Whether you use your boat to cruise the waters at Lake Airfield in Virginia or drift effortlessly down the Appomattox River, chances are you love your craft and the pleasure it brings. And you probably would like to protect your boating pastime with a comprehensive boat insurance policy. Before you search for quotes on boat insurance, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.
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What Is Boat Insurance?
Much like car insurance, 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, paddleboats, leisure crafts and yachts. Boat insurance does not usually cover canoes, kayaks or personal watercraft.
For small watercraft, you may find some limited coverage under your homeowners policy. You may also be able to add a special endorsement or buy separate coverage. An independent agent can help you determine if this is the right course of action for your situation and your watercraft.
Finding Insurance for Your Boat
Most insurance companies offer policies on the following popular types of boats found in Virginia:
- Banana boat
- Bass boat
- Cabin cruiser
- Cruise ship
- Fishing boat
- Jet boat
- Luxury yacht
- Pleasure craft
- Ski boat
Boat Insurance Requirements
Although the law in VA does not mandate that you carry boat insurance, it does require that you register your vessel with the state and take a boating safety course at the completion of which you will receive a certification. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Virginia Watercraft Owner's Guide to learn more about the other laws that may affect your boating pastime.
Even though the state does not require boat insurance, if you took out a loan to purchase your boat, your lender may demand you carry insurance on it. Some Virginia marinas also require boat insurance in order for you to dock your vessel there. Depending on the type of boat you own, you may have invested a lot of money in your craft, so protecting it with a boat insurance policy is a good idea.
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
Most Virginia insurance providers offer the following options for boat insurance:
- Collision damage: Covers repairs or the replacement of your boat in the event it crashes with another boat or object
- Property damage liability: Covers damage you might cause to someone else’s boat, a dock, or other property or structures
- Bodily injury liability: Covers injury you might cause someone while using your boat; also includes medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and legal expenses
- Comprehensive: Covers repairs or the replacement of your boat in case of vandalism, theft or damage in an incident other than a collision
- Additional coverage options: Covers medical payments, fishing equipment, oil spills, personal property and roadside assistance, as well as damage and injuries from accidents caused by boaters who are uninsured or underinsured
The amount of reimbursement you receive for a claim depends on a few factors, including the deductible you choose, the limits you set and whether your boater’s insurance covers your boat’s actual cash value or replacement cost:
- Actual cash value: This option will pay a claim for as much as the boat is worth "today." This policy option takes depreciation into account. If your 10-year-old boat were a complete loss in an accident, your insurer would reimburse the amount a 10-year-old boat is worth.
- Replacement cost: This option does not take depreciation into account. If your older boat were a complete loss, this policy option would pay to replace it with a brand new one.
What Would Your Boat Insurance Quotes Look Like?
Virginia insurance companies will use several factors to determine quotes for your boat insurance, including the following:
- The type, size and age of the boat you wish to insure
- The size of motor and how it is powered
- Whether you are using it on inland waters or the open seas
- Whether you have selected additional coverage options
Typically, boat insurance can vary anywhere from as little as $75 to as much as $500 per year.
Virginia insurance companies also offer a number of discounts on boat insurance quotes. 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 you have a clean boating record. Make sure to ask your insurance agent what types of discounts are available when they give you a quote on boat insurance.
How To Find Boat Insurance in Virginia
Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in the Trusted Choice® network are always available to answer any questions you may have about boat insurance, to suggest coverage options and even to help you file a claim.
Contact a Trusted Choice agent in your area to find out how they can help you find the boat insurance coverage that meets your needs and boating goals.