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 Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Boat insurance is not required in most states. However, it may be required if you dock your boat or have a lien on it. Plus, it is to your benefit to have boat insurance.

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Now that you are a boat owner it is important to know how to protect yourself as well as your new investment. Many water lovers spend a lot of time at sea and on other waterways. With that in mind, the likelihood of having an accident or running into inclement weather is increased.

Even when your boat is docked, the chances of damage to large and small vessels alike are possible. Although the laws regarding boat insurance vary from state to state, the owner is responsible for damages and accidents on the water.

How much boat insurance is necessary?

Like most insurance policies, boat insurance minimums vary from state to state. Although states may not mandate coverage, they do recommend minimum liability coverage. In Virginia for instance, there is a 25/50/20 liability coverage suggested.

The liability numbers work just like they do for auto insurance. The first number is intended for bodily injury to one person whereas the second number is the maximum payable to all injured parties in each accident occurrence. The last number represents the amount payable for damage to other’s property whether it is another vessel, watercraft or dock. It is advisable to purchase more than the minimum recommendation in the event an accident occurs while in another jurisdiction or as the value of your vessel increases.

There are other coverage types boat owners should consider seriously. Comprehensive coverage is for damage caused by:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Acts of nature
  • Falling Objects
  • Damage not covered by other policies

There are instances when damage is not covered by other’s policies. Comprehensive insurance comes in handy in these instances. It also covers some of the interior and mechanical components that breakdown or become damaged.

Collision coverage protects the policy holder when an accident occurs with another boat. This particular coverage takes care of body work and replacement parts for collisions that occur on the water, or on the road should the boat become detached from the hitch. If the boat is totaled this is the coverage necessary for replacement.

Uninsured motorist coverage is also available for boat owners. If another boater does damage to your vessel, doesn’t have insurance or the means to pay, this will protect your assets.

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May I combine boat and auto insurance?

Umbrella policies are very popular and a great way to save money. Because a boat has some of the same features as a home and a motor vehicle, some of the same types of coverage apply. Therefore, it is very possible to combine boaters insurance with home owners insurance and auto insurance. Multi-line discounts are often offered when you do this.

Just like any other type of insurance, policies may be purchased online. Comparisons may also be made. The inquirer just has to answer a few short questions starting with the owner’s zip code. More detailed questions will be asked as the owner decides where to purchase the policy. Some of the same carriers who offer home and auto policies offer boater’s policies.

May I switch carriers before the policy expires?

If you later determine that the current policy does not suit your needs it is not necessary to wait until the policy expires before switching carriers. Before switching however, ask if there may be some modifications made to better suit your needs. It is best to determine what your needs are before purchasing a policy anyway. There may be unnecessary riders on the policy that will ultimately save you money if waived.

The prorated amount of the current policy that has not been used will be refunded. The new carrier will require a down payment. So the amount refunded may serve as the down payment for the new coverage.

Can I get a lower rate on a boat insurance policy?

Many people believe they have to accept the deductible quoted to them when they establish a policy. There are many simple ways to lower your boat insurance premiums:

  • Increasing the deductible will save on premiums. In the case of a claim, the deductible will have to be paid first before indemnity kicks in.
  • Club memberships also save money.
  • It pays to have a good driving record and safety features on your vessel as well.
  • As an incentive to go to certain websites carriers may offer discounts to those who inquire about rates and ultimately initiate a policy online.

To obtain additional information about online quotes and comparisons click on the search tool to be directed to a site with more information on boat insurance. By typing your zip code into the free rate tool you can compare boat insurance quotes now!