things like fire and vandalism.
Third party liability is also an option and will provide you with cover in the event of any damage being caused to someone else’s boat or even any injury caused to someone as a result of your actions. If you are a yacht owner, some policies will protect your pride and joy automatically while you take part in racing, while others will require an additional fee.
Note that a Â£2 million limited third party liability policy is typically a legal requirement for anyone sailing in the UK including Northern Ireland and sailing without an adequate boat insurance Northern Ireland policy is not advised.
A comprehensive insurance policy will normally cover your boat against things like damage, or vandalism and fire, whether it is in use at sea or is moored in a marina. However there will be some exceptions and exclusions to some policies and it can pay to check the small print. A policy may also cover a boat which is travelling, ie hooked up to a motor vehicle and towed on land, but there are size limits included with many policies.
Something else to look out for is whether or not your boat is covered all year round. Some insurers will require that it is kept ashore for a minimum amount of time each year, perhaps even out of the water and ‘laid-up’. This will also be included in the policy wording, and it might be worth asking an insurer what your status is should bad weather mean it’s impossible to take a boat from the water on the required date.
They will also be a policy excess, as with car insurance, and this can be agreed and negotiated up or down depending on the insurer, for a more expensive or cheaper policy.
A boat insurance Northern Ireland policy will usually include what is known as a sailing or cruising range. This shows how far from the shore you are allowed to go as per your policy before cover becomes invalid – meaning sailing abroad could be restricted. It is important to make sure you have a large enough cruising or sailing range on a policy should you decide to travel long distances. Lastly, similar regulations also apply to this section of the market as to car insurance – check that any potential boat insurer is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.