Smooth Sailing: Boat Insurance 101

Spring has sprung and there is no better time to take the boat out on the water, but before you set sail, it might be time to check your boat insurance policy to keep you afloat in case of an accident. Here’s what you need to know about boat insurance now, to enjoy smooth sailing this spring and summer.

Do I Need Boat Insurance?

If you own a boat, the answer is most likely a yes. While your homeowner’s policy will often have enough coverage to protect a simple craft, with a small engine or no engine at all, a boat with any significant value will require its own specific policy to ensure it is protected. Some states even require boat owners to carry liability insurance, so it is important to know what kind of coverage you will need before you hit the water.

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

While policy types are as varied as the boats themselves, there are several areas that your typical boat insurance policy will include:

Property Coverage:

This type of coverage will help to protect your boat from damage caused by an accident. This would help repair any damages to your vessel if you should hit a hazard, such as a rock or if you run aground.

There are 2 types of Property coverage to be aware of:
o Actual Cash Value – This takes into account depreciation of the vessel and the condition of the boat at the time of loss. Although this policy provides less coverage, the premium is usually reduced.

o Agreed Value – Reimburses the insured for the agreed upon amount listed on the policy in the event the vessel is a total loss.

Liability Coverage:

Liability coverage will help pay for expenses should you be responsible for an accident that damages someone else’s boat or property, such as hitting and damaging a dock. This coverage will also protect you should you hurt a person who is not on your boat.

Medical Coverage:

Similar to liability coverage, this type of coverage would help with the costs of medical expenses sustained to you and your passengers in the result of an accident.

Uninsured Watercraft Coverage:

This policy would help to pay for any medical expenses you or your passengers would need if you are hit by an uninsured/underinsured boater.

While a typical boat insurance policy will help to protect your boat from damages caused in an accident, it is important to speak with your insurance agent about the specifics of your policy. For example, will your auto policy cover your boat while you are trailering it? Would coverage extend while your boat is being stored? Is there a period of time that your coverage is not in effect (referred to as a “layup” period”)? These are all questions you will want to clarify with your agent. The price of your boat insurance will depend on a number of factors, such as length, age, value, engine size, use, and the deductible you choose, so it is important to get the coverage that will fit your boat correctly.

Knowing you have the right insurance will ensure you enjoy smooth sailing during the spring and all summer long. Call us at 724-929-2300 to speak with our insurance specialists and get a tailored policy to fit you then set sail with peace of mind.

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