A buyer's guide to narrowboat insurance

Yet to sort your narrowboat insurance? Our simple guide will break down all the elements you need to consider for adequate cover before you move aboard. 


What am I covered for?

Narrowboats are vulnerable to the elements and with your worldly possessions contained onboard, it’s crucial to choose insurance that will give you adequate cover. At a minimum, to use the Inland Waterway System you are required to have Third Party Liability Cover which will cover you if you cause damage to another person’s boat, property or if you cause injury to an individual.

However, it is sensible to ensure you have fully comprehensive narrowboat insurance which will provide total peace of mind by covering:

  • Accidental damage
  • Latent defects
  • Negligence
  • Theft
  • Damage through malicious acts
  • Freezing
  • Contents cover
  • Third-party liability

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What are the benefits of narrowboat insurance?

Protecting your floating home is a priority, so insurance will provide reassurance that you’ll be covered should disaster strike. You’ll also have third party liability insurance, protecting you in a broader array of eventualities.

By purchasing insurance with GJW Direct, you’ll benefit from Great Britain inland waterways breakdown cover provided by River Canal Rescue. They are equipped with the most up-to-date mapping technology and tools needed to deliver an efficient breakdown and recovery service, ensuring policyholders’ complete peace of mind when they are on the water.

An additional bonus when insuring your narrowboat with GJW Direct, is that you’ll be able to sign up to MyBoat, a free digital boat management system giving you exclusive access to discounts and offers on a range of recognised marine brands.


What are the exclusions of my insurance?

As with any insurance policy, there will be some limitations. Typical exclusions include damage caused by:

  • Fraud practised against you
  • Wear and tear
  • Insects, marine borers, barnacles, marine growth, fungi or molluscs
  • Corrosion, rust or oxidation that should have been picked up during servicing
  • Rot, mildew, dampness or weathering
  • Osmosis
  • War, Civil Disturbance and Terrorism
  • Wilful Misconduct


Factors to consider when choosing the right insurance policy for you.

  • Cruising range - Some providers limit you to non-tidal waters only, but you may require tidal waters for access.
  • Houseboat use - If your narrowboat is your primary residence, it is important you advise your insurance company as the policy may have exclusions surrounding this.
  • Personal property/Contents - Check the extent of the cover provided for personal belongings and ensure this is adequate for your needs. You may require all risks cover similar to a household policy if you are living on board permanently.
  • Single-handed use - Some unfairly penalise this by excluding single-handed use or charging extra.


What are my obligations?

As standard, when you take out insurance you are obliged to ensure your craft is in good condition and regularly maintained. You’ll also need to provide your policy provider with details of any incidents, accidents and potential claims as soon as they happen. Other obligations include:

  • Keeping all your information up to date and accurate throughout the life of the policy
  • Meet the security requirements that apply to the policy
  • Tell the insurance provider if you sell your narrowboat
  • Make the required payments
  • Tell the insurance provider if you intend to make any structural alterations to your vessel


Want an easier way to manage all your boating paperwork? MyBoat is a free digital boat management system, offering exclusive perks and discounts with a range of recognised marine brands.

Sign up to MyBoat: Your free digital boat organiser

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