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What is boat insurance?
Boat insurance covers you in the event of a loss or damage to your boat. It covers most watercrafts with motors, including fishing boats, pontoon boats, paddle boats, leisure crafts and yachts. Boat insurance does not usually cover canoes, kayaks or personal watercrafts (PWC).
For small watercrafts, you may find some limited coverage under your homeowners policy. You may also be able to add a special endorsement or buy separate coverage. Contact an independent agent for assistance with all of your boat coverage.
What does boat insurance cover?
Your boat insurance policy may include the following:
- Collision damage: Includes repair or replacement of your boat, but may or may not include clean-up of wreckage unless you purchase optional additional coverage.
- Property damage liability: Covers damage you might cause to someone else’s boat, a dock, or other property or structures.
- Bodily injury liability: Covers injury you might cause someone while using your boat; includes medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and legal expenses.
- Comprehensive: Provides compensation if your boat is vandalized, stolen, or damaged in an incident other than a collision.
- Additional coverage options: Coverage for medical payments, fishing equipment, oil spills, personal property and roadside assistance, as well as damage and injuries from accidents caused by boaters who are uninsured or underinsured.
The amount of compensation you receive for a claim depends on a few things, including your deductibles, limits, and whether your boater’s insurance covers your boat’s actual cash value, replacement cost, or agreed-upon value.
How does boat insurance work?
When you buy boat insurance, you must decide on the amount of coverage you need for your boat, the deductible (maximum out-of-pocket expense per claim) and the types of coverage you need.
If you have an accident, experience a theft, or have another loss that is covered under your policy, you can file a claim and receive a payment covering the loss.
If you were in an accident with another boat that caused serious damage to your vessel, one of the following things would most likely occur, depending upon the insurance coverage you and the other boater have and the laws in your state:
- If you were at fault, your boat liability insurance would cover the damage up to the limits of the policy.
- If the other boater was at fault, their coverage would pay for your damage, up to the limits of their policy.
- If the other boater was at fault, but did not have boat insurance, or did not have enough to cover your expenses, uninsured/underinsured boaters coverage could cover the damage (if you had that coverage in place).
Does boat insurance cover passengers?
Boat insurance covers boat passengers as well as the owner in an accident. Passengers on the boat are covered under the liability portion of the boater’s policy.
However, depending on the policy, this may or may not extend to water skiers you are pulling behind the boat. Be sure to work with a knowledgeable professional who can help evaluate your needs and risks.
Does boat insurance cover theft?
Comprehensive boat insurance covers the theft of the boat itself. Personal possessions carried in the boat may or may not be covered, depending on the policy. Therefore, you should carefully review the comprehensive coverage of your policy to determine exactly what is and is not covered.
If you plan to carry expensive fishing equipment or other items of value, you can purchase one or more additional riders, or policy endorsement, to cover those assets.
Does boat insurance cover hurricanes?
Depending on the insurance company and structure of your policy, boat insurance may or may not cover hurricane damage. If tropical storms, hurricanes, tornadoes or windstorms are a concern where you live or travel with your boat, ask your agent about storm damage coverage for your watercraft.
Does boat insurance cover engine damage?
Boat insurance sometimes covers engine damage. This varies from company to company, as well as by policy. Some insurance companies have machinery damage exclusions while others do not; it often depends on the age of the motor. Reimbursement may include replacement cost or be subject to depreciation.
Does boat insurance cover me if I hit a rock?
If you have comprehensive insurance or property damage coverage built into your policy, your boat insurance will cover collision with rocks, logs, and other marine obstacles.
Does boat insurance cover a blown engine?
Boat insurance covers a blown engine under some circumstances. Check that with the insurance company issuing the policy. Many policies will cover a blown engine when the cause is a manufacturer’s defect, but not if is due to normal wear and tear.