Boat Insurance Advice for First-Time Owners

Boat Insurance Advice for First-Time Owners

If you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and purchase a boat of your own, congratulations!  Sunshine days and summer evenings relaxing on a boat are one of life’s great luxuries.  When coupled with Malta’s bright blue Mediterranean waters, boating can transport you both physically and mentally on vacation.  Yet, when deciding on what type of boat to purchase, undoubtedly one of the biggest factors to weigh is the cost.  Besides the obvious expense, which is the purchase price, there are other fees to contemplate such as fuel, boat maintenance and repairs, berthing and storage, safety equipment, and boat insurance.

Most of these aspects go hand in hand.  For example, if you do not store your vessel safely, then the amount of maintenance and repairs needed would increase.  It’s important to consider that the boat you choose can cater to your requirements, but will also not cost more in fees in other areas that together will amount to more than the purchase price of the boat itself.

It’s also essential to understand what insurance requirements are necessary for the boat you are looking for, before you make the purchase.  If you don’t do your homework properly, you might end up with a boat that insurance cannot cover for particular reasons or that may increase insurance costs significantly.

Here are three top things to evaluate in terms of insurance, when purchasing a boat:

  1. Intended Use

The cost of insurance greatly depends on the type of boat you purchase, and this greatly depends on your needs.  Do you want the boat to discover local hidden treasures, such as beaches and coves?  Or did you have in mind a yacht to holiday to the neighbouring coasts of Italy and Tunisia?

If local is your answer, then one engine is enough for insurance purposes.  However, if your intention is to voyage overseas, the boat must have more than one source of propulsion, as you cannot be insured to go abroad with your vessel if it only has a single-engine, unless you have a backup engine or a sail (in respect to sailing boats). Multiple engines will not only ensure that you have the power and the range to go further distances, but will also make sure that one of the components needed to insure your vessel for such trips is satisfied.


  1. Berthing & Storage for Boat Insurance

Storage is another issue to consider when it comes to insurance.  You may choose to leave the boat in a marina, in a boatyard, or even a garage if you have space and a trailer. If you keep it in a safe-port, you can use your boat all year round, taking advantage of those beautiful off-peak days and shoulder months. This is not only because it is easily accessible and available in the marina, but because the vessel is covered by insurance all year round, provided that it is in line with policy conditions.  Whilst storing the boat in a boatyard or a garage is another good option, it will not be accessible throughout the year, and you would need to rely on a trailer or a professional boat transporter to make the boat available.

If you choose to keep your boat on a buoy in an open bay, the boating season will end sooner because your insurance will only cover you until a set date, usually in mid to late September, depending on where the boat is kept.


  1. Boat Insurance affected by Age, Size and Condition

The age, size and condition of the vessel is another focal point to assess, not only when gauging maintenance and cleaning or fuel and storage, but also in terms of insurance coverage.  When insuring your vessel, a professional marine surveyor will be needed in order to ascertain the condition of the boat, as well as its value and future repairs.

Whatever boat you go for, it is vital to have adequate boat insurance.  Boat insurance will protect you form legal liability in respect of third-party property damage or bodily harm if something were to go wrong and is vital for every boat owner. Depending on what level of cover you choose, insurance can also cover you for ancillary items including navigation equipment, tenders, personal belongings as well as any damages to your vessel itself.  And remember, if you are boating in Malta, you must always have a copy of your Boat Insurance Policy, your Nautical License and Boat Registration documentation available to present upon request of the authorities.

Learn more about insurance coverage for your boat or get an online quote, with Laferla.