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Cold Weather Care For Boats and Insurance

October 15, 2018
Weather , Homeowners ,
boat insurance coverage when storing boats for the winter

With winter just around the corner it’s time to think about wrapping boats up for the season. It’s never a happy job but, if done right, it makes getting back out in the spring all the more sweet!

Some things to think about:

Your boat will be better protected if it’s well-covered. That may mean shrink-wrapping it or finding an inside storage place. Even if your boat is inside, you’ll still want to cover it to keep out unwanted visitors such as mice, squirrels, and raccoons.

Inside or out, it’s always a good idea to take off any soft furnishings—cushions, drapes, bed linens—and if you have sails, now’s the time to take them to a sail loft to have them cleaned, checked for wear and tear, and stored for the winter.

If your boat has an engine you should get it winterized. A professional mechanic can do this for you, but if you want to do it yourself, don’t forget to refer to the owner’s manual. If the engine’s an outboard, store it upright so that water can’t collect where it’s not wanted.

Drain the fuel tank so you’ll be starting with fresh fuel next season. If that’s not an option, be sure to add some stabilizer to the tank. Nothing spoils the beginning of summer like a boat engine that won’t run because of bad fuel!

And, of course, don’t forget the insurance. Your small boat may be covered by your homeowners’ insurance policy for liability only but if your engine is bigger than 50hp (25hp if it’s an outboard) or your boat is longer than 20ft then you almost certainly need separate boat insurance.

Even if you’re overwintering at a storage facility that offers insurance as part of its fee, their policy may not give you the full protection you need.

As we all know, accidents can happen and where boats are involved those accidents can be expensive. So, as you’re thinking through the practicalities of winter storage, take time to talk to your insurance agent or broker and make sure your boat’s fully covered.