Boat Insurance

Set sail with peace of mind

What is boat insurance?

Just like your home or car, owning a boat is a huge accomplishment both financially and personally. Regardless if you have a party yacht or a personal fishing boat, you want to make sure all of your bases are covered when it comes to insurance. And, like any kind of insurance, boat insurance can get complicated. Let’s go through the ins-and-outs to make sure you and your boat are covered.

In this article, we'll discuss:

  1. Do I need boat insurance?
  2. What’s covered by my insurance?
  3. What’s some advice for first-time owners?
  4. What are some ways I can get discounts on my insurance?

Do you actually need boat insurance?

The answer depends, in part, on what kind of boat you have. Depending on which type of boat, yes, you do need insurance. While some homeowners insurance extends to some types of boats, it really only covers your boat when it is parked at your home and typically caps at out at $3,000. If you have a boat with an engine, you’re going to want to buy specific boat insurance.

What is covered by boat insurance?

Generally, any policy will cover damage caused to your boat. Like most other property and casualty insurance we have covered already, boat liability insurance covers damage your boat causes to others and is typically separated into bodily injury and property damage portions. Typically, most companies offer limits that begin at $15,000 and end at $300,000 — however this can vary per insurance company and state.

Boat insurance also offers physical damage coverage, i.e. comprehensive and collision. An average boat policy includes much of the same coverage available on auto insurance policies with deductibles of $250, $500, and $1,000 (25/50/10) — but, again, this can fluctuate by insurance company.

Here’s our breakdown on what is typically covered (and not covered) under a boat insurance policy.

What's typically covered by insurance

CoveredNot Covered
Damage/destruction from collision, fire, lightning, theft, and vandalismNormal wear and tear
Damage to permanently attached equipment, like an anchorDefective machinery or machinery damage
Bodily injury liability, AKA injuriesDamage from sharks or other creatures
Property damage liability, damage your boat causes to other’s propertyDamage from mold, insects, and zebra mussels
Guest passenger liability, legal expenses of someone driving your boat with your permission
Medical payments, for expenses for you and your passengers

Ways to save

Because all the financial responsibilities of owning a boat can add up, we put together some broad ideas for discounts.

Multi-line discount:

If you own a home and a car, you should consider finding an insurance company that will cover all your investments under one policy in order to get a multi-line discount.

Diesel Power:

Because diesel-powered crafts are less likely to explode than gasoline ones and thus considered less risky, some insurance companies offer a discount for them.

Safety Courses:

Taking a safety course offered by the Coast Guard or American Red Cross can also get you a discount. Consult with your insurance company for details, as the amount and existence of the discount vary.

Safety Devices:

Having things like ship-to-shore radios and Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers can give you a discount. Given their importance, these devices are good to have anyway and a discount is simply an added bonus.

Good advice for boat owners

Consider any potential hang-ups before boating. There is a considerable amount of difference between insurance companies regarding what they will cover, what they require, and what may constitute an extra charge. So, when shopping around for insurance for your boat, you should consider the following tidbits:

Navigational Limits:

If you plan on taking our boat on some longer trips, consider if your insurance plan has territory limits on where you can venture. If you travel outside the limits and have a claim, your insurance might not cover you. Usually, the broader the limits you have, the higher your rate will be.

Marine Inspections:

Some insurance companies require your boat to be inspected prior to any contract being signed — which typically aren’t free. Still, an inspection probably isn’t a bad idea from a safety perspective.

Layup Periods:

Like auto and motorcycle insurance, you can store your boat during winter or hurricane seasons for a decreased premium. During this time, you shouldn’t use your boat in open water as you risk not being covered.

Recent Questions:

Boat Insurance

Is boat insurance legally required?

Jan 12, 2018

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