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

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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If someone borrows my boat are they covered under my boat insurance policy?

Although the various states have differing regulations regarding boat insurance, the way policies are structured is pretty standard around the country.

In the case of friends or extended family members, they will not be covered under a standard policy if they borrow your boat. The exception to this is an immediate family member who resides with you; a spouse or child, in other words.

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Boat insurance is similar to auto insurance in many respects, but it also differs drastically in others due to the nature of maritime law and the wide range of different boats on the water. Seasoned boaters know that an insurance underwriter with extensive experience in the industry is their best bet for boat insurance. Read on to learn what boat insurance covers, and which coverage options you need to put in place.

Standard Liability Coverage for a Boat Insurance Policy

Should a boat owner decide to carry insurance on his craft, he will begin with a basic liability policy. Such policies can range in coverage from $100,000 to $1,000,000. They generally will cover physical damage to your boat, passengers, and certain personal items brought on board, as well as damage caused to another boat, dock, pier, etc… A minimum liability policy is always a good idea even if it’s not required by law.

In addition to the previously mentioned coverage, liability policies can also cover damage caused to your boat and personal property in the case of theft, fire, or adverse weather. Such inclusions will raise the price of your premium, depending on the value of the boat.

What standard liability coverage does not include is damage or personal injury caused by someone you might lend your vessel to. If you loan your boat to a friend for a day of fishing, you are assuming the risk of any accident he might have. If such an accident occurs, you could be held liable in court.

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Umbrella Coverage for Boat Insurance Policies

The best way to insure anyone who might borrow your boat is through an umbrella policy. As the name suggests, an umbrella policy is extra coverage which fills in the gaps left by other policies. One of the nice things about umbrella coverage is that it doesn’t have to be confined just to your boat.

For example, many people don’t know that their auto insurance policies are structured the same way as a boat policy when it comes to friends borrowing their cars. It is common for today’s auto policies to not cover any non-family member borrowing your vehicle, and to only cover family members if they are using your car to do something for you.

An umbrella policy can insure both the boat and the car from liability incurred by friends or family who are borrowing the vehicles. The policy can be written to also include ATVs, recreational vehicles, and boat trailers. Many people who own multiple vehicles carry such umbrella insurance.

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Umbrella Insurance Cost for Boat Insurance

Like all insurance products, umbrella costs have increased over the years. But compared to some other types of added insurance and the overall costs of boat insurance, umbrella coverage is substantially less expensive. In some states, insurers don’t even begin the discussion of umbrella insurance for amounts any less than $5 million. Policies can go as high as $500 million for customers with an extremely high asset value.

Assuming the minimum of $5 million, you could expect to pay, on average, about 8% more than your current liability coverage. So if your current policy covering two cars, a boat, and an ATV runs $5,000 annually, adding $5 million worth of umbrella coverage would add another $400 to your premium. Obviously, the higher the coverage limits, the greater the cost.

Two factors to consider when covering your boat with an umbrella policy are the:

  • Number of things you are insuring
  • Claim risk you pose to the policy underwriter

Where the former is concerned, the more policies you carry with the same insurer, the better your umbrella rate is likely to be. Consider carrying your home owners, auto, and boat policies with the same company. That way, an umbrella policy will cover all three at reduced premium.

As for the latter, the risk you pose to the insurance company is one of the biggest factors in determining umbrella coverage. Your driving record, credit history, and past claims history all tell the insurance company how careful, or careless, you may be. If you pose a greater risk, expect your premium to be higher.

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