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Am I required to insure my boat? How do I choose insurance?

by Stanislas Desmarest

Surprisingly enough, getting an insurance policy for your boat is not required in France. However, Band of Boats considers navigating without insurance to be like driving without a license, so we strongly advise that you obtain coverage! There are several types of insurance policies available. It’s up to you to decide which one is best suited for your needs.

CIVIL LIABILITY COVERAGE

At a bare minimum, you’ll need civil liability coverage. This covers personal injury and property damage to third parties. It is often included in your homeowner’s insurance. However, you should contact your insurance adviser to check on the exact contents of your policy. In the event of an accident, the policy compensates the victims. In other words, if you are injured or your boat is damaged, the costs will fall to you. And the bills could add up quickly, perhaps even threatening your financial stability. That’s why Band of Boats recommends that you get additional coverage for yourself and your boat.

WHAT KINDS OF ADDITIONAL COVERAGE?

Prior to taking out an insurance policy for your boat, you’ll need to know the value of your boat so that you can determine the compensation amount in the event of a disaster. That’s simple if your boat is new, but it can be more complicated for a used boat. Band of Boats can help you with this step, thanks to our SmartValue calculator, which provides an estimate in an instant. You may also find it worthwhile to contact a marine surveyor, whose expert report will provide you not only the value of your boat, but a technical assessment of its condition. This defined value, known as agreed value, is valid in the event of a claim.
Once you have that value, you have a choice between two different types of insurance policies: basic or comprehensive. You can obtain a policy from a general insurance company or call upon a company that specializes in pleasure craft insurance. Band of Boats also invites you to use its Insurance Calculator to estimate the cost.

Basic coverage is divided into 3 parts:
Civil liability coverage.
Defense and legal action coverage, which handles compensation for the legal expenses that you incur during litigation. You bring your defense and seek legal redress yourself to obtain compensation for the loss.
Recovery costs coverage, which covers expenses for removal of the boat after it has sunk or run aground, so as to impede navigation.

Comprehensive coverage, as the name indicates, provides more protection. In addition to the coverage described above, you are also covered for damage to your boat, even if you are at fault. Theft coverage, assistance and rescue expenses, and legal protection are part of the package. Legal protection allows your insurer to represent you in legal proceedings.

PERSONALIZED COVERAGE

Of course, you can add more specific types of coverage to your policy, such as rental coverage or land transportation coverage for the boat. You alone can decide which coverage best meets your needs, so take the time to consider every aspect of your use of the boat.

ADVICE FROM BAND OF BOATS

As with any insurance policy, read the terms and conditions carefully, especially when it comes to deductibles and exclusions. While it’s not fun, this step will help avoid unpleasant surprises if you need to file a claim, so don’t skip it.

In conclusion, even though it is optional, Band of Boats considers pleasure craft insurance a necessity for peace of mind while enjoying your boat.