Frequently Asked Questions

Extended Cruising

Is boat insurance necessary for extended cruising?

It’s not compulsory to take out boat insurance in the United Kingdom, but increasingly, marinas and harbour authorities will ask for Third Party Liability (our Base Layer policy) as a minimum. Similarly, Spain, Italy, Greece, and many other countries require proof you hold at least Third Party Liability when you arrive in their territory. We can provide you with a document written in the local language to prove it.

Is boat insurance for extended cruising easy to arrange?

That depends on what you’re planning. There are a limited number of insurers in the pleasure craft market, and most of these are wary of long voyages with minimal crew.

So, how do I begin to plan my extended cruising adventure?

Firstly, we suggest you talk to others who have undertaken such a voyage. Organisations such as the Cruising Association and the Ocean Cruising Club can guide you in the right direction.

Secondly, you have to be able to show any prospective insurer you’re planning the voyage in a thorough and detailed way. Asking for cover to sail to New Zealand in just one year, for example, would show you’re in a hurry, and may be pushing the boat hard.

Thirdly, the plan must be seen to be possible. Any insurer is going to ask about the voyage. This is not just underwriters being nosey, but an attempt to discover whether the voyage has been planned properly. For example, have you thought about avoiding hurricane and typhoon areas? Or at least taken them into account?

Here’s a checklist:

  • Prepare a full itinerary of the ports to be visited and the approximate dates. Set this out on an annual basis, so a premium can be calculated based on where you’re actually going.
  • Prepare a full CV for you and all crew members who’ll be on board for the voyage, and particularly for any of the ocean crossings – the more detailed, the better. In these cases, practical experience counts for far more than theoretical qualifications. For example, if you’re planning a transatlantic crossing, it will be very much in your favour if at least one of your crew has done a transatlantic crossing before.
  • Tell the insurer about any specific gear or equipment that has been (or will be) fitted to make the voyage safer – for example, self-steering, radar alarms and the like.
  • Consider having the boat surveyed and/or rig inspected by an independent qualified surveyor/rigger to confirm your vessel is capable of such a voyage.
Is there a minimum crew size required by insurers for extended cruising?

This depends on the insurer and your answers to the questions above. Single-handed, round the world voyages are very difficult to get insurance for (and regrettably, not something we’re able to cover). It’s the same for double-handed voyages – if one crew member is injured, you’re down to single-handed again. Most insurers are happier with three or more people – certainly for the long-distance voyages, for example across the Atlantic, or down from the UK to the Mediterranean. Ultimately, however, it will depend on the experience of your crew.

I’m planning an extended cruise – what if I can’t get insured for the whole trip?

Don’t panic. Any extended cruising trip is likely to be a long one, especially if you’re going the whole way round the world. Boat insurance policies will be written on an annual basis, and should at least be able to provide cover as far as your next destination, or near to it. If, for example, you can’t get boat insurance in the US, arrange it with the local market when you arrive in the Caribbean. As long as effective cover is in place at the time of arrival in any port, you can stay there while solving the problem of the next stage. The locals understand the market, and will be able to provide your boat insurance needs for that region.