5 Tips To Get Boat Insurance Coverage You Can Live With

By Matthew Cenzon. May 7th 2016

Auto insurance is the main type of vehicle insurance that most people are familiar with, but many forget to include their precious boats and other watercraft for protection. While you're not likely to suffer an intersection collision, highway traffic accident or even a mere fender-bender in your boat, it's still important to get a good insurance policy to keep you covered.

Risks Associated with Owning a Boat

Boat insurance coverage is important for every boat owner to protect their watercraft from the potential risks that come with owning or operating a boat. These risks include:

  • Physical damage to your watercraft vehicle.
  • Bodily injury suffered by the boat owner, passengers and anyone involved in a water collision or accident, and medical payments.
  • Property damage in case the boat damages someone else's property. This can range from another person's watercraft vehicle to an actual home.
  • A sunken or capsized boat.
  • Adverse weather that can damage your boat.
  • Fires or explosions.
  • Boat theft.
  • Lawsuits from damage or injury caused by your boat.

Whether you use your boat for recreational purposes or as a means to make a living, here are 5 tips that will help you find a good boat insurance coverage that you can live with.

1. Getting the Right Boat Insurance for Your Use

The type of boat you own and its main form of use will affect your boat insurance requirements. A fishing boat might have additional equipment that requires coverage in your boat insurance policy than a smaller jet boat. Boat insurance companies might also ask whether your watercraft is used for inland or ocean boating. Make sure you are getting reasonable boat insurance coverage that will meet all of your boating needs. Here is a list of other things to consider when looking for the right boat insurance coverage:

  • Do you plan on having frequent fishing trips on your boat?
  • Are fishing trips going to be for deep sea fishing?
  • Are you planning to sail by yourself, or is your boat intended to carry multiple passengers?
  • How many passengers on average do you plan on taking on boating trips?
  • Will you need extra coverage for specialized equipment like navigational systems for deep sea trips, or fishing poles, lures and netting?

2. What to Look for in Your Boat Insurance Coverage

Make sure you closely examine the conditions and coverage of your boat insurance policy. You'll want to find out if your boat supplies are also covered in your boat insurance policy. Check and see if the trailer used to haul your boat is also included in your insurance. Find out if there are any discounts available if you pass a boating safety course. Also, look for any exclusions on your policy for the particular area you will be using your boat. And just like auto insurance, you need to understand what your liability limits and deductibles are. One final thing you should also determine is whether you will receive an "Agreed Value" or "Actual Cash Value" for your boat insurance coverage:

  • Agreed value may be more expensive, but has the potential to pay out more depending upon the stated value of your boat on your policy.
  • Actual cash value is less costly, but your insurance company will only pay the actual cash value of your boat at the time of its loss. This means that depreciation is a major factor in determining how much you will receive for a total loss.

3. Get to Know Your Insurer

If you like the coverage provided by your current home and auto insurance company, you may feel inclined to ask them for a boat insurance quote. Often times, you can add a boat insurance policy to the rest of your coverage, which will keep things easy and convenient. However, your current insurance provider may not have the experience necessary to offer you the proper boat insurance coverage you need. Shop around, and don't be afraid to go with a separate company for your boat insurance if your regular insurance company does not commonly deal with marine related coverage. Here is a list of things a specialized boat insurance company should know how to deal with:

  • On-water towing costs and coverage.
  • Fuel spill clean-up.
  • Coverage for salvaging your boat in case it sinks and needs to be recovered.

4. Don't Leave Out Any Information

In an effort to obtain boat insurance coverage at a lower cost, some boat owners may feel tempted to leave out a few details regarding their watercraft. Other boat owners might leave out key information because they don't think it's necessary to mention it when obtaining boat insurance coverage. Make sure you provide as many details as possible to your potential boat insurance company. If you live in an area with frequent storms or hurricanes, make sure you tell your insurance agent so they can help you get the best coverage possible.

5. Talk to Fellow Boat Owners

The next time you pay a visit to the lake, or take a trip to the marina, make sure you talk to other boat owners and ask about their boat insurance coverage. You can also keep an eye out for any boat owners around your neighborhood to get recommendations for a solid boat insurance company. It is important to do your homework to get a better understanding of the company that will be taking care of you in the event of a boating accident or injury. Boat insurance is a little less common than other forms of insurance, so it may be difficult to gauge whether you are dealing with a reputable boat insurance company or not. Ask around to find the right insurance company for you to get the best boat insurance coverage.

Bottom Line

Don't try to cut corners and save money with boat insurance coverage that isn't suitable for your needs. You may not use a boat as frequently as you use your car or other automobile, but that doesn't mean it is any less valuable. Before you take that new bass boat or trawler out in the waters, make sure you protect yourself and others with the proper life preserving equipment, emergency supplies and good boat insurance coverage.

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