Life at Sea: Understanding Boat Insurance

Us Kiwi's sure do love to get out on the water. You only have to look at the local boat ramp on a hot summers day to understand. New Zealand claims to have more boats per head of population than any other country in the world. In Auckland alone, nearly one adult in eleven owns a boat.

We often get asked by boat owners whether they need to have boat insurance to enjoy the water. The short answer is no you don't but it's often the best way to protect your investment and enjoy your time out on the water.

There are only a few scenarios where it would be required. For example, Marinas may require you to have boat insurance in order to dock your boat there, or if you take out a loan to buy a boat, the lender will most likely require that you purchase boat insurance.

So what is boat insurance and what does it cover?

Boat insurance is much like car insurance in that it's designed specifically for that type of asset. Like car insurance every insurer is slightly different in what they offer and what they'll cover with some insurers specialising in yachts and launches all the way down to jetskis and tinnies. Regardless of what your boat is or which insurer you insure it with the purpose remains the same, to help you feel safer at sea and cover the risks related to enjoying your time on the water.

A boat insurance policy usually includes the following:

  • Comprehensive Cover: Includes repair or replacement of your boat, trailer and motor should you have an accident, your boat is stolen or damaged due to fire.
  • Liability Cover: Covers damage you might cause to someone else’s boat, a dock, or other property or structures. 
  • Additional coverage options: Coverage is also available for things like medical payments, fishing and diving equipment, oil spills, personal property and roadside assistance, as well as damages and injuries from accidents caused by boaties who are uninsured or under insured.

How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost?

The cost of boat insurance varies depending on:

  • Where you live and how/where your boat is stored
  • The type, size, and age of the boat you wish to insure
  • The size of motor and how it is powered
  • Whether you are using it on inland waters or the open seas
  • Whether you have selected additional coverage options

Insurance companies also offer a number of discounts for example if you have taken a boating safety course, or have never claimed on your boat insurance before. Make sure you let your broker know if you've done a new coastguard course and they'll be able to help talk you through what discounts might apply.

As always Insurance companies vary hugely in coverage, policy features, premium and discounts they offer, so be sure to speak to one of our team about comparing your boat insurance.

We're independent and work with the best insurers


Whether you have a yacht or a tinnie, a runabout or a jetski, Seneca has the right type of cover to protect you, and service to back it should the worst happen. Get in touch with one of our team today.

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