If you've just bought a dinghy or your dinghy insurance is due for renewal, Noble Marine’s Guide to insuring your dinghy may help you decide on the right policy for you.
Not all dinghy insurance policies are the same. The cover and service offered by different dinghy insurance companies can vary greatly. Bear in mind that a cheaper dinghy insurance policy may end up costing you more if you have to make a claim due to higher excesses or reduced cover levels. You should always check that the cover being offered is right for you before it’s too late!
Do I have to take out dinghy insurance?
Dinghy insurance isn’t compulsory but many places where you may sail or launch the dinghy from set their own minimum requirements. So as a minimum you should take out third party liability cover in case you cause damage to another boat or injure a person, for example.
Usually £3 million cover is adequate but more and more locations require £5 million. Some policies, like Noble Marine’s dinghy insurance automatically provide £5 million so you don’t need to worry about getting stopped from sailing or entering a competition. Sometimes dinghy insurance providers offer lower levels of third party liability cover to make their price look cheaper, always make sure you add the extra cover to make sure you get a true comparison – they are often more expensive than a policy that automatically includes higher limits.
What should I look out for when choosing dinghy insurance?
Some dinghy insurance providers offer a ‘cheap’ basic cover but these often exclude covers that are standard with others. It’s important to make sure you add everything you need at the start as making changes to policies can incur fees, given the low premiums for dinghy insurance these can quickly make the overall price more expensive than a policy that includes more cover automatically.
Things to look out for:
Third Party Liability – Some providers offer £2 or £3 million cover. This sounds a lot but if a venue requires £5m then they won’t let you launch and sail at their site or event. £5m is required by many authorities. Noble Marine provides £5 million as standard within the UK and Europe.
Racing– Cover for racing your dinghy is not provided by every dinghy insurance provider however most will include at an extra cost. Noble Marine’s dinghy insurance includes cover for racing automatically.
New-For-Old – Unlike home insurance where this is pretty straightforward it gets a bit more complicated where dinghy insurance is concerned. In some cases dinghy insurance providers include ‘new for old’ cover but for damage to masts, sails, spars and rigging up to the amount you have insured the boat for, some charge extra. What this means is that if your mast is damaged and costs £500 to replace, and you have insured the boat for more than £500 it will be replaced as new, if you insure for less then you may get a reduced offer.
Noble Marine include new for old replacement for damage to masts, sails, spars and rigging up to the amount you insure the boat for as standard. In addition if you have a boat that is less than 2 years old (and you are the first owner of the boat) which is a total loss (write-off) we will pay for a brand new boat, not just its market value.
Policy Excess – Almost every policy will ask you to pay the first amount of a claim when you damage your boat, but did you know that some policies also expect you to pay another excess if you cause injury to another person or damage their property. This means that the £50 excess you see when you buy the policy could be £100 when you have the claim! Noble Marine’s dinghy insurance excess only applies to your own damage so you only pay once.
Comprehensive or Third Party Only Cover? – Comprehensive will provide cover for your boat against accidental damage, theft, fire, storm etc as well as cover for third party liability. A Third Party only policy just covers your liability for injury to other parties or damage to another party’s property, this will likely be cheaper but the difference is often quite small so unless your boat is very low value it’s usually better to go for the wider cover.
Claims Service – This varies and it’s worth asking potential providers a few questions, like ‘who actually handles a claim’? Some outsource claims to other companies and others only sell and administer your policy with the claim being handled by the insurer behind the policy.
At Noble Marine Insurance we handle all claims in-house which means we can respond very quickly and we never ask you to claim direct against another party just to save us work!! Our 5 Star TrustPilot rating is solely based on our claims service and we are very proud of helping our customers get back on the water as quickly as possible.
Cover whilst in Transit – Most policies should cover your dinghy when it is in transit by road, rail or sea within the territorial limits set in the policy. This is usually subject to it being on a purpose built or suitable trailer. This cover is included automatically by Noble Marine.
Cover out of the water – Dinghy insurance should cover your dinghy when it’s out of the water but you should check for any restrictions that apply, particularly around theft or malicious damage as this can be restricted if the dinghy is not secured.
Winter Use – Some policies charge extra for using your dinghy in the winter months. This may save a few pounds when you take out the policy but will you remember you’re not insured when you take advantage of some nice weather later on? These are usually small savings and definitely not worth it if you do damage your boat only to find out you're not covered! Noble Marine dinghy insurance covers you all year round.
Vermin Damage - It is relatively common for mice, rats or other rodents to make nests in you sails, if they do they will almost certainly chew a few holes! Most policies do not cover vermin damage but Noble Marine include the cover as standard.
Do I need to use a specialist marine insurance company?
No, but the specialist insurance providers, like Noble Marine, have years of experience which can assist you in the dinghy insurance buying process.
Noble Marine started as a dinghy insurance specialist in 1989 and since then we have grown to become a market leader. We have been enthusiastic supporters of social and competitive sailing and we are the preferred dinghy insurance provider and sponsor for more than 25 class associations. We also offer a 10% discount to our sponsored class associations.
How can I be sure the dinghy insurance company I choose is reliable?
In most cases the provider you choose will not be the insurance company that ultimately pays the claims. Firstly check who the insurance company behind the policy actually is and if you are concerned you can check their financial security ratings, Noble Marine only uses insurers that are A rated or better.
At the end of the day it is the claims experience that really matters so check out online ratings and speak to your fellow sailors to see what experience they’ve had.
Other key dinghy insurance considerations
Can I insure my trolley and/or trailer? – Most dinghy insurance policies can be extended to include trolleys and trailers for an extra charge.
Who can sail my dinghy? – Usually dinghy insurance can be extended to allow anyone to sail your boat with your permission. Some insurance providers may offer a discount for restricting use to just yourself.
What is marine legal expenses insurance? – Some losses you might suffer as a result of an accident are not covered by your own insurance policy, such as your policy excess or injuries you’ve suffered as a result of another sailors negligence. Marine legal expenses helps you recover these costs where there is a reasonable prospect of a recovery.
What about sailing my dinghy abroad? – Some dinghy insurance providers may only be able to provide cover in the UK, if you are thinking of taking your dinghy outside the UK it's always worth checking before you buy the policy to avoid potentially expensive cancellation fees if you then have to change provider. Noble Marine automatically includes use for up to 30 days in Europe and can extend your policy to cover use for longer periods. Also because we support competitive sailors we can also provide cover for use on a worldwide basis.
Dinghy insurance summary
We hope you have found this dinghy insurance guide helpful and that it has provided you with a good understanding of the types of things to consider when choosing an insurance company to insure your dinghy.
Noble Marine Insurance has been an enthusiastic supporter of dinghy sailing at all levels since we were founded as a dinghy insurance broker, we are still highly committed to the sailing community and we sponsor over 25 class associations as well as numerous sailing events throughout the year.
All dinghy insurance policies provided by Noble Marine Insurance include:
- 'New for Old' boat replacement on boats up to 2 years old where you are the first owner of the boat
- Lifetime 'New for Old' cover on masts, sails, spars and rigging up to the overall sum insured
- Racing cover included as standard
- Personal belongings covered up to the value of £350
- Protective covers and storage bags automatically covered
- Race fees up to £150 if your dinghy is out of action due to an insurance claim
- Specialist Marine Electrical equipment cover up to the value of £350
- Use available for any person using your boat with your permission
- Cover available for your Trailer or Trolley
- Third party liability of £5,000,000