No matter what kind of boat you have, you probably want to look into boat insurance. Accidents can happen, and you don’t want to have to pay for someone’s hospital bills or a new boat out of your own pocket. Here’s what you need to know about boat insurance.
What is Boat Insurance?
You can select a range of coverages, including liability, damage to your boat, and more. Boat insurance is a separate insurance policy, but you may be able to buy it from the same company you used for your car, homeowners, or other insurance.
Do You Have to Buy Boat Insurance?
Unlike car insurance, there are generally no laws forcing you to buy boat insurance for recreational boating. You’d typically only have to purchase boat insurance for things like transporting passengers or commercial fishing.
However, everything that car insurance protects you from can still happen to you while boating. Many boats cost the same as or more than a car, and you don’t want to lose what you paid for it if it sinks or gets stolen. Boating accidents are also fairly common, and when you’re miles away from help, the rescue costs and medical bills can be even higher than a car accident. If you choose to boat without insurance, you’re choosing to take a huge risk.
What Kinds of Boats Does Boat Insurance Cover?
Boat insurance is a broad term that covers all types of boats. This includes powerboats, sailboats, personal watercraft, jet boats, and even yachts.
The cost of your insurance policy will vary by what type of boat you have. If you engage in riskier activities, such as deep-sea fishing, international transits, or high-speed boating, you may have additional insurance needs versus the average recreational boater.
Some boat insurance companies have their own restrictions on engine size, length, age, value, type, or other factors. If you have a popular, mass-produced personal watercraft, fishing boat, or pleasure boat, you can probably use most insurance companies, including where you have your auto or homeowners‘ insurance. Larger, less common, or more expensive types of boats may need a customized policy from a company that specializes in boat insurance.
Does Your Home Insurance Cover Boating?
Your home insurance may provide some protection for your boat. Your personal property coverage may apply to your boat, but the amount it covers is generally capped much lower than the value of most boats. It may also have restrictions such as only applying to theft and damage in storage and not to open water accidents. The liability portion of your policy will also generally exclude liability for boating accidents.
If you have a canoe, kayak, rowboat, or a small boat with a removable engine, you might decide you’re comfortable with the coverage your home insurance provides. Of course, you should always check your specific policy to see exactly what coverage you might have before you make any decisions.
Does Boat Insurance Cover Towing?
If you break down or run out of gas on the water, you might be stranded miles away from help. Commercial boat towing services assist boaters in the same way AAA and other roadside assistance companies do for car drivers. Like car insurance, you may choose to add your boat insurance company’s boat towing assistance coverage, or you may decide to become a member of different towing service of your choice.
What Does a Boating Safety Course Do to Your Boat Insurance?
Taking a boating safety course can do two things for your boat insurance. First, if you or someone else operates your boat illegally, including if you don’t have a legally required boating safety course, the terms of your policy may allow your insurance company to deny your claim. Second, if you take a boating safety course even when you don’t legally have to, you may qualify for a discount on your insurance premiums.
Can Your Driving Record Affect Your Boat Insurance Rates?
Yes, some boat insurance companies will consider your driving record. The idea is that how safe of a driver you are, and whether you follow the rules of the road predicts how safe you will be while operating your boat. If you get a safe driver discount on your car insurance, you might be eligible for a similar discount on your boat insurance.
Who Can Operate Your Boat?
Boating insurance generally covers anyone you allow to operate your boat, whether they’re taking a turn at the helm while you’re with them or you let them borrow your boat. To be covered, they must be old enough to operate that type of boat and have completed any required safety course. Your insurance company may also have age restrictions in addition to any legal requirements.
What if You Don’t Use Your Boat That Much?
Most boat insurance policies take into account that most boaters aren’t using their boats anywhere near as much as a car owner drives their commuter car. However, if you never use your boat during the offseason, you can ask about a layup period that reduces your coverage (and premium) down to theft and storage damage only during the time you’re not using your boat.
How Do You Choose the Right Boat Insurance?
To find the right boat insurance at the right price, work with an independent insurance agent. A local insurance agent works with many different insurance companies and can quickly help you decide what coverage you need and get you several quotes at once. Contact innovante insurance with all the questions you have or to start your quote.