Winter months boat claims

Wednesday 30 July 2014

• Almost 30% of claims in the last nine years have been made during winter months • Majority of claims are for moored vessels • Electrical fires can cause up to £160,000 damage • The average cost of an accidental damage claim was £2,266.

Cancelling boat insurance in the winter months could give you that sinking feeling

Letting boat insurance lapse in the winter months could be leaving many British boat owners high and dry – as Saga Boat Insurance data shows a huge number of costly claims are regularly made at that time of year.

Data from the over-50s specialist, compiled in the nine years since it launched boat insurance, shows that almost 30% of claims are made between October and February, when many boat owners let cover lapse as they lay the vessel up for the off season. However, it seems that this could be a costly mistake as whether it’s moored in a marina or under wraps in a boat shed, boats still face a wave of potential mishaps, such as vandalism, flooding, frost damage and even lightning strikes.

The majority of winter month claims made by Saga policyholders have been for moored or laid up vessels, suggesting that you don’t have to be riding the ocean waves to land a hefty repair bill. One claim, for electrical fire damage, amounted to more than £160,000. Another owner claimed £24,000 for frost damage, while another claimed more than £5,500 after a lightning bolt struck their out-of-action boat.

Other costly individual claims over the nine-year period include a flooded vessel costing more than £60,000 and one owner had almost £30,000 of damage caused by vandalism.

The hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage claimed for during the winter months suggest it’s wise to keep boats covered at the darkest time of the year – as owners could find themselves significantly out of pocket if the worst happens. 

Saga data shows that the most common cause of winter claims include storms, theft and accidental damage. The table below shows the average cost of some of the most common claims occurring in winter: 


Cause of claim

Average Cost











Accidental damage







Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services, commented: “Letting boat cover lapse over the winter months is a false economy as you don’t have to be on the move for a catastrophe to strike.  Finding your boat vandalised or on fire would send even the most hardy sailors into the doldrums, nursing a large repair bill.

“Many believe that not using their vessel, or keeping it in storage, means they’ll avoid accidental damage and steer clear of a whole host of other mishaps.

“The best advice is to ensure you have year-round cover for year-round peace of mind.”




Notes to editors

*Data based on Saga Boat Insurance claims figures from 2005-2014


About Saga Boat Insurance

Saga Boat Insurance is designed to meet the needs of people aged 50 and over. Whatever your vessel, give yourself the peace of mind of being properly protected against unexpected perils that can occur in and out of the water.

Saga Boat Insurance offers Comprehensive or Third Party Only insurance for a wide variety of vessels.

Our range of insurance plans includes:

Small craft plan – Vessels under 23ft - speedboats, slow motor boats, sports cruisers & more. Features and benefits for this comprehensive cover level include up to £3 million third party liability cover and up to £10,000 Personal Accident Cover for you and your passengers. It also includes cover for all risks of accidental, physical loss or damage to your vessel and property. And there’s more, visit Saga Boat Insurance for more details.

Boat Plan – Yachts and motor boats over 23ft

Inland Boat – Narrowboats and vessels moored on inland non-tidal waterways

Dinghy – Cover for 160 types of Class Association dinghies

Sailboard – Windsurf and surfboards

Third party only – If you only require third party cover for all boat types.


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