There are few things in life more exciting than buying that boat you’ve dreamed of owning for years – perhaps even decades. Buying the right boat and marine insurance coverage will help you protect that investment you’ve made in your own personal happiness and take some of the worry out of owning a boat. Before you buy though, there are five things you need to know about boat and marine insurance coverage so that you can get the right coverage for your needs.
Why is Boat and Marine Insurance Necessary?
Boat ownership, while a privilege, is still a responsibility. Boat insurance not only helps to protect your investment in the boat should covered events occur, but it also helps to protect your other assets if you are found to be at fault in an accident that causes injuries, takes lives, or damages the property of others (including docks, other boats, boat launches, etc.).
What is Covered by Boat and Marine Insurance?
The specifics of boat and marine insurance coverage will vary from one company to the next. There are some coverage types that are fairly universal. Standard coverage may include some or all of the coverage types listed below.
– Collision Coverage
– Comprehensive Coverage
– Uninsured or Underinsured Boater Coverage
– Medical Payments
– Water Towing
– Fishing Equipment Coverage
– Personal Effects Coverage
– Roadside Assistance
Because policies vary so greatly, it’s important to understand exactly what’s included in a standard policy so that you can make apples to apples comparisons when shopping around.
Available Optional Coverages
If any of the coverage types mentioned above aren’t available for your boat, it’s a good idea to consider them as endorsements or additional coverage options in addition to some or all of the options listed below.
– Emergency Services Coverage
– Boat Trailer Coverage
– Repair Cost Endorsement Coverage
– Fuel Spillage and Wreckage Removal Coverage
While prevention is the best cure and safety on the water needs to be a lifestyle decision, it’s good to have the peace of mind that goes along with adequate insurance coverage when things do go wrong on the water.
The Agreed Upon Value
The agreed upon value of your boat takes into account any permanently attached equipment, such as depth finders, ship-to-shore radios, GPS systems, fish fingers, etc. and uses local resources like dealerships in addition to ABOS Blue Book or bills of sale (for boats less than two years old) to determine the value of the boat when claims are made. This amount is determined when you take out your policy. Don’t forget to calculate depreciation and deductibles, if applicable, when comparing insurance quotes as these often vary greatly from one insurance provider to the next.
How to Save Money on Boat and Marine Insurance
Chances are you spent a good deal of money on your boat. You’ve either saved for years to buy the boat of your dreams or you’ve taken out loans that will require monthly payments over the course of several years. It’s understandable that you don’t want to spend more money than is necessary on boat and marine insurance coverage.
Rather than cut corners by going to a cut-rate insurance provider or purchasing less insurance than is recommended for your boat it is better to take advantage of money saving options that still provide complete coverage for your boat. These are a few ways you can save big on your insurance costs.
– Take a boater safety course.
– Insure multiple boats or watercraft.
– Bundle home, auto, and watercraft policies.
The best protection for your boat is to practice safe boating at all times – on and off the water. Practice routine boat maintenance, use Coast Guard approved life jackets that are properly fit for each passenger, don’t operate a boat while intoxicated or impaired, make sure all passengers know how to swim, and pay attention to the weather. Those are all actions you can take to prevent boating disasters. Getting the right insurance policy for your boat covers the accidents you can’t really plan for.