Obviously, it is a very personal decision. FWIW, Ann and I have been cruising full time since 1986, and have never had full insurance. In 1996, ten years out, we were dismasted, loosing everything above the deck
. It was expensive! But, when we had added up all the bills, we were still ahead of having paid ten years worth of offshore
insurance premiums. Writing all those checks hurt less after we figured this out... but it still hurt!
Nowadays we have finally caved in and purchased third-party coverage here in Australia
. The primary reason is that many boatyards
say (at least on paper) that you must have it to utilize the facilities. So far, we've never had to produce the policy for such folks, so who knows if it is truly necessary. Further, Aussies are becoming nearly as litigous as Yanks, and we were going to spend some time around Sydney
and thought it wise to protect ourselves.
As to the risks -- we feel that the further offshore
, the less the risks are, unless you follow Evans and Beth to the high latitudes (Brrr). This is highly location dependant, and only you know where you intend to cruise. The strictures that insurers place on ones activities can actually increase risk to the yottie. We know of at least one case where a single-hander left the islands to return to NZ at a bad time because of her policy's date restrictions. She lost
the boat en route
It's hard for us Yanks to give up the idea of insurance. We're trained from birth to use insurance to avoid personal responsibility for our actions. For the first few years I remember that both Ann and I felt kinda naked without it, but after a while we realized that using the money we saved to better equip our boat so that we had a better chance of staying out of strife was a good trade-off. So far I think that it has worked for us (touching wood)!
Cheers and good luck with your decision and your voyaging
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Manly Qld Oz, but northbound today at last