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Boat Insurance: What is it? 

Boat insurance can help relieve stress concerning property and liability related risks to your boat, yacht, or personal watercraft.  Sure, you operate your Sea Ray like a seasoned sailor, but did that 17 year old in the Bayliner take his required boating safety course? Many boat related risks are not covered by home and auto insurance policies, as some believe. Continue reading to find out more about boat insurance coverage, minimum boat insurance requirements, and how to score boat insurance discounts.


Policies and Coverage Options for Boats and Yachts

Boat insurance will offer financial protection for your boat or yacht better than any auto or home insurance policy.  Your auto policy may include trailer coverage, but what happens when you are in the water? Home insurance can protect a small, often motor-less, boat while it is on your property. If you plan on taking your boat out, then it is very prudent to consider a boat insurance policy. Insurance for your boat or yacht may include any of the following coverages.

  • Bodily Injury Coverage
         (Injury or death of the other boater)
  • Property Damage Coverage
         (Damage to other’s property by your boat)
  • Collision Coverage
         (Accidents: Damage to boat)
  • Medical Payments
         (Medical expenses for you and other occupants)
  • Personal Property
         (Cell phones, cameras, etc.)
  • Comprehensive Coverage
         (Theft, Fire, Other Non- Accident Events)
  • Uninsured Watercraft
         (Protection from uninsured boater’s)
  • Towing and Assistance
         (On-water towing, etc.)
  • Trailer coverage
         (Coverage for moving your boat by trailer)


What Boat Insurance Is Not

Watercraft Insurance typically does not include commercial coverage. It is not designed for use in businesses. If you use your watercraft in a commercial setting, consider Ocean Marine Insurance or an appropriate specialty product.

A Boat Insurance package, generally, does not include coverage for wear and tear, when it is rented to others, or entered in speed contests. In addition, other exclusions include when the boat is being repaired, such as refinishing or renovating, but this will always depend on the specific wording of the policy in question. When in doubt, ask! Your insurer—the insurance company that issued your boat insurance policy—will tell you whether a specific application is covered by your policy. Our advice: get it in writing!


Insurance for the Boat: Settlement Methods

So your boat is definitely sunk. How will you be paid? The answer depends on the settlement method you chose while shopping boat insurance quotes online.  Below EINSURANCE outlines the most common settlement methods for boat insurance policies.

  • Actual Cash Value
    (Replacement value of the boat minus depreciation)
  • Agreed Value
    (Predetermined replacement value on which insured and insurer agrees)
  • Total Loss Replacement
    (Replacement value, limitations will apply by insurer)


Insurance for the Boat: Requirements

Unlike auto insurance, most states do not require liability insurance for pleasure boaters. Still, you should be aware of the exceptions. Arkansas is one state that requires a minimum $50,000 liability per occurrence for all personal watercrafts and motorboats powered by engines of more than 50 horsepower. In addition, the municipality or docking marina may require a yacht owner’s policy. If you have a lien on your boat, yacht or personal watercraft; then your bank will most likely require that you have insurance. The requirement that seems most consistent throughout the States, municipalities and parks is the one requiring boating safety courses. It can depend on age. Younger boaters should be the most wary of Boating Safety Course requirments.


Insurance for the Boat: Discounts

Below EINSURANCE highlights what may qualify you to earn a discount on your boat insurance policy.

  • No recent accidents or violations
  • Insure more than your boat
  • Be the original owner of your Boat or Yacht
  • Own a home
  • Complete a Boating Safety Course
  • Pay your insurance premium upfront
  • Install idle assisted steering
  • Operate a Boat with lower HP
  • Opt for winter lay-up
  • Boat exclusively on fresh bodies of water
  • Operate a diesel fuel powered vessel
  • Pay premium payments directly from your bank account

Things To Think About

What kind of boat do you own? How much do you use it? Does your insurer offer premium incentives for alarm systems, education courses, geography, etc.? How many people will regularly be using your boat?


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