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What are the differences between boat warranties and insurance?

Boat Warranties & Insurance - Same difference…?

Who's bothered about all that boring 'what if' stuff with the summer we’re having? After all, how often do we get prolonged weather like this in the UK? (apologies to our readers in warmer climes, where the warming sun and blue skies are your perpetual companions for much of the year – you see, it's a bit of a novelty around here!)

But...and without wishing to appear a pessimist, there's always a 'but', while a relaxing cruise with the sun dancing across your bronzed brow will do wonders for your inner calm, it has no power over the behaviour of your craft's engines, or the myriad of systems and appliances that keep it going and you happy.

It's safe to say (isn't it?) that the majority of boat owners hold at least a minimum cover of insurance. So, that's 'job done', right? After all, 'insurance' is the same thing as a 'warranty'...Wrong – and that simple misunderstanding may end up costing you thousands.

It's true that most good insurance policies offer cover against a range of unfortunate eventualities including loss or damage to the vessel or its engines through theft or vandalism; fire; explosion; weather events and even damage to the hull together with underwater components should you run aground or have the misfortune to hit a submerged log or other ill-mannered item. Insurance will also usually provide personal accident cover and damage you cause in the case of an accident.

And I think we all understand that the cover offered is wholly governed by how much we're prepared to pay when it comes to the premium.

fixing a boat engine

Anyway, so far, so good – and it's sensible that you hold the level of cover that's right for you and the activities you use your boat for. But what if you break down because of an engine or component failure? What if your microwave goes west just as you're cooking a chicken meal for your better half?

The result is a misery that may take the form of going without your romantic dinner for two, or heat exhaustion from being ensconced in a tiny engine compartment trying to fix some unknown part, or worse still, getting the silent treatment for not sorting it out before you left the port, even though you can't know what you don’t know!

Now, while having a Warranty Plan may not stop things from falling off, it can ease the pain on your wallet – and help you prove to he or she who must be obeyed that while you couldn't have foreseen that the fuel pump failed to pump, you had taken the precaution of purchasing a warranty plan to get it fixed.

What a difference: No silent treatment; no need to duck the wet-fish that may otherwise have been slung in your direction. Instead, a promise of a hearty bowl of soup and a roll for being so well organised.

And it’s this point (forward planning, not the soup) that perfectly illustrates the difference between insurance and a Boat Warranty.

Warranty Plans from Boats & Yachts Warranty are specifically designed (paraphrasing a famous beer advert) to reach the parts that insurance policies don't.

To illustrate the point, here’s a list of the top five reasons our customers make a claim on their warranty:


- Gearbox – average repair cost: £8656


- Turbo – average repair cost: £5021


- ECU/ECM – average repair cost: £1574


- Fuel Pump – average repair cost: £1492


- Actuator – average repair cost: £975

Yes, we know what you're thinking as you dunk that Hobnob and burn your fingertips rescuing the bit that dissolved in your favourite 'World's Best Skipper' mug. 'It's obvious isn’t it'? Well, you might say so, but you’d be very surprised at just how many people end up in a frightening situation without something to fall back on.

family boating trip

The amount of times someone has uttered the words 'I always take care of my boat, it’s been serviced, I'll take the risk,' is beyond belief.

Which brings us to our final point - and also the last time we’ll pinch and corrupt somebody else's catchphrase (give yourself five points if you get this one) 'I mean this most sincerely folks'1 - Who in their right mind sets sail and thinks ‘I'm feeling lucky today' apart from those amongst you who have too much money; thinks charitably upon the boat repair sector, or bet on Red Rum to win the Grand National three times and placed an each-way bet both times he came in second?

If none of the above applies to you, and you rate peace of mind above parting with your dosh waging on which nag will beat Red Rum's record, then you may consider investing in a Boat Warranty.

Remember, with a Warranty you're not placing a bet, taking any chances or living on the edge. In fact, it's much, much better than that. You're gaining a sailing partner – one that stays quietly in the background, so you can get on with the serious business of enjoying yourself aboard – sound in the knowledge that when something goes wrong (and statistically, it will), Boats & Yachts Warranty will be there to listen, advise and do the business to get you sailing again without emptying your wallet.

Now, where did I put my copy of Racing Times? (only kidding).



₁ Give in? It was the wonderful presenter of 'Opportunity Knocks', Hughie Green!