Learn the Average Cost of Boat Insurance
If having fun on the water appeals to you, then you might find yourself in the market to buy a boat. You could purchase a boat for fishing, speed boating, sailing, or a pontoon to float around in casually. Just as you insure your car and your home, it's a good idea to get adequate insurance coverage for your boat.
As you research your options for boat insurance, you might have questions about the cost, what kind of coverage to get, and what insurance company carries the best policies for your dollar. An independent insurance agent can help answer your insurance questions and get you on the right track for savings on your boat policy. But first, here's a closer look at boat insurance costs.
How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost?
The average annual cost of boat insurance is a few hundred dollars, though it can run over $1,000 per year, depending on the type of boat and your personal profile. There are many factors that influence boat insurance costs, including the type of boat you insure, its length, and its expected use. Whether you have a speed boat, a small fishing boat or a yacht will make a big difference in what you pay.
So how much is boat insurance? In general, boat insurance costs range from $200 to $500 per year, on average. Typically, you can estimate boat insurance rate calculations by figuring that your premiums will be around 1.5% of your boat's overall value. An independent insurance agent can help you find more exact quotes for boat insurance costs in your area.
Average Cost of Boat Insurance by State
Boat insurance costs vary by location, but certain regions of the country typically pay more for their coverage than others. States along the coast, those with higher property values, and those in the South tend to pay more for boat insurance than northern states, those with lower property values, and those not along a coast.
|High-cost states ($519 average)|
|Medium-cost states ($377 average)|
|Low-cost states ($298 average)|
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What Factors Affect Your Boat Insurance Cost?
A number of factors, some in your control and some not, can have an impact on the cost of your boat insurance. If you sail on a lake that has a high rate of claims, the cost of your coverage will be higher than for a lake where there are far fewer claims.
Additional factors that affect your boat insurance rates include:
- Type of boat
- Boat age & condition
- Driver's age & experience
- Usage frequency
- Driving record
- Safety measures
- Coverage options
- Credit score
Type of Boat
The year, make, and model of the boat and motor, and whether you have an inboard or outboard motor, come into play when determining rates. The length and overall value of your boat also greatly influence your insurance costs. A pontoon boat insured in Delaware would cost about $791 annually to insure, while a fishing boat in the same state would cost $11,875 to insure due to its greater length and value.
Value of the Boat
The more valuable your boat is, the more of a risk it is to insure because it would cost more to repair or replace. As a result, you can expect to pay higher boat insurance premiums for a more valuable boat. In Delaware, the cost to insure a boat worth less than $20,000 would be only $377 annually. In the same state, it would cost an average of $1,697 to insure a boat worth $75,000 and nearly $17,000 annually to insure a boat worth $750,000.
Horsepower of the Boat
Often, boats with higher horsepower engines will have higher insurance premiums assigned to them. The faster the boat can go, the greater the risk of it getting involved in a collision, so the riskier it is to insure. An independent insurance agent can help you find boat insurance quotes depending on if your boat has an inboard or outboard motor.
Age and Condition of the Boat
Older boats tend to be cheaper to insure because they would cost less to replace after an accident. Boats in better condition tend to be cheaper to insure as well, thanks to their updated safety features. An independent insurance agent can help you find exact boat insurance quotes based on the age and condition of your boat.
Age and Experience of Boat Drivers
The age and experience level of a boater can impact boat insurance rates. Adding your teenage son as a driver on your policy may increase your rates. Boaters who are a bit older and more experienced, on the other hand, can often be granted lower rates on coverage because they're seen as less of a risk. However, gender also affects boating rates, regardless of age. Studies have found that women over the age of 27 tend to be quoted better rates than men of the same age, even with equal driving records.
Boat Usage Frequency
The more often you use your boat, the more of a risk it has of getting into a collision. If you only take your boat on occasional fishing trips, your rates will typically be lower than if you tow water skiers, wakeboarders, or parasailers. Weekend-only boaters enjoy much cheaper boat insurance rates than frequent boaters, typically. Simply put, if your boat is docked or not on the water at all, it's less likely to get damaged.
Location of the Boat
This is to determine if you will be using the boat in areas where there are natural hazards like hurricanes. Areas like oceans, squalls, etc., are prone to boating incidents because of hurricanes and other threats. So boaters who frequently use their vessels on oceans, the Great Lakes, or coasts, rather than on inland rivers or smaller lakes are more likely to be seen as riskier to insure and thus can expect higher insurance premiums.
Good automobile drivers tend to be good boat drivers. So like with car insurance, the cleaner your record, the less you can expect to pay for your boat insurance. You're likely to have to pay more for your coverage if you’ve filed claims in the past.
Taking formal safety training and getting boater certifications can help lower the cost of boat insurance. Having safety equipment on your boat can also help lower your rates. If you've passed a state-approved certified safety course, for example, or have your boat equipped with Coast Guard-approved fire extinguishers on board, you'll likely pay less for boat insurance.
Insurance Coverage Options
Like any type of policy, the specific boat insurance coverages you pick will influence your overall costs. If you need coverage for your fishing equipment, trailer, personal belongings, or any other boat accessories, you'll pay more than you would for just a liability policy. If you want to pay lower premiums every month, choose a policy with a higher deductible amount. An independent insurance agent can help you do this.
Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, insurance companies have found that a person with a lower credit score is statistically more prone to boating accidents. If your credit score is low, you may be charged more for your boat insurance than someone with a higher credit rating. Boaters with consistently excellent credit history will likely pay less for boat insurance.
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The Cost of Boating Accidents
Take a look at some statistics from this year about boating accidents:
- More than 5,000 boating accidents happen every year in the US.
- Boating accidents cost the US $62.5 million annually.
- The most common type of boating accident is a collision between two or more vessels.
- Perhaps contrary to popular belief, most boating accidents happen in calm waters.
- About 77% of fatal boating accidents were caused due to a lack of boating safety education by the operators.
- The leading contributory factor for fatal boating accidents in the US is alcohol.
Knowing just how common and costly boating accidents are in the US can inspire you to search for the right boat insurance policy. An independent insurance agent in your area can help you find the best policy for you at the lowest possible rate.
Understanding the Cost of Boat Insurance
Having boat insurance is important to protect you against potential lawsuit costs in case of a collision or other accident and to help you financially recover from damage to your own boat, theft of your property, and other incidents. Working together with an independent insurance agent is the best way to have coverage details outlined and explained in a way that makes sense. Independent insurance agents can help you find the best blend of coverage and cost for boat insurance, along with any discounts you may qualify for.
Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agent for Boat Insurance?
Independent insurance agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll cut through the jargon and clarify the fine print so you'll know exactly what you’re getting.
Independent insurance agents also have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best boat insurance coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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