Boat Insurance - what does it cover?

Posted by Carolien Henn on Apr 4, 2022 12:06:06 PM

Many South Africans have discovered this to their cost when not, or under-insuring, their boats in the hope nothing will happen to them or their boats.

While boat insurance is NOT a legal requirement in South Africa, a boat purchased through a financial institution may come with a requirement that insurance is taken out for the duration of the loan.


Boat insurance works the same way as car insurance does. If you damage your boat or cause injuries or damages to someone else, you file a claim with your insurer asking them to pay for the damages. If the incident is covered, your insurer pays for the losses or injuries up to your coverage limits.

New boats are more likely to be insured by owners due to the size of the investment or due to financing of the vessel.

There is however a large proportion of boat owners with older boats or boats purchased second-hand that do not have insurance on their watercraft. In this case, owners often feel that any, damages encountered may be absorbed.

In brief, the risk is more than physical loss or damage to your vessel but also extends to liability claims where a boat owner may be held liable for having seriously injured a third party — for example, another water-skier or swimmer. These liability claims are normally large and the expense of defending them can easily run into hundreds of thousands of rands. Not all facilities and marinas enforce or stipulate that the clients that utilize their facilities have insurance in place but this scenario is slowly changing. - Source: SABBEX / Boating South Africa - Caryne Duvenhage of Club Marine


Insuring a private watercraft/boat


There are a variety of Insurance companies and brokers in South Africa to cover your boat or watercraft who offer a wide range of cover for all types of pleasure watercraft or boats available. 


Cover may take into account the use of the vessel in inland waterways (i.e. rivers and dams) as well as coastal waters through to deep-sea fishing.

Cover can also be extended to include numerous liability requirements as in the case with charter operators or commercial users or additional equipment.


When insuring your boat, the following may be listed on your cover:


  • Value of the boat 
  • Value of your outboard motor/s
  • Value of accessories
  • Note that boat trailers are normally NOT included in watercraft cover and need to be insured separately.


Your policy may include, third-party liability, extended liability, credit shortfall, SASRIA registration, and roadside assistance, out of border cover.


Almost all insurance policies come with an ‘excess’ clause – this being the amount you will have to pay upfront in the event of a claim, so it is vital you carefully examine the policy quote before signing on the dotted line.


This insurance excess must be paid, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the accident. The insurance company uses this to dissuade fraudulent or suspicious insurance claims and also to lower premium payments.


For more information, feel free to ask your nearest Suzuki Marine Dealer who will gladly assist you!







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