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It’s an exciting day when you make a new watercraft purchase and, while you may be dreaming of sailing the open seas, racing in next weekend’s regatta or bass fishing with your buddies, what you really need to think about is obtaining proper insurance to protect your new investment from an unexpected mishap.
Boat Insurance TipsMany people ignore buying boat insurance but, let’s face it, accidents do happen and you need to protect yourself, other people and your vessel. A good policy will protect you and your equipment from damage caused by collisions, vandalism or accidents and will, at the same time, fit into your budget.
What to Consider Before You Shop

Before visiting your insurance agent or calling several places for quotes, you should consider what types of insurance coverage you need. First, how will you use your boat? Whether you own a catamaran or powerboat for weekend pleasure or you run a charter fishing boat for a living will have a great impact in determining the kind of insurance coverage you need. The type, age and condition of your boat are all factors. Newer, larger and more expensive vessels cost more to insure. Older boats with depreciated values will result in lower premiums. Consider what type of equipment you have on your boat and what type of coverage you need for it. You may also want to insure your vessel’s trailer. If your watercraft is up to 26 feet long, it can be insured as a “boat,” but if it is over 26 feet long it is classified as a “yacht” and requires coverage under a different type of plan.

Liability or Full

Your agent can help to explain the differences in coverage. Basically, boat insurance is much like car insurance. You can get a liability policy which covers damage to another boat and bodily injury or death to a third party as a result of negligence. Boat liability covers damages that are done by the boat and personal liability covers damages which are deemed the fault of the owner. Liability policies only cover damages to another party. The boat owner must pay for the cost of damages to his own vessel.

Full coverage policies cover all damage regardless of who is at fault including damage to the structure of boat, the engine, loss or damaged personal property, and may include towing costs or salvage and wreck removal. Full coverage protects the owner and vessel even if the entire boat is destroyed.

Cost Savings

Similar to car insurance, boaters with a good driving record will merit lower premium prices than someone with accidents. Boaters with accidents on their records, especially if there were drugs or alcohol involved, can expect skyrocketing premiums.

Safety equipment onboard the vessel will also help to decrease premiums. Owners should have fire extinguishers, personal flotation devices for each person onboard and visual distress signals should be stowed appropriately. Other safety equipment such as visual distress signal, sound producing device, backfire flame control and proper ventilation may also factor into premium costs.


Many insurance companies encourage safe boating practices by rewarding boat owners who complete Boating Safety Courses with discounts on premiums. Qualified volunteer organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron and many state boating agencies sponsor classes throughout the country. Online courses are also available, and various other sites.

Begin your search for the best boating policy with your current insurance company as most insurance companies offer multiple policies discounts to existing car insurance and homeowner’s insurance customers.

Then, you can sit back and relax, imagine the wind blowing through your hair and the water spraying your face because you have your boat and your loved ones protected.

By Matt Reynolds - Google+
Posted 12:25 PM

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