Will boat insurance protect against a blown engine? Do I need boat insurance to operate a boat?
These are questions every boat owner should ask themselves. Exploring the various coverage options of a boat insurance policy will make it easier for you to gain a level of protection from injuries, collision, and so much more.
It's critical to know whether you need boat insurance and what kind of coverage it is going to provide.
What Is Boat Insurance?
Boat insurance covers damage to your boat, motor, trailer, and personal items in the boat. It protects the boat owner against liability lawsuits and medical payments. Boat insurance protects most watercrafts with engines including small fishing boats, powerboats, houseboats, yachts, and pontoons.
It's important to note that your boat is not covered by homeowners insurance.
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
The boat insurance coverage includes:
- Collision damage
- Property damage liability
- Bodily injury liability
- Comprehensive coverage
- Additional coverage options
Boat insurance provides a significant amount of protection and each form of coverage adds protection in certain scenarios.
Let's dive in!
1. Collision Damage
If there is damage as a result of an accident, this coverage will include the repair or replacement of your boat. There are often exclusions that you need to read carefully. For example, the clean-up of wreckage is not included unless you buy additional coverage.
Also, if your engine blows because of a collision or a manufacturer's defect, it is covered by boat insurance. If your engine blows because of normal wear and tear, you would not be covered in your boat insurance policy.
2. Property Damage Liability
When you're on your boat and you lose control, or there is a problem on the water, you might cause damage to a dock at the marina, someone else's boat, or various other pieces of property. Property damage liability is what will protect you from having to pay for the repairs on your own.
3. Bodily Injury Liability
When you are using your boat, there is the possibility that one or more people might get injured, including passengers on your boat as well as people from another boat or if your boat is pet-friendly, possible dog bites. The liability coverage would cover hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering as well as various legal expenses.
4. Comprehensive Coverage
Comprehensive coverage is for non-collision related incidents. If your boat is stolen, vandalized, or damaged in an incident that isn't a collision, boat insurance will cover the costs. Policies can vary on the coverage for theft of the boat itself, but not necessarily the personal possessions that you have on board. It's a good idea to review the policy and determine what isn't included. You can then choose to get various “riders” for the areas where you aren't otherwise covered.
5. Additional Coverage Options
There are all sorts of add-on coverage that you can include on a boat insurance policy.
Add-on boat insurance cover options include:
- Roadside assistance
- Personal property protection
- Fishing equipment
- Medical payments
- Oil spills
- Damage to a dry dock
- Uninsured coverage
You should protect yourself against any scenario that you could potentially come across. If you sustain injuries from another boater or they damage your boat, you should have coverage if they are uninsured.
It's important to read through a policy and determine where you need added protection. Every policy and insurance carrier is different. Ask your insurance agent about your coverage options so you can plan for future expenditures.
Do You Need Insurance on a Boat?
Many boat owners question whether or not they need insurance on a boat.
Before you hit the water, the best thing to do is check what is required by your state. Some marinas require you have liability coverage if docking your boat. For example, King Harbor Marina needs insurance before tooling around Redondo Beach.
If you have a loan on the boat, the lender might also dictate that you have liability and comprehensive coverage. This would protect their financial investment in the boat until you have paid for it in full.
Unfortunately, many New Jersey boat owners had to learn the hard way about after Hurricane Sandy. New Jersey is one of the many states that do not require boat insurance. When Hurricane Sandy hit, it destroyed over 25,000 boats, and boat owners were left to pay over $200 million in repairs!
How Much Does it Cost to Insure a Boat?
Boat insurance varies based on different factors, but the average rates to insurance a boat are around 1.5% of the boat's insured value.
For example, if your boat is worth $25,000, your boat insurance will cost around $375. Insurance companies will look at the state you live in, the age and size of your boat, how your boat is powered, and where you plan on using your boat. Boat insurance for a sailboat used on inland waters will be much different than insuring a large motorboat on the open seas.
The coverage options within your policy will also impact the total cost of insurance premiums. As a reference to range, boat insurance could cost anywhere between $75 and $1,000 a year.
There's certainly no harm in comparing boat insurance quotes from multiple carriers to make sure you have the protection that you need.
Why You Need Boat Insurance Coverage
Even though not all states require boat insurance, it's still important to have. A policy provides financial protection if you are involved in an accident with another boat and if a passenger is injured.
It's going to be a better option to call and file a claim with the insurance company than to have to pay for repairs and other things out-of-pocket. When you know more about a policy and how to get the necessary coverage, you'll have better protection for your boat.
Ultimately, finding boat insurance that suits your specific financial and coverage needs is critical to enjoying your time on the water. So take your time gathering and considering your coverage options...your wallet AND your boat will thank you for it.