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Boat Insurance: Comparison Tips to Get the Right Coverage

Daniel Walker
Licensed Insurance Agent for 15 Years

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Boat Insurance: Comparison Tips to Get the Right CoverageTake some time to think about your boat insurance; comparison shopping and checking out rates and coverage options from different providers are the best way to get the right level of coverage for your needs.

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The cost of boat insurance will be based on your boat and the type of coverage you select. Evaluate your needs, the coverage options available, and multiple insurers before committing to any policy.

Boat Insurance Comparison: Consider Your Needs First

Before you can start shopping for boat insurance coverage, the first thing you need to consider is the size and type of vessel you own. If you own a small boat that you use occasionally on weekends, your coverage needs will be different from someone who owns one that will be used for fishing tournaments where they will need coverage for expensive fishing equipment as well.

Another point to consider when looking at your boat insurance needs is whether you also need coverage for a trailer to tow your boat. The insurance company is going to want to know if you keep your boat moored on a year-round basis or if you store it in a shed or other enclosure when it’s not in use.

Boat Insurance Comparison: Coverage Available

When you are shopping for boat insurance coverage, the best type of protection for your vessel is an all risk policy. This protection is similar to collision and comprehensive coverage on your car. You would be covered for the cost of repairing the boat after an accident, as well as salvage fees, wreck removal and pollution damage. The coverage also pays for legal fees if you are sued as the result of an accident.

No boat insurance policy will cover you for all types of loss; there are exclusions to the policy. You will not be covered for damage caused by:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Freezing
  • Ice
  • Scratching
  • Denting

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Along with protection for your boat, you will also want to buy liability coverage to pay for damage you may cause while operating it. The liability portion of your policy should include bodily injury and property damage coverage. Bodily injury coverage pays for medical bills and expenses incurred because of the accident. The property damage portion of the policy looks after repairing another person’s boat or dock damaged in an accident where you are found to be at fault.

If you live in a colder climate where you can’t keep your boat in the water all year round, you may not need to keep full coverage in force all year. You will need to have storage coverage in place, though.

Your policy should also include coverage for medical payments and loss of personal property on board. Loss of use is usually included in a standard boat policy as well. An uninsured boater liability clause offers protection when your boat is damaged in a hit and run incident or where you or a family member is injured swimming near the boat by an unidentified operator. An accidental death benefit is also a standard provision included in a boat insurance policy.

As a boat owner, you are required to perform certain actions to keep your policy in force. For example, if you buy a policy based on personal use and you are also using it for commercial purposes, the insurance company may declare it void. Other types of warranties you need to be aware of are ones requiring you to have a working fire extinguisher on board your boat (applies to ones above a certain length) and restrictions on the allowable navigation area. A breach of one of these warranties voids the policy from the date the breach occurred, and you would not be covered for any claims you make.

Boat Insurance Comparison: Ask Around

One way to find the right boat insurance coverage for you is to ask fellow boaters about their experience with insurance providers. Do make a point of asking about their experience with the insurer if they had to make a claim. You are looking for a company that will settle your claim in a timely and fair manner.

Keep in mind that one person’s experience with a particular insurance company may not provide you with unbiased information about that provider. People who are not happy with the type of service they received from any business are more likely to be vocal about the experience than those who have not had any issues with getting coverage or having their questions and concerns dealt with. Conducting your own boat insurance comparison is the way to find the best company for your needs.

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