Stay Afloat With Proper Boater’s Insurance

There are many hidden costs associated with owning a boat: Dock fees, general maintenance, and winter storage, just to name a few. One expense that boat owners should never skimp on is purchasing the best available insurance policy for their watercraft.

Because buying a boat is a huge investment, owners should protect their boat with comprehensive insurance coverage. Plans are often based on the type and size of the boat. Many Homeowners and Renters insurance policies provide limited coverage for property damage if the boat’s engine is less than 25 horsepower or if it is a small sailboat, but without additional insurance, no liability coverage is included.


Owners of larger, more powerful boats and yachts will need to purchase a separate insurance policy for their boat.The insurance company will take into account the size and type of boat, its value, and where the boat sails when drawing up the conditions and cost of the policy.

Separate boat and watercraft insurance policies provide much more coverage to the owner. These policies generally include loss and damage coverage to the boat’s hull, machinery, furnishings, fittings, and any permanently attached equipment, like a navigation system.  Special attention should be paid to the type of valuation the policy offers for a total loss to the boat. Many policies offer coverage on an actual cash value (ACV) basis. While appropriate in some cases, ACV can severely limit a boat owner’s recovery in the event of a significant loss. Whenever possible we recommend Agreed Value coverage which pays you the face amount in the event of a total loss. For example, if you insured your boat for $50,000 when you took the policy out in 2007 and kept uninterrupted coverage in place thereafter and the boat was destroyed by an electrical fire in 2014, an agreed value policy would pay you $50,000 less the policy deductible. Had the boat been insured on an ACV policy depreciation would apply reducing the recovery dramatically. In addition to physical damage coverage, liability coverage options include:

  • Bodily injury to other persons
  • Damage to other’s property
  • Medical costs for injuries to the owner and passengers
  • Pollution Liability
  • Professional Angler Liability
  • Dockside Liability
  • Protection and Indemnity
  • Captain and crew coverage

Policyholders can choose the liability limits of their plan, ranging anywhere from $100,000 up to $1,000,000. Various deductible options are available. Of course, policies can be individualized based on the boat owner’s needs. Other endorsements and coverages can be added to the policy to cover the boat’s trailer, fishing gear kept aboard the boat, and any other accessories. Also, make sure to ask whether or not the policy covers the boat while it is being towed.

Just as Auto insurance providers offer discounts to their policyholders, discounts for watercraft policies apply in certain cases. For example, insurance companies favor diesel powered engines over gasoline ones because diesel fuel is more stable, making the engine safer to operate.

Other discounts are related to safety equipment kept on the boat.  Having items like fire extinguishers approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and ship to shore radio equipment could reduce the amount of the premium. Also, completing a boater’s safety course offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the American Red Cross, or the U.S. Power Squadrons can gain some favor with the insurance company.

Maintaining a clean boating record is just as important as being accident free on the roadways, when it comes to lowering insurance rates. Premiums are usually discounted for every two years  the boater goes without an accident or filing a claim. Bundling your Watercraft insurance with Homeowners and vehicle policies is another good way to save money on coverage costs.

A solid insurance policy gives boaters the peace of mind needed to set sail and enjoy the open waters. Nothing is more relaxing than knowing your investment is covered.

Get an on-line quote or talk to one of our insurance professionals today to learn more about watercraft protection:

(888) 697-6542

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