If you’re in any kind of accident, have trouble on the water, or theft is involved, the consequences could be costly without the right coverage for your boat. Most states won’t require you to carry boat insurance, but some marinas will request proof of insurance before allowing you to launch your boat in the water. Your bank might, too, if you’re planning on financing through them.
Here’s what you should know about boat insurance coverage so you can hit the water with confidence this summer.
Does homeowners insurance cover my boat?
If all you have is a kayak, canoe, or other small, non-motorized boat, the answer is most likely yes. Larger boats—typically those that exceed $1,000–$2,000 in value—aren’t covered under a homeowners insurance policy, however. So if you have a speedboat, yacht, large sailboat, or motorized fishing boat, you should consider buying separate boat insurance.
Basic Boat Insurance Coverage
A typical boat insurance policy will usually include the following types of basic coverage. Keep in mind that these may differ slightly based on your carrier and specific needs.
- Liability insurance (bodily injury and property damage)
- Collision coverage (if you hit another boat or vehicle)
- Comprehensive coverage (for theft, vandalism, or damage due to fire or severe weather)
- Uninsured and underinsured boater coverage (protection in an accident if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, broken down into bodily injury and property damage insurance)
- Medical payments (for medical costs of anyone in the boat at the time of an accident)
Agreed Value vs. Actual Cash Value
Property insurance (split into collision and comprehensive) will cover physical damage or loss caused by events like fire, weather, colliding with another watercraft, or sinking as outlined in your policy. Something important to keep in mind while purchasing property insurance is whether you want coverage for your boat’s actual cash value or for its agreed value.
If your boat is damaged or destroyed and you have an actual cash value policy, your insurance carrier will reimburse you for the cost of your boat’s current market value, which factors in depreciation. If you have an agreed amount value policy, however, you’ll be reimbursed for the original value of your boat (as listed in your policy).
Extra Boating Insurance Options
The following types of coverage are optional. Work with your insurance agent to determine which extras you should add to your policy based on your unique needs. Keep in mind that certain insurance carriers will offer more comprehensive boat coverage than others, so consider shopping around to find the best deal and policy for you.
Mechanical breakdown insurance pays to repair or replace your outboard engine if it fails or malfunctions. Depending on your insurance carrier, wear and tear and defects may or may not be covered.
If your policy includes on-water towing service, your insurance company will send out a tow boat to help if you get stranded somewhere.
Personal effects coverage will help you repair/replace personal property that is damaged or lost, either onboard or while being transported to or from your boat.
If you have any problems on the road while transporting your watercraft, roadside assistance can cover things like towing your boat trailer or vehicle and labor costs.
Some carriers offer to reduce the deductible amount for your comprehensive and collision claims with something called “disappearing deductibles.” For every consecutive claims-free year you have, your original deductible will be reduced by a specified amount. If you end up filing a claim, your deductible will return to its original amount.
Other Optional Add-Ons
- Water sports coverage
- Fishing equipment and carry-on items
- Salvage coverage and wreck removal
- Trailer trip interruption
- Ice and freezing damage
Get a Boat Insurance Quote
Your boat and belongings should be adequately covered before you hit the lake this season. You can compare policies and prices across different carriers by requesting free quotes online. We’d love to gather some options for you and then let you decide which one—if any—is right for you. We work with some of the best carriers for boat insurance available, like Progressive, Travelers, Foremost, and Nationwide. Reach out to us any time, and we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions!