How do I insure a boat?

By Insurance.com Posted : 01/01/2011

A renters or home insurance policy typically provides a limited amount of coverage for small boats, such as canoes or low-power motor boats. Usually the coverage is restricted to about $1,000 or 10 percent of a home's value, according to the Insurance Information Institute. You may be able to add liability protection by purchasing an endorsement on your home or renters insurance policy.

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Talk to your insurer about how much coverage your current policy offers. For a large boat, such as a speed boat or yacht, you'll need to buy a separate boat insurance policy. Most insurers sell coverage for boats. However, you might need a company that specializes in boat insurance if you have an unusual or exotic craft, such as a houseboat used as a main residence or a speed boat capable of going more than 75 miles per hour.

Boat insurance: Similar to car insurance

Similar to car insurance, boat insurance features several types of coverage. Property damage and bodily injury liability pay for damage and injuries other people suffer as a result of an accident you cause. Uninsured/underinsured boaters coverage pays for injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering you and your passengers suffer when an uninsured or underinsured boater causes an accident.

Medical payments coverage pays for medical or funeral expenses for you and your passengers. Physical damage coverage pays for repairs or replacement of your boat. For physical damage coverage, you can choose one of the following:

  • Total replacement. Pays to replace your boat with a brand new, comparable watercraft.
  • Agreed value. Pays the amount listed on the policy.
  • Actual cash value. Pays the current market value of your boat if it's destroyed.

You can also buy specialized coverage, including insurance to cover fishing supplies, personal belongings on the boat, towing assistance, and fuel spill and accident cleanup.

Ask about discounts. Typically, you can get a lower premium by installing a fire suppression system; using diesel fuel, which isn't as flammable as gasoline; and installing a depth-finder and other safety devices.

For more, see "Boat insurance: What is it?"


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