Canoes and Kayaks - A Buyer's Guide to Insurance

Canoeing and kayaking are activities you can enjoy whether young or old, on an adventure, in a competitive race or having a leisurely paddle. It is the fastest growing water sport in the UK and it’s easy to see why.

What's in this guide?

Insurance probably isn't foremost in your mind but there are several benefits to having cover in place. Insurers will provide different levels of cover, so you can choose the one that applies to you. This guide will help explain the ins and outs of canoe and kayak insurance, and help you choose the cover you need for the canoeing you like to do.

What is different about canoe insurance?

Some insurance policies may add or build in cover for a canoe. For example: your home insurance may cover your canoe because it is stored on your garage at home. So, if your canoe gets stolen from your home (or sometimes even away from the home), your policy may cover you to get a replacement.

However, you’ll usually find this cover does not insure your canoe while in use. If you're out on a river and your canoe gets damaged, or you damage someone else’s property whist canoeing, this may not be covered. It’s worth checking your policy wording to see what applies and if there are any gaps in cover.

Specific Canoe and kayak insurance is designed to make sure you have cover in place whilst your canoe is in storage, in transit or speeding down some white water rapids (depending on the level of cover you choose).

Do I need insurance to canoe in the UK?

British Canoe Union Logo

There is no legal obligation to have canoe or kayak insurance in the UK so it is up to you whether you choose to insure yours. What’s important to remember is there are some places you may wish to paddle where the waterways authorities will require you to have public liability cover in place. It’s worth checking before you paddle to make sure you have the correct level of liability cover for the area.

It’s worth noting that if you have a Canoe England or Canoe Wales licence you will have £10 million of public liability insurance included as part of your membership. Canoe Northern Island and Canoe Scotland also offer insurance solutions as well as third party liability cover with membership. You should buy your membership based on where you live i.e. if you live in England purchase a canoe England membership, but this does not limit you to one country, you will be able to paddle all around the UK with just one membership.

Find out more on the BCU website

What are the benefits of canoe insurance?

Below are some of the benefits that canoe and kayak insurance can offer. Just remember that these will vary depending on the level of cover you choose. There is a handy table further down which shows which cover is applicable to which policy.

Canoes Vs Kayaks

We understand that the two are not the same but whether you canoe or kayak; our bronze, silver and gold insurance policies can provide cover.

  • Public liability – As we mentioned earlier, if you were to buy a canoe license from BCU you would receive £10million of public liability insurance cover. However, it’s important to have public liability insurance even if you are not intending to paddle on waterways that require a license. Public liability will cover injuries or damage to members of the public or their property, caused by your negligence directly linked to the use of your canoe. 

  • Cover whilst in transit – Our Silver and Gold policies will both cover your canoe whilst you transfer it from A to B but each policy provides a different level of cover. Our Silver policy will cover events such as theft, fire and storm but will not cover accidental damage you may cause. Gold will cover the standard perils with the addition of accidental damage too. Transportation could be by trailer (provided it is fit for purpose) or on a roof rack.

  • Racing cover through the BCU - We have partnered with the British Canoe Union to offer insurance policies that relate specifically to the level of racing cover you require. You can purchase these policies through the BCU website alongside a membership which will also give you a license to paddle 4,500km of British waterways. Just select the cover best for your style of paddling, there are options for non-racers too.

  • 30 days European cover – If you fancy paddling to a few foreign shores, our cover will insure for 30 days per trip in Europe. Provided you do not exceed the 30 days during any one trip you can paddle in Europe as many times as you like per year.

Optional Extras on Silver and Gold

There are a couple of flexible aspects on our Silver and Gold policies. So, you can select the cover you need rather than paying for extras that you don’t.

White water cover – If you need to insure your canoe or kayak for use on white water, you need to let us know when you set up your policy. If you buy online you can select the option for white water cover, or if you call, just ask the team to add it on. If you are not sure or you change your mind after you have purchased your policy, you can call us and add on the cover at any time. Just be aware that there may be a little extra to pay for the cover change.

Multiple vessels – If you have more than one canoe or kayak you can insure them as a group through our online quote and buy system. We can insure up to five paddle sport boats on one policy. Just make sure you insure them at the value it would be to insure them all.

Insure several canoes or kayaks on one policy

Just note, the option to include multiple canoes or kayaks is an option only available if you purchase your policy online but if you get stuck you can always ask the team for help.

Personal Accident Cover- For an additional £5 you can add personal accident cover to your Silver or Gold canoe insurance policy. The limit of on this cover is £15,000 and you will also receive emergency medical expenses cover up to £500 per claim. Beware that if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, this cover will not apply.

Excess -You can choose an excess between £50 and £130 depending on what best suits you. Remember, this is what you will pay towards a claim if something should go wrong. Depending on the other options you have selected, increasing your excess could mean a lower premium. You can find out the effect this has on your policy premium by getting a quote through our website.

Compare Bronze, Silver and Gold Cover for Canoes

If you're unsure of which policy is best for you, we have made an easy-to-use table showing a comparison of the covers:

Cover for:BronzeSilverGold
Third party
Fire, lightning, explosion  
Theft, malicious damage or vandalism  
Weather events  
Freezing of machinery  
Accidental loss or damage    

*Cover whilst your canoe or kayak is in transit alters depending on whether you have Silver or Gold cover. The main difference is Gold cover will include accidental damage whilst the canoe or kayak is in transit where as Silver cover will not. You can find full details in your policy booklet.

Exclusions Explained

As with all insurance policies, our canoe and kayak insurance cover does have some exclusions. It’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the terms of cover so you know whether the policy suits your insurance needs.

  • Scrapes whilst in transit- any scratching, bruising or denting which occurs while the canoe or kayak is being transported cannot be covered on any of our policies, so be cautious.

  • Trailers – Your canoe or kayak will be covered whilst in transit on a roof rack or on a trailer. The policy does not include cover while you canoe or kayak is in transit if the trailer you use is not fit for purpose. This means, the trailer must be well suited to or designed for transportation of canoes or kayaks. In addition, to be insured for theft of your canoe whilst on a trailer, the trailer must be fitted with a hitch lock or a wheel clamp when left unattended.

  • Wear and tear - You’ll find this is excluded on the majority of insurances. Any maintenance related repairs caused by general usage over time will not be included on the policy.

  • Unsecure storage- It sounds like common sense but you should ensure the storage location for your canoe is locked and secured at all times. If your canoe or kayak is stolen and there is no evidence of forcible or violent entry or exit from the premises, the insurer is unlikely to pay the claim.

Can we help you with anything else?

If you need to insure one off canoeing or kayaking trips or activities, you can do so via our travel team. For more information call 01242 533 747.

Canoe in transit upsidedown

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