Do I Need a Survey for Boat Insurance?
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Do I Need a Survey for Boat Insurance?

If you are currently looking at getting boat insurance for your vessel, then you may well come across boat surveys as viable options.

Some insurance companies do indeed request that professionals survey certain ships before they can accurately insure them.

However, not all vessels are necessarily subject to these kinds of surveys, so how do you know if yours will be and if you’ll need a survey for boat insurance

The chances are that, yes, your boat will need to be surveyed by a professional in order to secure fully comprehensive insurance. It’s worth preparing yourself for a pre-purchase survey regardless of the vessel you’re buying.

But why does your boat need to be surveyed, and what exactly happens during a boat survey?

What Is a Survey for Boat Insurance?

A marine insurance survey is a series of inspections that your boat will have to go through to determine the current state of both the interior and the exterior of your vessel.

Boat surveys happen whether you have a new boat or an older one. 

Boat insurance companies either suggest that you use a marine surveyor that they know and work with or that you contact an accredited professional by yourself.

The surveyor will check the hull, the fuel system, the sole boards, the deck, the rigging, the electric system, the fire extinguishers, other safety equipment, etc.

A proper survey will include a detailed inspection of both the exterior and the interior of the boat to determine the current state of the boat, how safe it is, and generally, what it is worth.

Most surveyors reference moisture meter readings, oil testing, and other tests to determine the current state of the boats.

A good surveyor may even request a sea trial and is likely to request that you haul out your boat in order for them to take a better look at the hull in particular. 

Many insurance companies require that boat owners have marine surveys in order to fit the policy to the specific vessel better.

The insurance company can also decide whether or not it is worth covering the boat and may advise you to fix certain problems before they can give you a comprehensive cover. 

However, you may have successfully managed to set up boat insurance before and have found that your boat insurance company wants all the information regarding your vessel, including insurance surveys before they can move ahead.

It’s a good idea to comply!

Do You Need a Boat Survey for Insurance?

Whether or not your insurer will require a survey depends on a few things: 

  • The insurance company: Many insurers do require boat surveys; however, there are still some that don’t. However, if they do not ask for a survey, it won’t necessarily be a good thing. Given the fact that the survey is there better to determine the value and safety of your boat, your costs could be a lot cheaper than what they would be without a survey. 
  • The vessel type: Whether you have a brand new yacht or an older boat will have a big impact on whether or not your insurance company will ask for a survey report. Boats become more difficult to maintain and are more prone to issues past a certain age. Large boats are also more prone to needing a condition survey, as they tend to go farther and cost more to maintain, repair, etc. So yacht insurance or super yacht insurance will generally require one.
  • Any previous claims that you may have made: Whether or not you have already made a claim, your boat insurance will determine whether or not you will need to have your boat surveyed. It will also determine whether or not you have had accidents in the past, what kinds of accidents, etc. 

Generally speaking, boat surveys depend and vary on the insurance company and on you as a boat owner. Some insurance companies may even ask for a pre-purchase survey, too.

How Much Does a Boat Survey Cost?

Generally speaking, surveyors charge based on the size of the boat and, therefore, the time that it will take them to examine the boat entirely.

They very rarely run at a flat rate due to the differences in vessels that they see.

Certain things may cost more to test, although most things that need surveying are generally included in the price.

It is best to ask the surveyor about the different tests that are needed and their general marine survey cost before you have them come to do the survey. 

Moreover, as easy as it may seem, you cannot do the survey by yourself.

In fact, most insurance companies will not even allow the marinas to do the surveys and instead ask that you hire professionals to do it.

You can always ask their advice about surveyors that they have worked with and their general rates. 

Do All Insurers Require a Boat Survey?

Insurance companies typically ask for boat surveys on both new boats and older vessels.

You may find that your boat is not subject to a marine survey just yet, but it is very likely that it will be in the future as it gets older. 

You may even find that, a boat survey is required on an older vessel that might still be a new purchase to you.

As the current owner, it is best if you know as much about the boat’s history as possible to better determine the points that will need to be addressed in the policy wording. 

However, you will not necessarily need to get a boat survey in order to get insurance quotes.

It can help to assure market value, however – so even if you are not offered a marine survey outright, it’s worth keeping them in mind.


If your boat does need surveying for insurance purposes, then it is best to prepare the vessel beforehand. Take up any repairs that you think need doing, and clean up your boat.

Leaving clutter around will make it more difficult to determine the current state of your vessel, and it will take longer for the surveyor to complete the survey. 

There are also ways of helping your insurance policy go down in price, and increasing the market value of your ship, simply by investing in safety equipment, certain repairs, etc. Preparation is key!

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