Your boat is likely one of your most prized possessions. It did not come cheap, the maintenance is not easy, but it provides some of the best leisure times that you and your family enjoy together. It is important to find the right boat insurance that will come to the rescue in case of the unexpected. Use the guide below to help you understand what coverage is best.
Types of Boat Insurance
Different insurance companies cover boats and personal watercrafts differently. However, a good way to look at the different categories of coverage can be broken down into the type of watercraft that you own, which is categorized by where the engine is on boats. Which does yours fit into?
Inboard An inboard boat has the engine mounted in the middle of the boat and will use a separate rudder to enable the boat to steer. These types of motors are popular with water skiers as they produce a smaller wake.
Outboard This is a watercraft propelled by one or more outboard motors. They are popular among boaters and are often the default choice for both fishing and recreational and light commercial inshore boats. This could include canoes, rowboats, houseboats or pontoon boats.
Inboard/outboard The inboard/outboard (I/O) type is in the same general area as the outboard, though it’s usually tucked under a swim platform. This hybrid model is usually mounted at mid ship that drives a propeller shaft that passes through the bottom of the hull.
Sailboat Any watercraft that is propelled primarily by wind. Sailboats with or without any form of power are included in this category.
Personal Watercraft A personal watercraft, or PWC, is a recreational watercraft that the rider sits or stands on, rather than inside of, as in a boat. This includes jet skis and wave runners.
How much does it cost to insure a boat?
To determine how much your boat insurance will cost, most companies take these factors into consideration.
- Age of Boat
- Primary residence
- Type (Inboard, Outboard, Inboard/Outboard, Sail, PWC)
- Ownership (more than 2 owners
- Where it will operate (Ocean, lakes, bays, rivers, Great Lakes)
What does boat insurance cover?
Boat insurance coverage is primarily used as liability coverage for equipment and passengers within the boat. This means that you can be covered if you're at fault for an accident, you hurt someone or damage someone's property. You may also use boat insurance to cover any physical damage in or on your boat. Boat insurance generally covers:
- Damage or destruction from a collision, fire, lightning, theft and vandalism
- Damage to a boat and permanently attached equipment, such as anchors
- Bodily injury liability, which pays expenses when someone is injured on your boat
- Property damage liability, which pays for damage your boat causes to someone else’s
Boat insurance does not generally cover:
- Normal wear and tear
- Defective machinery or machinery damage
- Damage from fish, sharks and other creatures
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Boats?
You might be thinking, doesn’t my homeowner’s policy cover my boat? In many cases, you’re right! There is physical damage coverage for your boat included in your homeowner’s policy when your boat is being stored on your home property. These policies typically cap boat coverage at $1,000 or 10% of your home’s insured value. Once your boat is off your property, though, other insurance is needed to step in. The liability coverage, described above as part of boat insurance, typically isn’t included under home insurance. Make sure to check with your local agent to ensure your boat is covered no matter where you are.
When Boat Insurance Isn’t Enough
For you to be covered by boat insurance, the watercraft must be solely used for personal pleasure. Insurance companies generally don’t provide boat coverage for commercial use, racing, or watercrafts that carry passengers for hire. In that case, you may want to look into commercial boat insurance coverage.
Additionally, if the watercraft is too long or has too much horsepower, it may not be insured with boat coverage. For example, if a boat is more than 30 feet in length and requires a crew, or exceeds more than $100,000 in market value, that may require you to look into over forms of coverage. Ask your local agent – they will know just how what type of coverage your boat needs.
If you’re calling for a quote, bring these things…
If you’ve read through this guide and are ready to get a quote, make sure to have this information handy once you’re in contact with your agent so that your premium quote will best represent your boat.
Current Market Value (Stated Amount)
Still have questions? Contact your local Farm Bureau agent who can explain boat insurance for you personally. Once you’re insured, make sure you use this checklist to get your boat ready for the next season.