Friday 23 September 2011

Living Aboard Part 4: Finance and Insurance

A home afloat

If you're looking for a boat for sale on the Grand Union Canal you will already be thinking about finance. Your budget will determine the sort of liveaboard boat that you are looking for. Whether you wish to buy a second hand narrowboat or a wide beam Dutch barge for sale there are two main choices for finance. You may have bought your house with a mortgage and your car with a personal loan. When you are buying a boat you can do either of these options. It is a good idea to confirm what funding you can secure before going to view your potential dream home.

Marine Mortgages

Some companies specialise in marine finance or boat loans for residential and pleasure craft. This could be secured against the value of the boat. For loans over a certain amount a deposit is often required, to the value of a certain percentage of the boat's value. (The deposit required is 20-30% depending on which finance house it is.) There will be different loan periods to choose from. You will not normally need a survey on a new boat but it is usual to have a second hand boat surveyed out of the water to check the condition of the hull. A surveyor will also give you the option of checking the electrics and overall condition of the boat if you require and may include a current market valuation of the vessel. Some lenders may stipulate that the vessel should have a permanent mooring.

Marine finance is a good solution for purchases from £15,000 upwards. You could also consider using a marine finance broker. They have access to a number of finance companies and can offer you advice on how to secure funding that suits your position.

Unsecured Loans

You can also raise finances through an ordinary bank or building society loan. The advantage of this is that no deposit is required so they can fund up to 100% of the cost of your boat. No security is necessary and they will not require any survey or valuation. However, this option is sometime more suitable for borrowing a smaller amount. A bank or building society may fund purchases up to £25,000 depending on your personal credit history. Of course, with an ordinary bank loan you sometimes are permitted to take a 'payment holiday' when times are hard!


It is a condition of the British Waterways Licence that your boat holds a valid insurance certificate and a marine finance company will also require that you purchase valid insurance. If you are living aboard, marine insurance providers will often add on an extra contents insurance policy to cover your personal possessions, and may list separately the more expensive items such as jewellery, computers, bicycles and solar panels.

So if you are looking to buy your first liveaboard boat, shop around for finance and insurance, and then relax and enjoy browsing a selection of liveaboard boats for sale on line. After surviving the rather dry topic of marine finance you may like to look for your dream boat at Boatshed Grand Union where there are up to 80 photos of each boat for sale.

Disclosure: I wrote this post for the Boatshed Grand Union website. It was my choice to re-publish it here where I hope it is of interest to some of my readers.

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