Everything You Need To Know About Boat Insurance


Don’t Get Sunk Without Boat Insurance

Whether you’re new to boating or have been sailing all your life, you know there isn’t much that can surpass the thrill of being out in the water. With the wind wafting through your hair and the sun’s warmth shining down on you, the sense of calm that settles around you is a feeling like no other. But one little accident and that serenity can get replaced with stress, anxiety, and an empty bank account. Enter: boat insurance. Since boats present many risks, boat insurance is more complicated than other types of insurance and is dependent on various factors. For example, there’s a difference between taking a little fishing boat for two out on a still lake and zipping across the water jumping wakes with a skier in tow. To help you better understand the complexities and benefits of boat insurance, here’s a short guide that’s sure to be a lifesaver for any boat owner:

Boat Insurance Insures Your Boat

With the numerous makes and models of boats available— from personal watercrafts, to sailboats and jet boats—there is a correspondingly numerous variety of boat insurance policies to choose from. Factors like the type, size, and value of boat you have, how you use it, and where you use it, will determine which policy is right for you. But what does boat insurance actually cover? Boat insurance typically covers:
  • Damage to your boat caused by a covered cause (usually collision, fire, theft and vandalism)
  • Damage to other boats/property caused by your boat
  • Injury to you or others on your boat
  • Injury to others caused by your boat
  • Boating property on board (i.e. anchors, oars, skies, life vests, etc.)
Many insurance companies may also offer additional coverage options, like towing/roadside assistance, personal effects coverage, wreckage removal, and medical payments of injuries caused by uninsured boaters.

Other Types Of Insurance Policies Sometimes Cover Your Boat

Most homeowner’s policies provide a limited automatic coverage for boats with a motor that is 25 horsepower or less, or with no motor and is shorter than 26 feet. Your auto insurance will also usually cover damage to your boat and trailer when they are in transit. However, these coverages do not extend to your boat when it is in the water and away from your home or unattached from your vehicle. SEE ALSO: What Is Covered By Basic Home Insurance Unless the value of your boat is low, and the cost of damage or loss is something you’re willing to risk, then you will need to purchase boat insurance to cover your boat against physical damage, liability, theft or vandalism when it is in the water.

There Are Limits To Boat Insurance

Most boat insurance policies come with what is known as navigational limits. A navigational limit is how far off-shore the insurance company will cover your boat. Typically, insurance companies will insure boats within the inland and coastal waters of the U.S., and possibly Canada, and usually around 50 to 75 miles off shore. Any further and you would have to purchase an additional rider or endorsement for your boat to be insured. 

Take Advantage Of Available Discounts

There are always ways to lessen insurance costs. A few things you can do to reduce your boat insurance payments are:
  • Take a boat safety class
  • Install a ship-to-shore radio, emergency kill switch, or other safety device
  • Store your boat in a secure area
  • Only use your boat in lakes and rivers (it costs more to sail in coastal waters)
  • Make use of any loyalty or existing costumer discounts with your current insurance company
SEE ALSO: How Your Lifestyle Affects Your Insurance Premiums When shopping for boat insurance, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different types of policies and options. Now that you know a little more about what’s available, you’ll have an easier time determining which policy suits you the most. Just remember to shop around and compare quotes to find the best deal to help you stay afloat.
Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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