If you own a boat, you probably think about skimming across the waves or spending long afternoons out on the water. Boat insurance is probably the furthest thing from your mind. But boats need insurance, too. Just like cars and homes, boats can be damaged or cause injury or damage to people or property.
Many states require a minimum amount of liability insurance on your boat. And if you have a boat loan, your lender probably requires you to carry insurance for the boat itself. Additionally, many marinas and yacht clubs won't allow you to dock your boat unless you're insured. Whether required or not, it's a good idea to protect your investment.
Homeowners insurance usually includes limited coverage, such as $1,000 for damage to your boat while stored at your home. Home insurance may also provide a small amount of personal liability coverage to protect against claims from accidents you cause with your boat. Jet skis and other personal watercraft are typically excluded from homeowners insurance coverage.
Most typical insurance companies insure most types of boats. These include small fishing boats, speedboats, sailboats, canoes and houseboats. You'll probably need to search for a company specializing in boat insurance if you have an unusual boat, such as:
Boat insurance policies often resemble auto insurance policies. Just like car insurance, policies vary between companies, but the main types of coverage are bodily injury/property damage liability coverage and physical damage coverage. Other optional coverages often include medical payments coverage and uninsured/underinsured boater coverage.
These options all have deductibles.
Because boats live on the water and have special needs, there are some specialized coverages you can add.
Many boat insurance discounts are similar to auto insurance discounts. Here are some specific to boats:
Boat insurance may not be required, but it's always a good idea. If you're lucky enough to have a boat, protecting it and your assets with boat insurance is a smart choice.
Looking for different information? Have questions or feedback? Please let us know.
Originally posted September 16, 2004.
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