Whether you enjoy fishing for recreation, sport or as a profession, once you own a fishing boat, you have made a significant investment in this gratifying pursuit. The expense of equipment such as gear and tackle can add up quickly, particularly for commercial fishermen. The open water can present hazardous conditions, so it's a good idea to protect your investment with a fishing boat insurance policy.
Fishing in the United States
- More than 44 million Americans enjoy fishing for recreation
- Americans spend nearly $42 billion each year on fishing-related expenses
- In 2010, approximately 32,000 Americans made their living in the fishing industry
- The average salary for a fishing boat captain is $70,400 per year
Know Fishing Boat Insurance Requirements in Your State
If you own a business that involves fishing boats and gear, you will be required by law to carry maritime insurance, and a fishing boat policy will fulfill this mandate with options that meet your unique coverage needs. Additionally, if you own a fishing boat for the purpose of recreational or sports fishing, a fishing boat policy can provide you with a full range of coverage options to protect your investment.
Know Basic Boat Angler Insurance Coverage Options
Fishing boat insurance policies can vary significantly depending on your specific needs. The two basic components of every fishing insurance policy are liability coverage and hull coverage.
- Liability coverage offers restitution for property damage and bodily injury for which you may be held accountable. This includes injuries to passengers on your boat, and any injuries or damages to others – such as water-skiers or other boaters – after an accident you cause. If you are sued as the result of a covered incident, your liability insurance will help to cover your legal fees and court costs.
- Hull coverage will provide compensation for any damages to your boat, including damages to the engine, navigation equipment, machinery and other components on board. This coverage will include damages caused by collisions, weather, natural disasters, fire, vandalism and theft.
Insurers typically offer reduced rates for named-risk coverage, which provides compensation only for the hazards specifically named in your policy. However, this type of coverage can create major gaps in coverage that will leave you unprotected after an unexpected disaster. To be sure you’re fully covered, be sure to choose an all-risk policy.
Research Other Available Coverage Options
Most insurance companies offer a wide variety of coverage options so you can customize your policy to meet your needs. The coverage options available will vary by company, so you may need to ask questions and explain your circumstances in order to ensure that you are fully covered for all possible hazards. Some of the more common coverage options are as follows:
- Uninsured boaters insurance: This insurance provides additional medical coverage in the event that you are injured in a collision with an uninsured boater.
- Fuel spill and wreckage clean-up insurance: Occasionally, boat collisions require costly clean-up. This is particularly true when fuel spills pollute the water. If you are deemed responsible for damages, you will be required to cover the clean-up costs. This added insurance will help cover this expense, as well as any debris.
- Premises liability coverage: This coverage is useful for commercial fishing establishments that perform fishing operations both on and off the boat. It includes personal injury and medical payments coverage as well as libel, slander, wrongful entry and invasion of privacy. This coverage is designed to help you if someone is injured or you're liable for damages on your boat.
- Storm haul-out insurance: In the event of an NOAA-named storm in your area, this coverage will assist with the costs of hauling or safely securing your boat.
- Gear and fishing tackle insurance: While your hull insurance will protect the components of your boat from loss and damage, in order to protect your expensive fishing equipment, you will need to add on the gear and fishing tackle insurance.
- Tournament insurance: Those who enjoy sports fishing often compete in fishing competitions. Tournament coverage will provide you with the necessary liability coverage needed to compete in these tournaments. It may also cover any tournament entry fees, for example if the fees are paid but your boat is damaged and you are unable to participate.
- Charter boat coverage: If you are working as a fishing guide or are running a charter boat fishing operation, charter boat coverage is required by law and necessary to protect your business assets.
Is Fishing Boat Insurance Expensive?
The cost of fishing boat insurance can vary greatly depending on your coverage needs, as well as the size of your boat and other factors. Naturally, the owner of a commercial fishing operation will require a much more comprehensive policy than a recreational bass boat owner. Other factors than can affect the cost of your policy include your choice of deductible, whether you opt for actual (depreciated) value or agreed value replacement coverage, and the coverage options you choose.
It's a good idea to shop around and make sure that the insurance you buy is customized to your needs. Insurance experts recommend getting at least three policy quotes before making a decision. You will also want to make sure that you are purchasing enough coverage to meet your needs while not paying for excess coverage.