It’s a beautiful summer’s day. Sunshine is sparkling on the water, the boat’s bobbing alongside the dock, the kids are all aboard, the engine is purring. You make sure you have everything you need: life vests, a working radio, compass, charts, snacks and drinks, sunscreen, insurance… Insurance?
A boat is one of the things that will NOT be covered by your home insurance. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be insured, in fact, quite the opposite. You are not always legally required to carry insurance, and the law does vary from state to state, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. The cost of insurance will vary depending on the value, size, and age of your boat, how and where you use it, and what level of coverage you’re looking for.
In general, boat insurance will include:
If your boat is damaged as a result of an accident, coverage will include repair or replacement. Wreckage clean-up expenses will probably not be included but additional coverage can be purchased.
Property Damage Liability
If you and your boat cause damage to someone else’s property, property damage liability insurance, will protect you from having to pay out for their expenses—your boat may only be worth a few hundred, but you could do damage amounting to several thousand.
Bodily Injury Liability
If someone on board your boat is hurt, or if your boat causes injury to someone else, this insurance will cover the medical expenses, legal expenses, loss of earnings as a result of the injury, and more.
If your boat is stolen, vandalized, breaks its moorings, damaged in any way not involving a collision, comprehensive coverage will protect you.
As with all insurance, take time to read the policy—you may be covered for theft of the boat but not necessarily for items on board; you may be covered when launching or recovering but not when trailering over the road; you may be covered if you damage someone else’s property but not if an uninsured person damages yours. And remember, shop around or talk to an agent—not all policies are created equal!