California Boat Insurance

Get a complete analysis of California boat insurance costs, coverages & companies.

Christine Lacagnina Written by Christine Lacagnina
Christine Lacagnina
Written by Christine Lacagnina

Christine Lacagnina has written thousands of insurance-based articles for by authoring consumable, understandable content.

Boats in marina at dawn in San Diego Harbor, California. Find California boat insurance.

Find the Best Boat Insurance Rates & Companies in California

Boaters in California have many opportunities to enjoy their vessels. Whether you’re taking your yacht out for a cruise on the Pacific, using your motorboat for a day of waterskiing on Lake Tahoe, or spending a relaxing day fishing on your bass boat on the San Joaquin Delta, you need the proper protection for your watercraft. Having the right boat insurance can help you get the reimbursement you need after a collision, theft, lawsuit, or other boating-related disaster.

Fortunately, a California independent insurance agent can set you up with all the necessary boat insurance. They'll help you get matched to the ideal policy. But up first, here's a breakdown of California boat insurance requirements and more.

Best Boat Insurance Companies in California

If you're ready to find the best boat insurance in California, it's especially handy to know which carriers offer top-quality coverage. That's why we've included just a few of our picks for California's best boat insurance companies. Start by checking into the coverage offered by these outstanding carriers. 

  1. Travelers: This insurance company offers boat insurance and several other types of personal and business insurance. Travelers is highly rated by AM Best and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and offers many discounts.
  2. Progressive: This insurance company offers boat insurance and many other types of personal and business insurance. Progressive has an excellent rating from AM Best and offers 24/7/365 customer service.
  3. Nationwide: This insurance company offers boat insurance and several other types of personal and business insurance. Nationwide also has outstanding AM Best and BBB ratings and offers 24/7 claims reporting.

A California independent insurance agent can help you shop and compare quotes and coverage options from these outstanding carriers and others.

What Boat Insurance in California Can Cover

Your boat insurance policy can be customized to meet your personal needs. In general, you can expect most California boat insurance companies to offer the following options:

  • Boating liability insurance: This can cover your financial responsibilities if you're at fault for a boating accident that results in third-party injuries and/or property damage. 
  • Medical payments insurance: This can cover medical expenses if you or your passengers get injured in a boating accident, regardless of fault.
  • Collision insurance: Pays for damage to your boat from a collision with another object, regardless of fault. 
  • Comprehensive insurance: Pays for damage to your boat due to a non-collision event such as a flood or theft. 
  • Equipment insurance: This can cover the loss or damage to any equipment and accessories not installed by the manufacturer, such as boat hoists, GPS units, marine instruments, and kicker motors.
  • Personal effects insurance: This can cover personal items like fishing gear, water skis, scuba gear, cameras, cellphones, and portable speakers if your property gets lost, damaged, or stolen.
  • Uninsured/underinsured boater insurance: This can cover your property damage and medical costs if you're involved in a boating accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured boater.
  • Towing insurance: This can cover the cost of having your boat towed back to shore if it becomes disabled while out on the water, such as if you experience engine failure or steering problems.
  • Fuel spill/wreckage cleanup insurance: This can provide you with the funds and resources necessary to remove wrecked boats and debris from the water and clean up any resultant fuel spills if you're responsible for a boating accident.

A California independent insurance agent can help you choose the right types of boat insurance coverage to complete your policy.

Is Boat Insurance Required in California?

In California, boat insurance isn't required by law before you can register your watercraft. You may, however, need to carry coverage to dock your boat at certain marinas. Also, if you financed your boat, your lender may require you to have a policy. Regardless, boat insurance can save you a lot of money if you cause a boating accident or your watercraft gets lost or damaged. You might want to get boat insurance if you own any of the following:

Having boat insurance can help you recover from potentially hefty financial losses caused by many threats to watercraft and their operators both on and off the water.

What Boat Insurance in California Won´t Cover

Boat insurance in California provides critical coverage for many hazards, but there are certain exclusions to be aware of. Your boat insurance policy is unlikely to cover any of the following:

  • Damage to your boat trailer
  • Normal wear and tear of your boat
  • Mold damage
  • Damage caused by marine life, insects, or animals
  • Faulty machinery (unless your policy includes mechanical malfunction coverage)

Be sure to review your boat insurance policy's specific exclusions before taking your vessel out on the water.

Average Cost of Boat Insurance in California

The average cost of a boat insurance policy in California is around $344 per year. Of course, many factors can influence these costs, such as the following:

  • The type of boat you have
  • Your boat's value, age, length, and engine size
  • Where you store your boat while it's not in use
  • Your driving record and claims history, both on and off the water
  • Whether you and other members of your household have completed a boating safety course
  • The amount and types of coverage you need

How these factors pertain to you and your watercraft will likely influence the cost of your boat insurance policy.


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What Boat Insurance Discounts Are Available in California?

There are many boat insurance discounts, but not all are offered by every carrier. Some common boat insurance discounts you may qualify for in California include: 

  • Boater safety course discounts: Completing an approved boater safety course can often earn you a discount on boat insurance.
  • Security discounts: Many boat insurance companies reward boaters who protect their watercraft against theft, vandalism, etc., with security devices.
  • Bundling discounts: If you bundle your boat insurance with other coverage, like home insurance or auto insurance, through the same carrier, you can often earn a discount on each type of coverage.
  • Affiliation discounts: You can earn boat insurance discounts through an affiliation with the company you work for or groups or memberships you participate in.
  • Loyalty discounts: Continuing your coverage with the same boat insurance company for several years can earn you a discount over time.
  • Lay-up discounts: If you only use your boat during summer, you might qualify for an additional discount.

Your California independent insurance agent can find and apply any discounts you qualify for to your boat insurance policy. Your agent can help you save the most money possible on your coverage.

Popular Questions about California Boat Insurance

California doesn't require boaters to have boat insurance by law. However, marinas and boat finance lenders may require you to have coverage.

In California, boat insurance costs an average of $344 per year. The cost of your policy can vary, though, depending on the size and value of your specific boat, along with other factors.

We found that Travelers is the best boat insurance company in California. Travelers' rates, coverage options, discounts, etc., make it the ideal choice for many boaters in California.

Your boat insurance policy can help cover your expenses if you cause a collision or accident while towing your boat. Your policy can pay for third-party property damage or injuries, as well as cover damage to your property and the cost of treatments for injuries to yourself and your passengers.

You're not required by law to have boat insurance in California. In many cases, though, you'll be required to have coverage if you dock your boat at a marina or finance your boat.

In California, boat insurance covers whatever the protections included in each specific policy are designed to cover. You can build a policy that includes liability protection, physical damage protection, and protection for the loss of added equipment and gear, if you choose.

California independent insurance agents can help you find the boat insurance you need from a top-rated local carrier. These agents work hard to find quality coverage at the most affordable rate. They'll shop and compare boat insurance quotes from a number of different carriers. And down the road, they can help you file boat insurance claims or update your coverage as needed. 

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