4 Things You Should Know About Boat Insurance

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

So you just picked up your new boat and you’re anxious to hit the water and feel the fresh air on your skin as you navigate many of the lakes and streams the world has to offer. Before you take your boat out on the water, you need to be sure you are properly protected if the unthinkable happens. Boat insurance is one of the best ways to make sure you are covered in the event of an accident when you are out on the water.

1. Why get boat insurance?

Many new boaters believe that a homeowners policy will cover their boat as well. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. You want to be sure your new investment remains safe if something happens, and you also want to make sure your financial assets are protected in case there is an accident and you are at fault. To do this, you must purchase an insurance policy on your new boat.

On average, the prices for boat insurance range from a few hundred dollars to over $1,000, depending on the type of boat and your personal history. Prices on your boat insurance can depend on a number of factors including:

  • Type of Boat
  • Size of Boat
  • Size of the Engine of the Boat
  • Expected Use of the Boat
  • Your Personal Profile

It is important to remember that regardless of the cost, boat insurance is simply a must. If you plan on buying a boat, and you need to factor in the cost of insurance each year to the total cost of ownership.

2. How boat insurance differs from home and auto insurance

Boat insurance is, in many ways, a mix of both home and auto insurance. Like home insurance, your boat insurance policy will cover you if someone is injured on your watercraft, and it will even give you a choice between the replacement cost or cash value if your boat is a total loss.

Boat insurance also functions much like an auto insurance policy. It covers you in the event that property is damaged in a boating accident, and it will also cover you in the event that someone is injured during the accident.

 3. Boat coverage area

Some boat owners are often surprised to find that their boat isn’t covered everywhere, although many will find that the coverage area is still pretty broad. Most boat policies contain what is known as a navigational warranty. This warranty usually covers most of the inland waters of the United States and Canada as well as the coastal waters. Many don’t necessarily cover you once you reach international waters, however, unless you specifically request that coverage, which will then cause your rates to go up.

Some boat owners also wonder if their boat is covered when it is not in the water. While your boat is, indeed, covered, it is not by your boat insurance policy. While your boat is attached to your car or truck, the boat becomes covered by your automobile insurance policy. When your boat is parked at your home, your homeowners policy should cover your boat at least in a limited fashion.

4. How to save money on boat insurance

With all of the costs of a boat adding up, you are more than likely looking for ways to save money on your boat insurance. Luckily, there are several things you can do to help you save a little bit on your premiums each year.

  • Take a boating class – Much like a motorcycle safety class, you can take a boating class that teaches you everything you need to know about boats and boating safety. Insurance companies often discount rates to customers who take the time to learn exactly how to operate their new watercrafts safely.
  • Be specific – Insurance companies may try to up sell you on your coverage by offering more than you really need or offering you coverage for way more boat that you actually own. If you own a small fishing boat, don’t invest in insurance for a yacht. The insurance companies have a wide range of policies covering many different kinds of boats.
  • Invest in safety features – Insurance companies often extend their discounts to boat owners who invest in all the safety equipment they need to protect their investment. For example, a wireless tether can act as a kill switch if everyone falls overboard, preventing the boat from driving off into the sunset while you tread water.
  • Extend the lay-up period – For new boat owners, the lay-up period is that period of time when you will not be using your boat, such as the middle of winter. If you extend this time with your insurance company, you can receive a small discount during the months that your boat is not in use.

While having boat insurance isn’t required by law, it is still one of the best ways to be sure you protect both your new investment as well as yourself in the event that something happens while you are using it. Remember, choose the policy that best fits your boating habits and the type of boat you have, and you can save money on your insurance premiums while also gaining the peace of mind that your new boat will be safe when you are out on the water.

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