Boat insurance covers you in the event of a loss or damage to your boat. It covers most watercraft with motors, including fishing boats, pontoon boats, paddle boats, leisure crafts and yachts. Boat insurance does not usually cover canoes, kayaks or personal watercrafts (PWCs).
For small watercrafts, you may find some limited coverage under your homeowner’s policy. You may also be able to add a special endorsement or buy separate coverage. Contact an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® for assistance with all of your boat coverage.
Your boat insurance policy may include the following:
The amount of compensation you receive for a claim depends on a few things, including your deductibles, limits and whether your boater’s insurance covers your boat’s actual cash value, replacement cost or agreed upon value.
When you buy boat insurance, you must decide on the amount of coverage you need for your boat, the deductible (maximum out of pocket expense per claim) and the types of coverage you need. In the event that you have an accident, experience a theft, or have another loss that is covered under your policy, you can file a claim and receive a payment covering the loss.
As an example, if you were in an accident with another boat that caused serious damage to your vessel, one of the following things would most likely occur, depending upon the insurance coverage you and the other boater own and the laws in your state:
The cost of boat insurance varies depending on:
In general, boat insurance can range anywhere from as little as $75 to as much as $500 per year.
Insurance companies also offer a number of discounts. These discounts can give you a price break under certain situations. For example, you may be able to elect a layup discount if you don’t use the boat year-round, or a discount for boating in fresh water instead of salt water.
You may also qualify for discounts if you’ve taken a boating safety course, or a good driving discount if your boating record is unblemished. Insurance companies vary in the discounts they offer, so be sure to ask an independent agent to compare quotes and options from multiple carriers on your behalf.
Boaters often want to know whether they have to carry boat insurance to enjoy the water. The answer is that boat insurance can be required for a variety of reasons. For example, some states require that you have liability coverage. Marinas may require you to have boat insurance in order to dock your boat there. Additionally, if you take out a loan to buy a boat, the lender will most likely require that you purchase boaters insurance.
The amount of boat insurance you need depends on a number of factors, including the boat’s value, motor size, age, and how you use it. For example, if you have a brand new high performance speed boat, you will need more coverage for bodily injury and property damage liability than if you buy a pleasure cruiser.
Insurance professionals recommend buying at least $1,000,000 in liability insurance, and even more if you have a fast, powerful boat that is both riskier and can cause more damage.
For uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage, a typical minimum is $10,000. However, the amount you purchase should reflect the potential injuries and damages you may need to cover if you or one of your passengers is seriously hurt, or your vessel is damaged.
Your other coverage amounts, including collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, should be based specifically on the value of your boat.
There are several ways to buy boat insurance. You can easily get quotes online that will help you find a policy you can afford. You may have questions, special circumstances, or a highly customized or top-dollar boat to insure, and in this case you may opt to speak directly to an independent agent.
To find the best rates available, contact a local independent agent in the Trusted Choice network who knows the local insurance regulations in your area. Your independent agent can shop around, compare options and rates from numerous insurance companies and help you to make the most informed decision.
Boat insurance covers boat passengers as well as the owner in an accident. Passengers on the boat are covered under the liability portion of the boater’s policy. However, depending on the policy, this may or may not extend to water skiers you are pulling behind the boat. Be sure to work with a knowledgeable professional who can help evaluate your needs and risks.
Comprehensive boat insurance covers the theft of the boat itself. Personal possessions carried on the boat may or may not be covered, depending on the policy. Therefore, you should carefully review the comprehensive coverage of your policy to determine exactly what is and is not covered. If you plan to carry expensive fishing equipment or other items of value, you can purchase one or more additional “rider,” or policy endorsement, to cover those assets.
Depending on the insurance company and structure of your policy, boat insurance may or may not cover hurricane damage. If tropical storms, hurricanes, tornadoes or windstorms are a concern where you live or travel with your boat, ask your agent about storm damage coverage for your watercraft.
Boat insurance sometimes covers engine damage. This varies from company to company as well as by policy. Some insurance companies have “machinery damage exclusions” while others do not; it often depends on the age of the motor. Reimbursement may include replacement cost or be subject to depreciation.
If you have comprehensive insurance or property damage coverage built into your policy, your boat insurance will cover collision with rocks, logs, and other marine obstacles.
Boat insurance covers a blown engine under some circumstances. Check that with the insurance company issuing the policy. Many policies will cover a blown engine when the cause is a manufacturer’s defect, but not if is due to normal wear and tear.