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Unless your boat is actually a kayak, you have to purchase boat insurance for adequate coverage. Your homeowner's insurance will only cover your boat from $100 to $1,500 and generally for damage that occurs at your residence. Let's explore the ins and outs of boat insurance to make sure you understand what your coverage entails.
The answer depends, in part, on what kind of boat you have. Insurance is required for some types of boats. While some homeowners insurance policies may extend to cover boats, it typically only covers a boat when it is parked at home, and the coverage usually caps out at $1,500. Basically, if your boat has an engine, you'll want to buy boat insurance.
Boat insurance also offers physical damage coverage, i.e., comprehensive and collision. A typical boat insurance policy includes coverage similar to auto insurance policies, with deductibles of $250, $500, and $1,000 (25/50/10) — but, again, this can vary by company.
See below what is typically covered — and not covered — by boat insurance policies.
If you are in a boating accident, your homeowners liability coverage may help cover the damages you cause. Standard homeowners policies usually come with $100,000 in personal liability coverage, though this can often be increased at a minimal cost. It’s important to remember liability coverage only reimburses the other party, so you would need personal watercraft coverage if you wanted damages to your boat covered. An umbrella policy can also provide further personal liability coverage.
Keep in mind your homeowners liability insurance is limited to boats of certain sizes. Boats must be smaller than 26 feet in length and have an engine with below 25 horsepower to be eligible.
Insurance companies' boat policies vary widely in their coverage options, eligibility requirements, and surcharges. When shopping for boat insurance, consider the following details:
If you plan on taking your vessel on longer voyages, check for any territorial limits on your boat insurance plan. If you travel outside these limits and need to file a claim, your insurance might not cover the damages. Usually, the broader your geographic limits, the higher your rate will be.
Some insurance companies require your boat to be inspected prior to any contract being signed. These inspections usually aren’t free. An inspection isn’t a bad idea from a safety perspective.
You can store your boat during winter or hurricane seasons while paying a decreased monthly premium. During this time, you shouldn’t use your boat in open water as you risk not being covered.
If you own a home or a car, consider finding an insurance company that will cover all of your belongings with one policy in order to get a multi-line discount.
Because diesel-powered watercraft are less likely to explode than those fueled by gasoline, they're considered less risky. Some insurance companies offer a discount for diesel boats.
Taking a safety course offered by the Coast Guard or American Red Cross can also earn you a discount. Consult your insurance company for details, as the amount of the discount may vary.
Onboard ship-to-shore radios and Coast Guard-approved fire extinguishers can lead to discounts. These devices are good to have anyway — a discount is simply an added bonus.