4 things you NEED to know about Boat Insurance

mark lauria boat insurance

It’s officially summer time, and for some people that means weekends at the lake, days on the boat, fishing, jet skis, water skis and fun in the sun. Let’s face it, during all of that relaxing, boat insurance is definitely not at the forefront of anyone’s mind. That is, until it’s needed, and at that point it’s usually a little too late.

We want to be sure you have all the info on boat insurance so you can protect your boat and your family. That’s why we have put together this simple guide highlighting the four things you need to know about boat insurance policies, just in time for summer!

1. Get to know your insurance provider. 

The first thing to understand about boat insurance is that all policies are not the same. Once you have this concept nailed down, you’re 10 steps ahead of the game. While some common boat insurance terms do exist, it is not as standardized as automobile insurance, for example. That’s why it’s so important to have a reliable insurance advisor who you trust. They should be able to identify your risk and find coverages tailored to your specific needs and lifestyle. For example, a fisherman will have a different set of coverage needs than a person who likes to water ski. Your should feel comfortable enough with your insurance advisor to ask questions freely and know that they will give you reliable answers.

2. There are several kinds of coverage when it comes to boat insurance. 

The most obvious are Property Damage, for damages to someone else’s property, and Bodily Injury, for injuries caused to another person. Another kind of coverage to look for is guest passenger liability, which means you’re covered when someone else is using your boat. There’s also coverage for medical payments (for injuries to the boat owner and other passengers) and theft. Don’t forget all that fancy fish finding gear, rods and reels, or that sweet knee board; special equipment kept on your boat may need additional coverage. It’s also important to be sure your boat insurance covers not only when your boat is on the water but also when it’s being towed or in storage. 

3. Three Cheers For Discounts 

As a bonus to owners who get Boat Insurance, there are some discounts available. First off, when getting coverage, consider an umbrella liability policy which will provide additional protection for your boat, home and car. Often times there is a discount available when you have all your coverage in one place. Also, diesel powered craft are considered less hazardous than gasoline powered boats because they are less likely to explode, and can therefore have a lower costing policy. Consider owning a coast guard-approved fire extinguisher and ship-to-shore radio which can also help lower the cost of your Boat Insurance. Just like with automobile insurance, there are safety education courses you can take that can offer some discounts. Check out the courses offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons, or the American Red Cross and check with your provider to see what kinds of discounts they offer.

4. How To Avoid A Boat Insurance Policy Claim 

While Boat Insurance helps in the case of an accident, ideally everyone would prefer to not have the accident in the first place and to never have the need to make a claim on their insurance. Putting the safety of passengers and the public first is the key to avoiding a claim. Before you even get behind the wheel, make sure you are fully aware of all industry safety protocols. Different states have different boating laws so make sure you check into what laws are in effect in your area. Be sure you comply with all laws and requirements, they’re put in place to make sure everyone is safe on the boat. Much of this information can be obtained free online. There are also several free safety instructional courses from the organizations we mentioned above.

The thing to remember when shopping for Boat Insurance is that it’s a specialty coverage. It is important to know your insurance advisor and that the insurance carriers they represent have a history in providing this type of coverage. Make sure you ask lots of questions and do your research before signing a policy contract. If you follow these guidelines you’re guaranteed true peace of mind while cruising through the water, so you can truly relax this summer, with the knowledge that no matter what happens, you’re covered.

Do you have boat insurance coverage or have you had to make a claim? What suggestions or recommendations do you have for folks who are shopping for a policy?