Motor Boat Insurance buyer's guide

Enjoy the thrill of your motor boat safe in the knowledge that you, your craft, equipment and passengers are covered for injury or damage. In this guide you'll find out about our flexible cover options and the discounts available to ensure you get the right policy at the right price.

What is Motor Boat Insurance?

Like owning a fast car, owning a motor boat has a few risks attached to it. The value of items like outboard engines for example which makes them attractive to thieves. Additionally, their capability for high speeds means the potential for personal injury and damage to other craft is also a factor. Motor boat insurance aims to provide support by putting you back in the financial position you were in before a loss such as theft from your motor boat.

Towergate Motor Boat Insurance covers personal injury, damage to your boat and damage caused by you to other people or their property on the water. You don’t have to have motor boat insurance by law but some marinas do require third party cover as a minimum in order for you to moor there. Regardless of where you keep your boat, it’s best to get covered. 

What are the benefits of Motor Boat Insurance?

We offer four levels of cover to help you get the insurance which fits the way you use your motor boat. On a basic level, we offer third party cover for those with smaller, less frequently used craft. At the other end of the scale, our Platinum level policy covers a wider range of perils such as personal injury freezing of machinery and accidental loss or damage.

  • £3,000,000 third party liability included as standard - It can all be a bit unpredictable when you’re out on the water. We know you’re as careful as you can be but sometimes, accidents happen. That’s why, as well as covering your craft, we also include £3,000,000 worth of third party cover.

  • Road transit cover for craft under 30ft –If you don’t like staying on one particular stretch of water, you may need to transport your motor boat by road to pastures (or rather, waters) new. Our silver level policy (and all levels above silver) includes cover for your boat and trailer while you’re on the road.

  • Cover for theft – As motor boats are quite high in value, they can be targeted by thieves. Also, as outboard motors are easy to remove (and high in value themselves) on some craft this also makes motor boats easy pickings for thieves.

  • Underwater machinery cover – Ever gone over a speed hump too quickly in your car and scraped the under-carriage? If you run over a submerged object in your motor boat, it can cause damage to the propeller, prop shaft or rudder. This element of our motor boat insurance covers you should this happen.

  • We won’t charge you excess on any claim made while it’s moored or stored in a marinaPersonal accident cover (optional) – If you enjoy testing the limits of your craft, we strongly recommend adding personal accident cover to your policy. Personal accident cover will pay for emergency medical expenses. It will pay out in the event of lost limbs, loss of sight and even total disablement or death.

  • Continental use – If you trailer your boat abroad and use it on European waters you’ll still be covered for up to 30 days at a time.

  • Protected no claims bonus (platinum level cover) – Take out our highest level of cover to have your no claims bonus protected year on year even if you have to claim (No more than two claims per year).

  • Marina benefits (platinum level cover only) – If you permanently moor your boat on a marina berth or keep it ashore at the same location, we won’t charge you excess on any claim made while it’s moored or stored. This also won’t affect your no-claims bonus.

  • Travel concierge service – Part of the joy of owning a yacht is the ability to travel to new places. What to do when you get there though? Give our travel concierge service a call and they can arrange; local hotels, restaurants, theatre tickets and more.

  • Legal expenses cover –Should a third party bring charges against you for damage caused to their craft or personal injury caused by you, our legal expenses cover can help with your legal fees up to £100,000.

  • 24 hour legal and claims advice line –In addition to covering legal fees, we also offer legal advice to guide you through what to do if you get involved in a legal dispute.

How to get the best value from your Motor Boat Insurance?

Consider where you moor your motor boat –Some moorings aren’t very suitable for certain types of craft. It’s worth doing your research to find the right mooring for your craft. If your motorboat is moored on the wrong type of mooring, we may not be able to cover you.

Use smart water – If you mark you're on board equipment with a Smart Water kit purchase using your unique Towergate code, you can receive a further 10% discount.

We can provide cover for hand held electronics such as GPS or VHF radio

Think about other items you may want insured –We can provide cover for hand held electronics such as GPS or VHF radio. However, you’ll need to let us know that you’d like them covered otherwise they may be over looked.

Tell us about your RYA qualifications – We like to reward people who try to develop their own sailing competence as this only makes them safer on the water. Let us know if you’ve got any RYA qualifications and we may award you another 10% discount.

Exclusions explained

It’s very important to read your policy documents in detail to understand exactly what’s covered what’s not covered and what might render your cover invalid. Here are a few exclusions you should really be aware of but be sure to read your documents to make sure you understand all of them.

  • Outboards must be secured – You must use an anti-theft device in order for your theft cover to be valid.

  • Third party is excluded whilst in transit – The good news is, third party cover whilst you’re trailering should be covered by your car insurance. It’s best to check with your car insurance provider though.

  • Trailers must be secured with a wheel lock – If your boat has a top speed of 17 knots or more, you’ll need to secure the trailer with a wheel clamp when you leave it unattended for your policy to remain valid. If your craft has a top speed lower than 17 knots, a hitch lock can be used instead.

Watersports equipment coverWe'll cover you for wake boarding and water skiing however you can only tow two people at any one time.
  • Water ski and towing toys –Water skiing and wakeboarding are popular activities among motorboat owners. We will cover you for these activities however, you may only tow a maximum of two people at a time.

  • Personal accident cover won’t cover individuals over the age of 76 – If you’re over the age of 76 the personal accident aspect of our cover will not apply. All cover relating to the craft however, will still apply.

  • Wear and tear - Wear and tear is not covered at all by our motorboat insurance policy.

  • Replacements beyond the sums insured on your policy – This policy works on a market value basis. Therefore, it’s important to know the true replacement value of your motorboat. You will be unable to claim for a replacement motorboat above the value you give us. If you’re unsure of the value of your motorboat, a marine surveyor will be able to make an assessment and give you an accurate value.

  • Racing - Unfortunately, we can't provide motorboat insurance if you race your craft as the risk of accident becomes too great. 

Types of boats cover

Our motorboat insurance policy covers a multitude of types of craft. But motorboat is just one overarching term when in fact, we can provide a policy that’s specific to different types of motorboat.

Here are some of the different types of boats we cover, to help find the policy which is right for you.

  • Sports boat – These tend to be hugely powerful (200bhp engines and above) with long but narrow hulls. Like a sports car, these boats are often two seaters with a helm which also looks similar to the inside of a sports coupe.

  • Ski boats – Generally these are used for, you guessed it, water skiing and wakeboarding. The hulls of these boats are designed to create wake and are normally quite powerful in order to tow people behind them. They’re also sometimes modified to hold extra boards or skis.

  • Sports cruisers – These are similar to sports boats however, they tend to be larger, able to carry more people and designed more for comfort than out and out speed.

  • Fast fisher – These are set apart from your average fishing boat due mostly to their power. They normally have a large outboard motor and a central cuddy.

  • River cruisers -  These are sometimes called gin palaces and are essentially small, powered yachts. Think Henley, on a sunny afternoon, trundling along at a few knots with enjoying the scenery. I must stress that while Towergate can insure a number of types of motorboat, we cannot insure anything with a top speed over 55 knots.

Difference between motorboat and RIB insurance

RIB Insurance only covers RIBs. RIB stands for ridged inflatable boat. RIBs have both inflatable and solid parts to their hulls and are almost always powered by outboard engines. RIBs could be considered as the 4x4s of the sea.

They’re versatile, fast and almost unsinkable. Though they can be used as straight forward pleasure craft, RIBs are often used as safety boats by sailing clubs, excursion boats by SCUBA dive clubs and sometimes for thrill rides by tour companies and holiday resorts.

So what’s covered by our motor boat policy?

The short answer is; everything else where the sole method of propulsion is an engine. The long answer is: sport boats, sports cruisers and fast fishers among many others. Both RIB and motorboat policies feature third party cover, theft, malicious damage and vandalism cover and even personal accident when you take out our highest level of cover. Both policies have platinum, gold, silver and bronze levels of cover which means you can choose the level of cover to suit your usage and requirements.

Jargon buster

Sometimes insurance can be a bit like a foreign language. Here’s our run down of a few words and phrases which may be a little confusing.

  • Indemnity - Putting you back in the same position they were in before the loss

  • Public liability - Your ‘responsibility’ for the wellbeing of other members of the public and their property. In insurance, this refers to the cover given to compensate legal costs and compensation payments resulting from injuries or property damage to others, which was caused by you.

  • Excess - A payment you make towards a claim on your policy.

  • New for old policies - You will be covered for replacement as new. (If we cannot replace your yacht with the same model we will work with you to find the best equivalent).

  • Market Value - The cost of replacing your yacht at its present value - taking into consideration; year of manufacture, type, wear and tear.

  • Policy schedule - Your insurance document outlining the period during which your policy is valid

Why choose Towergate?

Not only do we know insurance inside out, we also know the items and lifestyles we insure inside out. All our advisers are trained to make sure you get the most appropriate cover for you and your motor boat.

Should you need to claim, we will guide you through each step of your claim and advise you on how to gain a swift resolution. It's our aim to take the stress out of what's likely to be an already stressful situation. Simply give us a call and we’ll take it from there.

About the author

Adam Summersby is a respected leader with 11 years’ varied experience in niche personal and commercial lines insurance, including caravan, site operators and excess reimbursement, with proficiency in leadership, sales and account management.