How to Get the Best Rates on Boat Insurance

While your homeowner’s insurance policy probably covers your boat, a separate policy can offer more robust protection — including higher physical damage limits and coverage while the boat is in transit or at storage. It can also cover more specific items like a run-in with a shark or dolphin (hey, they live there!) as well as legal costs and medical payments for those who get injured aboard. Without a policy, you’ll be stuck paying for repairs out of pocket or draining your savings account.

The National Boat Owners Association is a membership organization that offers members benefits like robust insurance policies, towing services and financing. As a result, it may be able to offer more competitive pricing than non-members.

It’s worth asking your friends which insurer they use and how their claims have been handled. You can also check out an insurer’s track record with your state’s insurance regulatory agency online.

When selecting a policy, make sure to ask about the different types of coverage available and whether the insurer provides navigational limits that limit where you can take your vessel. You’ll typically pay a higher premium for more expansive coverage. Additionally, if you’re planning to travel abroad, make sure to inquire about international coverage options as some providers have more limited offerings.

In addition to covering your boat’s hull and equipment, your policy should include comprehensive general liability coverage that protects you against lawsuits stemming from services rendered, products sold or accidents like fuel spills. Many policies also offer optional towing and roadside assistance rider coverage that pays for jump starts, soft un-groundings and even fuel delivery if you’re stranded. You can also add on an agreed value endorsement, which is similar to a marine inspection, that allows you to set your own amount for the boat and its equipment rather than having to settle for current market prices.

A common feature of most boat insurance policies is a personal property coverage that covers items like fishing gear, cell phones and computers that are kept on board. However, some policies only cover the property if it’s lost or damaged by certain perils, such as fire, theft, lightning and vandalism. Other policies only cover the property if it’s stolen from your boat or if it’s permanently attached to the vessel, such as in the case of a trailer.

Some policies provide additional perks such as a mobile app, online interface and boat recovery assistance tag that can be activated to show your boat’s location if it’s ever stolen. You can also use these tools to self-inspect your boat and earn a vanishing deductible. Lastly, some insurers allow you to combine your boat and auto policies for more competitive pricing. Others let you save on your premium by completing safety courses or having a good driving record. Lastly, you’ll want to consider how the insurer handles claims because it could have a significant impact on your experience as a boater.

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