How to Buy Boat Insurance: 10 Tips to Save Money and Get More Coverage

10 Strategies for Buying Boat Insurance

Your boat is a source of recreation and joy in your life. It's also a substantial financial investment. If you want to protect yourself and your vessel, and make sure you're reimbursed if something happens to your boat, you'll need a good boat insurance policy.

But what exactly constitutes a “good” boat insurance policy? And what strategies can you follow to make sure you're getting the best possible policy for the least amount of money?

Is Boat Insurance Truly Necessary?

In some areas, boat insurance is legally required. Make sure you understand the laws in your area.

Even if boat insurance isn't a legal requirement in your area, it's usually a good investment to make. Premiums are relatively inexpensive, and your policy could ultimately cover hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars of damages on your behalf.

Tips for Buying Boat Insurance

These are some of our best strategies for buying boat insurance:

  1. Understand the basic terminology. If you're familiar with car insurance policies and home insurance policies, you're probably already at least vaguely familiar with the terminology used in the insurance world. Still, it pays to brush up. You're not going to find an appropriate policy for your needs if you don't really understand what a deductible is. Fortunately, it should only take a few minutes to grasp the basics of how insurance policies work and the definitions of the most commonly used terms in this field.
  2. Invest in total-salvage coverage. What happens if, after a storm, your boat is isolated in an area that’s too far to reach from the road or the main water? It would ordinarily cost thousands of dollars to retrieve the boat – even if the vessel is entirely intact. You, the boat owner, are responsible for covering these costs, but total-salvage insurance coverage can cover you. In some cases, the value of your total-salvage policy will be limited to a fixed percentage of your hull coverage value; but in other cases, try to get a value of coverage equal to your hull coverage.
  3. Protect yourself from fuel spills. If you’re found responsible for a fuel spill, you could be responsible for a massive fine. Obviously, you’re not going to intentionally dump fuel into the water, but even simple mistakes – such as botching an oil change – could end up damaging the environment at your expense. If you’re going to boat in environmentally protected areas, or in areas with especially steep environmental fines, this coverage is practically necessary.
  4. Guard against uninsured boaters. You may be familiar with uninsured motorist insurance, which is a common feature of modern car insurance policies. With this type of coverage, you'll be completely protected against the actions of other boaters, even if they're uninsured. If another voter is responsible for damage to your vessel, their insurance policy would typically cover those damages. But if they're totally uninsured, you'll need uninsured boater coverage yourself to be reimbursed.
  5. Consider consequential damage. By default, most boat insurance policies only cover damage that occurs as a result of an accident or an unexpected event (like a storm). If your boat is heavily damaged due to factors related to wear and tear or ordinarily expected events, you won't have that coverage. If you want to protect yourself from these types of damage, add consequential damage coverage to your policy.
  6. Cover medical payments. Make sure your boat insurance policy covers the medical payments of people who are injured or harmed as a result of an accident that involves your boat. Medical expenses can be extraordinarily expensive, so if you have inferior coverage here, it could cost you.
  7. Read the policy in full. Before finalising your decision to purchase boat insurance, take a moment to fully read and understand your policy. If there's anything you don't understand about your policy, be sure to ask an agent for clarity. Oftentimes, insurance policies have strict rules and limitations that policyholders don't fully understand; for example, your policy may not offer coverage for damage that occurs as a result of a hurricane. In this scenario, you'll be responsible for purchasing additional coverage if you want to be covered.
  8. Know the factors that influence your costs. The factors that can influence the cost of your boat insurance include, but are not limited to the age of your boat, the length of the vessel, the speed and horsepower of the vessel, the total value of the boat, the general condition of the boat, its status as a primary residence, the type of motor included in the boat, how many owners are using the boat, and the location where the boat will operate. If you've already bought your boat, some of these factors are already beyond your control; bigger, more expensive, and faster boats necessarily carry more expensive policies. But some of these factors are influenceable; operating the boat in a safer area, for example, could help you keep your costs down.
  9. Bundle your policies (if you can). Whenever possible, bundle your insurance policies together. Most insurance providers are willing to extend discounts to people who have multiple types of insurance through them simultaneously. If you're already in the market for car insurance and house insurance, it's convenient and inexpensive to add a boat insurance policy to your holdings.
  10. Understand how to make claims. Finally, take a moment to understand how to make and process claims. If your boat sustains damage, or if you're involved in an accident, what steps do you need to take to file a claim with your provider?

Before you buy insurance, you need to buy a boat. And whatever your budget is (for a vessel and for insurance), we’ve probably got an interesting option available for you. With thousands of boats for sale all across the United States and Europe, it’s only a matter of time before you find a good fit. So check out our selection of vessels for sale today!

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