Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Why Do I Need Boat Insurance

When Is Proof Of Insurance Required

Why Do I Need Boat Insurance?

Even though most states dont legally require you to carry boat insurance, other situations may require proof of insurance for your watercraft.

Docking your boat at a marina

If you plan on docking your boat at a marina, many will require you to show proof of insurance before signing the contract. That being so, make sure to read the fine print and understand the requirements before proceeding with any contractual agreement.

For example, marinas such as the Charleston City Marina in South Carolina and the Kemah Boardwalk Marina in Kemah, Texas require docked boats to have liability insurance of at least $300,000.

Marinas like Brickyard Cove in Pt. Richmond, CA require an endorsement on your policy as additional interest or additional insured to avoid claims of negligence.

Harbors will carry their own liability insurance so they can protect claims where they may be at fault.

Financing your boat purchase

If you have financed your boat, your bank may require you to carry boat insurance. If the bank is using the boat as collateral for the loan, they will require you to list them as payee for loss or damage of the boat.

Unlike home and auto coverage, some policies dont require you to carry year-round coverage. But if you have financed your boat, your lender will most likely ask you to carry coverage even when the boat is stored. Your vessel may still be exposed to risks, such as theft and storm damage, while in storage.

What Is My Boat’s Value Under An Insurance Policy

Your boat’s value can be looked at in three very different ways:

  • Actual cash value – represents what your boat is worth today after adjusting for the normal wear and tear that may have depreciated the replacement value of the boat.
  • Replacement cost value – represents the cost that it may take to replace or repair your boat if it were destroyed or damaged.

Each of these may be significantly different than the other and should not be confused in determining the amount of coverage that you may need to repair or rebuild your boat. A boat that may sell for $100,000 may actually cost $150,000 to replace. Some policies will pay for replacement cost coverage others may offer actual cash value and others may use an “agreed value” negotiated by both parties when the policy is issued. You should talk with your producer about how much it may cost to replace your boat when considering the limits of your coverage.

If your coverage is less than the replacement cost, your insurance company is not obligated to pay to replace your boat. In the case of a total loss, the company only needs to pay up to the policy limits. For partial losses, an insurance company may only be obligated to pay a percentage of the loss based on the percentage that your policy limit would pay toward the cost to replace your entire property.

There Are Ways That You Can Save On Your Boat Insurance

It is possible to lower your boat insurance rates. Insurance companies like to reward you when you take safety precautions. Here are a few ways you can save:

  • Have approved fire extinguishers on-board.
  • Take a state-run, approved safety course through the Coast Guard or Red Cross.
  • Use diesel. This can help lower your risk and therefore your premium.

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Does My Home Insurance Policy Cover My Boat

Its a common belief among Washington boat owners that their home insurance will extend to cover their boat. While there is a small grain of truth to this statement, it could cost you big money if you rely on it.

Homeowners policies extend limited coverage to some very small boats, generally up to a maximum of $1,000 $1,500.

If you own a boat with a motor, we always recommend purchasing a stand-alone boat insurance policy. The same is true for personal watercraft like jet skis and wave runners.

Boat Insurance By Size

Boat insurance cost

To determine coverage needs, insurers often look at the boats value, length and engine size, among other characteristics.

Small boats. If you own a small boat, for instance a Sunfish sailboat, your homeowners or renters insurance might cover it under the personal property portion of the policy. But check with your agent to see if your home insurance will extend to a small boat.

Boats. Pontoons, skiffs and other boats less than 26 feet long can generally be covered under standard boat insurance policies.

Yachts or larger boats. Vessels longer than 26 feet in length are generally considered yachts, and many insurance companies offer comprehensive policies for these vessels. There are also companies that specialize in coverage for yachts, including Chubb, Hagerty and Markel.

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What Determines My Boat Insurance Rate

The average cost of Boat Insurance is $300-500 per year, according to Trusted Choice. Thats only about $25-42 per month, which is not a lot extra to pay for better peace of mind.

Factors that may determine your Boat Insurance rate include:

  • Boat Type
  • Boat Year, Make and Model
  • Driving Record
  • Where You Use Your Boat
  • Boat Value

If Youre Not Sure Your Personal Watercraft Counts As A Boat You Still Have Insurance Options

Other than boat insurance, there are also other categories of marine insurance. Those include: yacht insurance, sailboat insurance, dinghy insurance, boat clubs, boat and PWC rental insurance, and Professional marine insurance. Call an advisor today to see what insurance you need at .

The Bottom Line

Boat insurance is a smart investment for any boat owner. With these ten tips, youre well on your way to choosing a policy that will fit your needs. If youre looking for boat insurance, consider shopping for quotes with an independent insurance agent. An insurance agent is an excellent resource for choosing your coverage, limits and comparing quotes from different insurers.

Happy boating!

Call an InsuraMatch insurance advisor today at to compare boat insurance quotes and save!

Not by the phone? Request a boat insurance quote online now:

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Its Kind Of Like A Canopy

Once your boat is out of the water, its insured status can get vague. For instance, if you are driving your boat on a trailer, and get into an accident, the coverage in your auto policy takes effect. However, your boat insurance often does not factor in. So, to make sure you are covered both in water and on land, consider an umbrella policy. Its expanded liability coverage that can help protect you in this scenario .

What Comes With A Standard Boating Insurance Policy


Although there are no one size fits all policies, a typical boat policy may include:

  • Hull protection covers vessel damage and motor damage.
  • Personal possessions this can be fishing gear, smart phones, computers, or anything that you take with you.
  • Liability covers damage to other vessels.
  • Medical payments to those injured in a boating incident.
  • Clean up charges in case your vessel pollutes the waters with contaminants like oil, gasoline, and such, during the course of an accident. This can be a major expense.
  • Vessel towing in case your boat is disabled on the water.

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Protection For Your Boat And From Others

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the leading type of boating accident is collision with a recreational vehicle. Thats why its important to protect yourself against other vessels and operators who may not be carrying the right level of insurance. An uninsured and underinsured watercraft liability option provides coverage for a loss that you or other occupants of your watercraft experience from a claim involving an un-/underinsured boater.

What May Affect The Cost Of Insurance For My Boat

  • Amount of Coverage: The amount of coverage you buy will affect the price you pay.
  • Deductible Amount: This is the amount of loss that the covered person is required to pay before the insurance company will pay any losses. The higher the deductible, the lower the price for the insured. An insured should keep in mind, however, that deductibles apply separately to each loss that may occur throughout the year.
  • Age and Condition of Boat: New or remodeled boats may have certain safety features to reduce risk while older boats may be subject to more damage in case of an accidental event.
  • History of Accidents: If you have a history of boating accidents, this may be used as a factor in setting your rates, based on the likelihood of your having future accidents.
  • Navigation Area and Length of Navigation Period: Where you operate your boat and the length of time you use the boat in any particular year can affect your premium.
  • Discounts: Most insurance companies offer a variety of discounts, including some of the following based upon projected reduced risks for certain features:
  • Multi-policy discounts for covering boat insurance and other insurance with the same carrier
  • Safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, burglar alarms and ship-to-shore radios and
  • Taking safety courses offered by the Coast Guard, American Red Cross, U.S. Power Squadron or National Association of State Boating Law Administrators .

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Boat Insurance Is A Necessity

Boat insurance is a necessity that cannot be ignored, and you need to ensure that you go beyond just the basic options. The basic options cover just that. There is no help if your boat crashes or spills, and you could be liable for thousands of dollars. Instead, use the helpful tips we have given you above and find the best insurance for your vessel so that you and your passengers can be safe and secure in the knowledge that you have nothing to worry about.

When I Did Consider Myself A Liveaboard I Found That Marine Insurance Companies Were Often Reluctant To Insure Me

Boat Insurance

In fact, there are many insurance providers that will not offer insurance if you claim your boat is your primary residence. There are a host of reasons why this is the case. From what Ive gathered from conversations with underwriters, the gist of it is that liveaboards can have a higher rate of calamity.

Liveaboards are odd-balls and they may own an old and decrepit vessel. They may also be the type of person who does their own electrical wiring That sort of thing could lead to a higher chance of a boat fire. I believe another risk is associated with the fact that liveaboards spend more time on their boat. This makes sense, as many of these poor bastards have nowhere else to go

The more you use your boat, the more likely it is that mishap may occur.

And now, for my own conjecture Liveaboards also tend to be alcoholics or at least heavy drinkers. And if youre going to be sipping straight rum while re-wiring a faulty electrical connection, then you have yourself a potent brew of potential liabilities. Insurance companies dont like liabilities.

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What Is Boat Trailer Insurance And What Does It Cover

Boat trailer insurance is a specialized type of vehicle insurance policy that applies to trailers specially built to transport a boat safely from a home to a lake, river or ocean.

Some boat trailers can be covered as a special rider attached to a vehicle or homeowners policy, but because these items are so specialized in terms of how theyre used, it is often a good idea to get separate trailer coverage.

Boat trailer insurance generally covers damage to the trailer, whether its stored at home or at a recreation area. Your policy can also cover theft as well as liability coverage in the event that your trailer causes damage to another vehicle, trailer or boat or injures another person.

How We Chose The Best Boat Insurance Providers

When selecting the best boat insurance providers, we compared policies and discounts for more than 20 nationally recognized insurance companies that offer boat policies. We also looked at each companys financial strength, customer satisfaction ratings, and reviews. We feel confident that our evaluations provide a useful guide to help you select a boat insurance company, but we always encourage you to shop around and compare quotes before signing on the dotted line for any insurance policy.

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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover My Boat

Although some homeowners insurance policies cover boats, these typically come with several limitations. In most cases homeowners policies treat your boat like any other household possession , meaning that your policy will only cover the boat up to a certain value . Whats more, liability insurance for your boat isnt typically included under your homeowner’s insurance. This means youd be out any liability or injury costs in the event of a boating accident.

Premiums & Boat Discounts

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What Boat Discounts Are Available, and How Can I Add Them to My Policy?

You may be eligible for discounts based on factors like:

  • Your level of boating education.
  • Your boats safety and security features.
  • Your boat is a hybrid or electric.
  • You insure more than one boat with Travelers.
  • You have another policy, such as car, homeowners, renters, condo or umbrella insurance, with Travelers.
  • How and when you pay your premium.

Ask your insurance representative about these and other incentives to ensure you are getting all the boat discounts for which you are eligible.

Can I Get a Discount on My Boat Policy if I Have Other Policies with Travelers?

Yes, we offer a discount of up to 10% for one other qualifying policy and up to 15% off for two or more qualifying policies. Ask your insurance representative about our multipolicy discount.

Can I Get a Discount if I Have Security and Safety Features Installed on My Boat or Its Storage Location?

In many cases, having a GPS unit, radar or other security and safety devices installed on your boat will qualify you for savings. Ask your representative for more information about this and other boat discounts for which you may be eligible.

What Coverage Options Are Available for Travelers Boat Insurance? What Is a Deductible and How Does It Affect My Boat Insurance Premium?

A deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of your own pocket before your boat insurance kicks in. Typically, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

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Is Boat Insurance Required By Law

Some states have boat insurance requirements. And if you financed your boat with a loan or parked it on a voucher, the lender or marina will likely require proof of coverage. But even if you bought your entire boat and your state doesnt require insurance, its smart to protect yourself, your passengers, and your ship.

Suppose you had an accident that injured the passengers of another boat. If you are financially responsible for all repairs and injuries, it could end up costing you a small fortune.

To protect against financial ruin, buying boat insurance is always a good idea.

Ashley Kilroy is a personal finance writer and content creator. In addition to being a contributing writer for Forbes, she writes for individual entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies.

To Protect Your Investment

A boat insurance policy covers your pricey investment from fire, theft, vandalism, accidents, and breakdowns whether your boat is in the water, at the dock, or on your trailer. Extended coverage is available for if you transport it to another state or use your boat far from shore in the open ocean.

With insurance, your vessel will be fully protected, bow to stern, as the following items are covered in a typical insurance policy.

  • Hulls

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Boat Insurance : To Insure Or Not To Insure

While insurance for your boat is not a legal requirement, a wise boater takes the time to get educated on the benefits of a policy that protects not only property but liability too. So we turned to a marine insurance veteran and former Boating BC board member Paul Mendham, CIP, President of Navis Marine Insurance, to teach us the basics.

Ive seen lots of crazy things, says Paul. Boats sunk and docks collapsed by a big wake, or damaged in heavy snowstorms. Many people think they dont need insurance because they are careful, or that nothing will happen to them. Well, stuff happens and then youre the one writing the cheque!

According to Paul there are two good reasons to insure your boat: to protect your asset, and your net worth arising from liability. If you get into an accident, and cause property damage or hurt someone, without insurance everything you own can be at risk.

What kind of insurance do I need?

That depends on what kind of boat you have. A canoe or kayak low value, no horsepower and little liability – can be easily added to your home insurance policy. But if you have a powerboat, or a larger sailboat you need a dedicated marine insurance policy. All risk policies cover you for most types of losses, but there are exceptions, so be sure to read the fine print.

Where should I buy my insurance?

What should I ask my broker?

Its great to be prepared, so heres what I would ask:

Why is liability insurance important?

When should I buy my insurance?

Nationwide: Best For Policy Bundling

Do You Really Need Boat Insurance?
  • Multi-policy discount for those who bundle boat insurance and at least one other policy with Nationwide

  • Boat insurance packages to help customers save money

  • Not all coverages and discounts available in all states

  • Cant manage boat policy on the mobile app

Nationwide offers lots of options for boat insurance coverage, including:

  • Bodily injury and property damage liability
  • Collision coverage
  • Roadside assistance
  • On-water boat towing and labor
  • Fishing equipment insurance
  • Personal effects insurance

Furthermore, there may be additional savings on your boat insurance when you select one of Nationwides boat insurance packages. The company offers a wide range of packages for different types of boaters, such as:

  • Weekenders For those who simply take gear onto their boat and remove it when theyre done, Nationwide offers an affordable package that includes up to $1,000 for fishing equipment, $3,000 for personal effects, and $500 for towing.
  • Overnighters For those who take short boating trips, Nationwide offers up to $2,500 for fishing equipment, $5,000 for personal effects, and $2,500 for towing.
  • Light Tackle Anglers For customers who own a bass boat or smaller fishing boat, Nationwide offers up to $5,000 for fishing equipment, $2,000 for personal effects, and $2,500 for towing.
  • Deep Water Pros For those who fish big waters, gulfs, bays, and oceans, Nationwide offers up to $10,000 for fishing equipment, $5,000 for personal effects, and $2,500 for towing.



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