Thinking of buying a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB)? Well assuming it’s for private and pleasure (P&P) use (commercial RIBs will be dealt with in a separate article) here’s a guide to some of the insurance issues you may encounter as well as some of the benefits you might get as part of your cover.

Use an Insurance Broker!

I’m going to say specialist insurance broker rather than a quotation sourced direct from an insurer.  I will declare an interest here in that I actually am a specialist broker.  There are advantages:

This is in contrast to going direct to an insurance company which means you will just receive information based on their product. It also means you will have to find time to make multiple telephone calls to find out what is available in order to to decide what is best for you. That’s ok if you have time, but time is money!

 What Value is the RIB insured for – Purchase Price or Agreed Value?

You need to understand the basis on which your RIB is covered.

It is common for insurers to cover the RIB and its equipment for the purchase price. However, cover can also be on “agreed value”.  If you are unsure which yours is check your insurer’s policy wording.  Some may state that they will pay the value stated in in the Schedule of Cover (this will be “agreed value”) and others will state they will only pay up to that value (i.e. the purchase price less any depreciation). If your RIB is a total loss the difference in the policy wording could have a significant effect on the amount of your claim is settled for.

As you will expect, the more you pay for your RIB, the more your insurance cover is likely to cost. Insurers rate your policy on the value of your hull, machinery, trailer and any special equipment you might have. The rate applied will usually decrease as the insured value slides up, so the cost to cover a RIB at £50,000 would usually be proportionately cheaper to cover than one valued at under £10,000.

Here are some of the other factors that will affect your overall annual premium for your RIB insurance:

Where are you keeping your RIB?

Location can matter.  Certain parts of the UK that are considered prone to extreme weather and it will cost more to insure there.  Additionally, your choice of mooring can have an effect too – chances are you could be relatively free from a moorings loading if you are on a pontoon in a marina but a swing mooring will often result in your cover costing you more.  Also it is worth mentioning that if your RIB is permanently moored in Continental Europe it will be rated differently than if UK based.

How Fast Can Your RIB Go?

There’s no doubt that the last few years have seen an increase in performance of RIBs being used for P&P and the maximum speed of your craft will be a factor on your premium and the availability of cover.

Generally, up to 35 Knots is within the appetite of insurers. Above 35 Knots things start to change, with premiums increased but most RIB insurers are comfortable offering cover up to 55 Knots. Above 55 Knots many insurers are uncomfortable meaning that they won’t provide cover or there is a sharp rise in premium rates for these RIB’s.

What is your experience on RIB’s?

Some insurers will allow a small premium discount if you are an experienced skipper.  By experienced this is usually taken to mean more than 5 years with RIB’s.  If you have less than 5 years’ experience then be prepared to have your premium loaded – over 2 years’ experience but under 5 would typically attract a load of 5% to the basic premium.  Under 2 years and it could start to get painful; under 1 and you start to find insurers who will not even offer a quotation and others who will – but with a significant premium increase.

You’re Qualifications?

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has recognised training centres worldwide. If you invest in getting appropriate RYA qualifications – such as Powerboat Levels 1&2 – there may be a premium discount.

No Claims have occurred?

Typically, insurers will allow a 5% discount per year up to a maximum of 5 if you have held boat insurance and made no claims.

In Part 2 we will be looking at Third Party Liability, Free (and not so free) Benefits, Security Issues and policy small print.

In the meantime, if you would like more information about RIB Insurance please telephone Carl Ralph on 01902 796 793 or email