Boat Insurance

Stay insured and set sail with peace of mind.

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What is boat insurance?

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.


Boat insurance basics:

  1.  Is boat insurance required?
  2.  What does boat insurance cover?
  3.  Does my homeowners liability extend to my boat?
  4.  Boat insurance tips and advice
  5.  Boat insurance discounts


Do you need boat insurance?

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.


What does boat insurance cover?

Not Covered
Damage caused by 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, i.e., injury
Damage caused by sharks or other animals
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 you and your passengers' expenses


Does homeowners liability extend to my boat? 

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 advice for boat owners

Insurance companies' boat policies vary widely in their coverage options, eligibility requirements, and surcharges. When shopping for boat insurance, consider the following details:

Navigational limits

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.

Marine inspections

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.

Layup periods

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.


Boat insurance discounts

Multi-line boat insurance discount

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.

Diesel power 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.

Safety course discount

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.

Safety device discount

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.



Recent Questions:

Will my homeowners policy cover my boat?

While your homeowners policy can extend to boats, it only offers coverage if they are on your property and is normally limited to a dollar amount well below your boat's value. This also doesn't consider the liability that you encounter every time you use your boat.
Mar 18, 2017 Tempe, AZ

Will my boat insurance policy cover a passenger falling overboard?

The answer will depend on the coverage you currently have on your policy. There are two instances where boat insurance would cover an injury to a passenger caused from falling overboard.
May 30, 2017 Horseshoe Bay, TX

Is boat insurance legally required?

Boat Insurance is not mandatory in Florida but it's a good idea to have in order to protect you and your assets. In terms of recommendations, I would recommend the basic liability protection, which covers the damage you cause to other people or boats while boating.
Jan 11, 2018 Miami, Florida

Can I insure a boat with someone else's name on the title

You shouldn't have a problem doing that. Since the boat is still registered in your father-in-law's name, you might need to have him listed as an "additional interest" in the policy documentation.
May 31, 2018 Savannah, GA

Ross Martin
Ross MartinManager, Content Quality

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross researches and writes insurance content intended to help users make informed decisions.

Ross's background is in writing and education. He holds a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Ross's work has been cited by The New York Times, Investopedia, The Simple DollarThe BalanceCar and Driver and Fox Business. He has been quoted by CNET, I Drive Safely and Kin Insurance

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