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 31, 2021

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What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

Boat insurance primarily covers property damage and liability damage, though every policy is different. The specific policy coverages you opt to purchase are completely up to you, unless you have a lien on your boat.

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You can buy boat insurance for bodily injury, property damage, replacement cost, weather damage, physical damage, or even actual cash value. Knowing what you need your boat insurance to cover is really the first step.

What Are the Most Important Coverages for Boats?

There are four main basic insurance types for boat insurance:

  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage liability
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive

In the insurance world all liability coverage pays for damage that you cause or are considered responsible for causing.

Bodily injury liability is basically an insurance policy that covers hospital stays or other medical costs for someone that gets injured on your boat or by your boat. When you are manning the helm and assuming responsibility for everyone around you, it’s better to be safe than sorry. As with auto insurance, coverage is designed to help you pay for an accident you cause without bankrupting your assets.

Having insurance that will cover someone’s medical bills or wages while they are out of work can certainly save you big courtroom headaches. Even such minor add-ons to a lawsuit like “pain and suffering” and the price of a defense attorney can be huge. Thankfully, even these fees might be covered by a boat insurance policy.

Property damage liability is a very important type of coverage, especially for new boaters. Here are some reasons:

  • Forgetting to untie from the dock and ripping a good chuck out of the dock is a common beginner’s mistake. (It’s pricey too!)
  • Bumping into other boats in crowded areas or even damaging other structures while out and about on the water.
  • Cleanup of any wreckage or damage after an accident, including any oil spilt from your boat or another boat you struck.

You will need comprehensive and collision coverage options to repair your own vessel. Unlike liability, these optional coverages are what pay for damage to your boat, not the other party’s. If you are still paying on a loan for your boat then your lender will require these types of coverage.

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Weather Damage and Comprehensive Boat Insurance Coverage

You will need comprehensive boat insurance to protect your vessel against weather related damages. Most boat insurance policies even cover weather related damage, such as hail or lighting, or even an onboard fire. Some types of comprehensive physical damage insurance will also cover you in cases of theft. Even if someone vandalizes your pride and joy, you can rest assured knowing your boat will be covered by the insurance policy and will be restored to its full glory.

If you store your boat on land and have to transport it across some distance, you may also want to make sure that your boat is covered during this land transport time. Most companies will be happy to add on a boat trailer coverage quote. Physical damages are usually paid out in three ways:

  • Actual market value
  • Agreed upon value (which will be agreed upon before you sign the contract)
  • Part replacement cost

Optional Coverages That Still Save You Money

There are other optional types of coverage you can purchase. The problem of the “underinsured motorist” is unfortunately not exclusive to car owners. There are underinsured/uninsured boaters too, and they are a royal, nautical pain in the hull. Here are some of the other optional boat insurance coverage types you can select:

  • Uninsured Boater- You can purchase uninsured/underinsured coverage and rest assured that even if someone bumps into you and can’t pay for the damages, you still won’t suffer for it.
  • Fishing Equipment- Another option is insuring your fishing equipment. All of those expensive little gadgets can really add up in terms of cost, and it would be quite the heartbreak if they were lost at sea or destroyed with no way to recover them.
  • Miscellaneous- You can also insure other miscellaneous items onboard such as a television, a cell phone or any other niceties you can’t sail without.
  • Funeral Coverage- Last but not least, there is funeral coverage.

The best thing to do if you are interested in boat insurance is to get an online quote. You can do this by contacting an insurance agent over the phone or going online and comparing coverage. Always be sure that you know exactly what is and is not covered.  Read all the details of the contract, including inclusions and exclusions, until you understand your entire policy.

Why not insure your beloved boat and show proper respect for your neighbor’s craft as well? Use a web chaser tool right now to get started comparing boat insurance quotes today!