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.
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.
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.
|Damage/destruction from collision, fire, lightning, theft, and vandalism||Normal wear and tear|
|Damage to permanently attached equipment, like an anchor||Defective machinery or machinery damage|
|Bodily injury liability, AKA injuries||Damage from sharks or other creatures|
|Property damage liability, damage your boat causes to other’s property||Damage 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|
Because all the financial responsibilities of owning a boat can add up, we put together some broad ideas for discounts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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