Each year, there are over 4,168 boating accidents. These accidents can lead to property damage, injuries, and in some cases, fatalities. If you’re a boat owner, you need to protect yourself and your boat in the event of an unfortunate circumstance.
Like you do with your home and cars, you need to carry a boat insurance policy. Not carrying boat insurance can potentially leave you in financial ruin after a boating accident. This guide will go over all your boat insurance coverage questions and where you can find a comprehensive policy. You can also read more about boat insurance on our website.
What’s Boat Insurance?
An insurance policy will cover you and your vessel against damage and liability in the unfortunate event of an accident. That includes if you damage someone else’s property or injure them with your boat. A boat insurance policy will also cover your boat if it’s stolen.
Boat insurance requirements vary by state. However, if you’re financing a boat or want to rent a slip at a marina, insurance is often required. Plus, why wouldn’t you want to protect yourself and your investment?
Some homeowners’ insurance policies will cover your boat but only when it’s at your residence. On top of that, the policy only covers a very low amount, typically enough to cover a kayak or small, aluminum boat.
You want a separate policy for your boat so you get more comprehensive coverage. A boat is a big investment, one that needs to be protected.
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
Boat insurance policies vary depending upon the type of boat you have and how much coverage you need. The average policy will include the following:
- Property Damage Liability: Damage you and your boat might cause to another person’s dock, boat, structures, or other property
- Collision Damage: Replacement or repairs for your boat, but doesn’t always include wreckage clean-up
- Comprehensive: Compensation if your watercraft is stolen, damaged, or vandalized in another type of incident that’s not a collision
- Bodily Injury Liability: Injuries that were caused to someone else while you were using your boat
- Note: This includes lost income, medical bills, legal expenses, and pain and suffering
- Additional Coverage Options: Add on coverage for oil spills, medical payments, roadside assistance, and uninsured boaters
The amount of compensation you may receive for a boat accident claim will vary depending upon your limits, deductible, and if your insurance covers your boat’s agreed-upon value or actual cash value.
Those two terms are defined as follows:
- Actual Cash Value: The value of your boat at the time of the incident
- Agreed Value: The price you and your insurance company agree upon when the policy is written
While a policy that includes the actual cash value of your boat is cheaper, the amount you’re paid out if there’s an accident is less as well. Actual cash value factors in wear and tear on the boat, as well as depreciation. That’s something to keep in mind when you shop for boat insurance policies.
How Much Does It Cost for Boat Insurance?
The cost of boat insurance varies depending upon various factors. Some of the factors that affect the cost of your boat insurance are within your control but some of them aren’t. How often you use your boat is a factor. If you plan on using it only a few times each year for fishing, your premium will be lower. It’ll increase if you tow parasails, wakeboarders, and water skiers.
Insurance companies also take into consideration your driving record. If you have a good driving record, your premium will be lower. You also might qualify for a discount because of that. Another factor that comes into play is how many boat insurance claims you’ve had. If you’ve had a number of claims in the past, that’ll result in your premium being higher.
Insurance companies will look at other people you add to the policy. If you add someone that’s a teenager or who has a poor driving record, that’ll affect the cost. Taking safety courses will also qualify you for discounts. Insurance companies want reliable drivers operating boats.
Typical Deductible and Limit Amounts
When working with an insurance agent to purchase your boat policy, you can increase or decrease your deductible and limit amounts in different areas. Below are the standard coverage amounts for boat insurance:
- Personal Effects: $250 deductible with $1,000 limit
- Medical Payments: $5,000 limit
- Uninsured Boaters Liability: Ranges from $300,000 to $500,000
- Towing Assistance: No deductible with $500 to $1,000 limit
- Fishing Equipment: $250 deductible with $1,000 limit
You can also add on additional coverage that will also cover general wear and tear, animal damage, and manufacturer defects.
Frequently Asked Questions
Boat insurance can be complicated. Below are some frequently asked questions boat owners have about boat insurance.
Does Boat Insurance Cover Hurricanes?
Your boat insurance policy might cover hurricane damage. It depends upon your insurance company and how your policy is structured. If windstorms, tornados, hurricanes, or tropical concerns are a concern for you, talk with your insurance agent about adding on storm coverage for your boat.
Does It Cover Me If I Run Into a Rock?
If your boat insurance policy has property damage coverage built-in or has comprehensive coverage, the policy will cover collisions with logs, rocks, and other obstacles.
Does Boat Insurance Cover Engine Damage?
Your boat insurance policy may cover engine damage. Some insurance companies and policies have machinery damage exclusions. It also depends on how old the motor is.
Does It Cover Theft?
The comprehensive aspect of your boat insurance policy will cover the theft of your boat. Any personal possessions that were on the boat might not be covered. Review the comprehensive portion of your boat insurance policy to see what’s covered.
Connect With a Reliable Company for Boat Insurance
While not required in most states, boat insurance protects you, other people, and your boat in the event of an accident. You don’t want to be faced with huge medical bills, repairs, and other unforeseen bills because you didn’t have a boat insurance policy.