Keep Your Boat Afloat with Small Watercraft Insurance

If you’re a boat owner, you know the old cliché about the happiest two days of your life: the day you buy your boat and the day you sell it. Let’s assume you’re reading this because you’re still in the Happy Day #1 mindset. If you own a sailboat or motorboat that’s 29 or fewer feet long, you’ll be a lot happier a whole lot longer if you have small watercraft insurance coverage. Here are some facts to help you when looking for small watercraft insurance quotes.

Your boat is not automatically covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Your homeowners policy may cover your boat while it’s parked on your property, and you can add additional coverage to you homeowners policy. The problem is that option may limit or even exclude things like salvage work, wreck removal or damages caused by pollution or environmental conditions. Dedicated boat insurance coverage gives you more control.

The best possible boat insurance coverage will be tailored to your needs. Before shopping for boat insurance quotes, think about how you use your boat. Are you a fisherman who keeps lots of gear onboard? Do you trailer-tow your sailboat to regattas? Do you live a storm-prone or freeze-prone area? Your specific conditions will help you decide on the type of small boat insurance coverage you need. Basically, you can choose between agreed value small boat insurance coverage and actual cash value coverage. Agreed value ensures that you’ll be reimbursed the face value of your boat stated on your policy if the boat is totaled. It’s based on current market value and usually costs a bit more. Cash value policies are cheaper but they factor in depreciation.

All policies will vary, but typically, a boat insurance quote will include coverage for onboard equipment such as anchors, batteries, bilge pumps, emergency devices, fuel tanks, generators, tops and covers, depth finders, boat furniture and horns. Small boat insurance policies usually don’t cover items you bring on board. These can include, but are not limited to cameras, cell phones, scuba gear, skis, electronic devices like tvs and radios and clothing, jewelry or similar personal items. If you tow your boat, you’ll need to be sure your boat insurance policy includes trailer coverage. And if you cruise off shore or in foreign waters, read your boat insurance policy fine print to see how far your coverage extends.

As with most insurance policies, there are some things you can do to get the cheapest boat insurance possible. Take an approved safe boating course (U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and Red Cross are two sources). Carry a ship to shore radio and Coast Guard-approved fire extinguishers. Ask about multiple policy discounts. And maintain a safe boating record. After two-years of claim-free boating, you should qualify for cheaper boat insurance coverage.


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