Boat ownership comes with ample luxuries, but it also demands several responsibilities, including boat insurance to protect them incase an accident occurs.
Owning a watercraft of any kind brings legal liabilities, and you’ll want to protect yourself as much as possible. After all, there are thousands of accidents involving boats every year in the U.S.
Among the key things to know about boat insurance is that, first, your homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t automatically cover your watercraft. In some cases it does, but that protection may not be enough. Also, if you have an older boat, you may require specific types of insurance because boats lose value quickly.
Overall, you should budget about 1 percent to 2 percent of the current value of the boat. Discounts are often available, and many of the cost-saving techniques you use when shopping for car insurance also apply to boat insurance.
Let’s take a look at the best boat insurance companies for your vessel.
On this page:
- Best Boat Insurance Companies
- Best Boat Insurance Explained
Best Boat Insurance Companies
Here are some of the best boat insurance companies worth considering:
- Allstate: Allstate is a national insurance company offering boat insurance. One of the best perks of Allstate’s insurance is that you can bundle boat insurance with a homeowners policy, and you can get a 20 percent discount in the process.
- American Family Insurance: American Family Insurance is a smaller company, but they don’t have a deduction for depreciation.
- Geico: Geico works with BoatU.S., the largest organization of recreational boat owners in the country, to provide insurance. With Geico options, you can choose customizable insurance like fuel spill liability and new boat replacement. They also have boat-towing services provided through TowBoatU.S.
- Progressive: Progressive, another major insurer, provides specialized boat insurance for as low as $100 annually. Progressive doesn’t require a marine survey or a navigation plan, which many boat owners find appealing.
Best Boat Insurance Explained
Boat Insurance Coverage
Consider these terms and coverage options when purchasing boat insurance:
- All Risk Coverage: All risk coverage is comprehensive and is the most all-encompassing level of coverage you can have in terms of boat insurance. It covers any loss unless the policy names a certain exclusion, like damage caused by an animal.
- Named Perils Policy: Named perils is a specific level of coverage, in that only certain named perils are covered. It’s different from all risk coverage, which covers everything but the named exceptions.
- Agreed Cash Value Coverage: Agreed cash value coverage covers a value that’s predetermined when the policy is purchased. Agreed value tends to be more expensive than the alternative, which is “actual cash value.” But it provides more protection against depreciation for the owner.
- Actual Cash Value Coverage: Actual cash value cover will look at the value of your boat at the time a loss occurs. Boats depreciate quickly so this is a cheaper option, but it will provide you with less coverage.
- Standard Coverage Options: The standard coverage options come with most policies. These include:
- Damage resulting from collision, fire, weather, theft, and vandalism
- Damage to a boat and its attached equipment
- Bodily injury liability, which covers the costs if someone is on your boat and gets hurt
- Medical payments, which cover the cost of medical expenses for you and the people on your boat
- Property damage liability, which covers the costs if your boat does damage to another person’s property
- Guest passenger liability, which will cover expenses when someone else is driving your boat, as long as you gave them permission
- Premium Coverage Upgrades: Along with the standard coverage options, there are some upgrades you may opt for as you shop for boat insurance. These can include:
- Salvage: Salvage coverage can help if your boat can’t be towed and you need a salvage company for recovery.
- Mechanical Breakdown Coverage: This will cover the repair or replacement of an outboard motor, unless it’s due to general wear and tear.
- Additional Equipment: If you have additional property to insure, like equipment for fishing or upgrades to your boat, you can get extra coverage.
Who Needs Boat Insurance?
In some cases, a homeowners insurance policy will cover a boat, but there are more limitations. Most homeowners’ insurance policies limit coverage for boats to around $1,000, or a small percentage of the insured value of your home. You probably won’t have liability coverage through your homeowners policy, either.
Anyone who has a yacht, a jet boat, personal watercraft, a big sailboat or a watercraft that goes faster than 25 m.p.h. will typically need boat insurance.
Choosing the Right Boat Insurance Company
Among insurance companies, you have two main, large categories to consider with boat insurance: traditional large, national companies and marine insurance companies that specialize just in watercraft and boat insurance.
While a company specializing in boat insurance may offer options that are well-suited to your needs, you may save more money if you go with a national company. Many national companies will let you bundle multiple policies for discounts.
How to Save on Boat Insurance
If you know where to look, there are ways to save on insurance. First, take a boating safety class. You do want to check with your insurer to make sure you choose a course that qualifies you for savings. Taking a class can save as much as five percent on a boat insurance policy.
Consider adding some safety features, which can also help reduce costs. And don’t get more insurance than you need. Choose a policy that specifically fits with your boat and your needs. If you have a boating license, or you cover it under certain types of protective structures, you may be eligible for discounts.
Also, keep in mind that your auto driving record can factor into how much your boat insurance costs. Finally, don’t forget about bundling options offered by many insurance companies. That can be one of the main benefits of going with a larger company over a company that specializes in marine insurance.