Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Apr 26, 2022

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The average cost of boat insurance in the US is $300 to $500 annually. It is possible, however, for your costs to exceed $1000 annually. There are a great many factors used to determine just how much your boat insurance will be.

If don’t already own a boat and you are planning to buy one, then you should get boat insurance quotes before you make your purchase. This will help you to determine whether or not these premiums will fall into your budget.

In most states, there are no laws governing boating insurance. Yet anyone who owns a boat must know what boat insurance is and how it works. Yet, you can purchase a boat and use it without buying insurance for it.

This is a risky move, however, because if you cause an accident, you are still responsible for the damages incurred during the accident. In addition, if someone gets hurt while on your boat or because they were struck by your boat, you are responsible for their medical costs.

Keep reading to learn what affects your boat insurance rates, what your boat insurance covers, what boat insurance costs, and how to save money on your overall premiums.

Don’t let boating accidents, medical bills, or property damages sink your dream of owning a boat. Compare actual rates and get affordable boat insurance coverage from licensed insurers near you.

What affects your boat insurance rates?

So how much is boat insurance? As mentioned above, many factors are used to determine just how much you will pay for boat insurance.

While the national average boat insurance cost in the US is $300 to $500 annually, this represents the cost of boat insurance if you choose to add your boat to an already existing policy, such as your auto insurance policy or homeowners policy.

If you choose to purchase a separate policy for fishing boats, a speed boat, or a bass boat, then you will see a significant increase in your premiums; however, many people find that it is worth it to pay more for the additional personal watercraft coverage they receive.

If you choose to add a boat to an existing policy, you need to be aware of the limitations:

  • The maximum boat size for this type of addition is 26ft
  • This coverage will not cover the cost of your personal belongings on your boat
  • It takes into account issues that can occur on the water such as gasoline spillage

If you are looking for a basic affordable option, then this is certainly the way to go. If you want a more comprehensive policy, then you will need to select an independent boating policy that takes into account many of the unfortunate things that can occur while you are boating.

Another thing that will affect your rates is whether you choose a named peril policy or an all risk policy. A named peril policy is a policy that only covers damages caused by specifically named incidences. Things like striking an object under the water, striking another boat, theft, acts of nature and so on. The fewer things that you cover the more affordable your policy will be.

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What is the general cost of boat insurance?

An all risk policy covers pretty much everything. Sometimes insurance companies will exclude specific things, such as lightning, but that will be policy specific. An all risk policy will include conditions such as:

  • Total loss of boat
  • Hull damage
  • Equipment damage
  • Medical expenses from bodily injury

An all risk policy is more expensive than a named peril policy.

You will also need to choose between actual cash value and agreed upon value for your boat coverage. Actual cash value is the more affordable option because it only pays the market value of your boat if you experience a total loss.

The agreed-upon value, however, is usually the purchase price of the boat, which allows you to purchase a new boat of the same kind if you experience a total loss.

Things like your driving record, credit score, age and gender all affect your premiums as well. While it may seem unfair, women over the age of 27 with good driving records will have lower premiums than men over the age of 27 with good driving records.

While statistically speaking women have better driving records, studies also show that they exhibit more caution on the water than men.

If you are a teen or a young adult under the age of 25, expect your rates to be significantly higher than those of an older person do. Simply put, the younger you are the more of a risk you pose.

You will also find that the type of boat and how fast it can go will affect your rates. If your boat exceeds a speed limit of 50mph, you will pay more. The faster it goes the more you will pay. In addition, the placement of your motor affects your rates as well.

An outboard motor is less expensive because it isn’t enclosed inside of your boat, which allows for easy access and the ability to quickly put out a fire if necessary. Expensive boats will cost more to insure.

How you use your boat will have a major affect on your rates. A fisherman, for example, will pay less than a charter boat that carries passengers.

You may find that there are other factors that determine your rates depending on where you live. Some states have less stringent guidelines than others in terms of the expectation from boaters.

What does boat insurance cover?

We touched a bit on what your different type of insurance will cover so to keep things simple a basic policy attached to your homeowners or auto insurance offers you liability coverage for the passengers on your boat and for any other boats or people you might strike. In addition, it will cover the loss of your boat on land and in the water, so long as the predetermined criteria are met, which will be policy specific.

An independent boat insurance policy offers boat liability coverage, the same as above, and total loss of your boat. In addition, it covers your personal effects inside of your boat including recreational devices, cell phones, etc. It does not, however, cover personal watercrafts such as jet skis. There are separate policies for these.

Depending on the company you choose, there may be optional coverages you can add to your policy for a greater level of protection.

What are the best boat insurance companies?

When it comes to insurance, “best” is subjective, as different people will be looking for different things in an insurance company. However, the following companies are known to offer good coverage options and reasonable boat insurance rates:

  • Allstate
  • Progressive
  • Nationwide
  • Foremost
  • Markel

Though insurance rates will vary based on personal factors, Progressive is often the cheapest option for boat insurance, as its policies start at just $100/month.

If you’re looking specifically for yacht insurance, Consumer Reports recommends you check out Chubb Insurance, as this company specializes in yacht policies.

Keep in mind that you can usually get a multi-policy discount if you choose to buy your auto insurance policy and boat insurance policy from the same company.

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How do you get a boat insurance quote?

In many cases, especially if you’re going with a big national brand like Allstate or Progressive, you can get a boat insurance quote online by providing some basic personal information. Other insurers may require you to speak to an insurance agent over the phone for a personalized quote.

You may also wish to meet with an independent insurance agent in your area, as they can go over all of your options and help you find the right policy for your needs.

How do you save money on your boat insurance?

To save money on your boat insurance you need to:

  • Take a boating safety course
  • Maintain a good driving record
  • Maintain a good credit score
  • Store your boat in a boathouse or in locked storage when it isn’t in use to reduce the risk of theft and weather-related damage
  • Have your boat appraised by the insurance company before you get it insured

When your insurer appraises your vessel they can verify the presence of life jackets, life boats and other safety devices that can reduce your rates. This may be a requirement by your insurance company anyway.

Lastly, you are going to save money on your boat insurance if you take the time to shop around. Getting quotes from multiple companies is the best way to ensure that you get the lowest rates possible. You’ll also want to ask each company about any insurance discounts they offer.

In this day and age, there is no reason why you should take the time to do this. With quote tools like we offer here, you can get multiple quotes in just a few minutes time. What’s more, our quote tool doesn’t use your personal information to hassle you with phone calls and emails. We only collect the information necessary to give you an accurate quote.