Q. What types of boats can be insured?

You can purchase insurance for any boat from a jet ski to a mega-yacht to a high performance boat.

Q. What states have mandatory boat coverage?

Boat insurance is not required by law in most states. But it is in some. For example, in South Carolina, liability insurance or a bond is required. Check with your state department of motor vehicles.

Q. If my state doesn’t require it, why should I get boat insurance?

If you’ve financed your boat, your lender will require it. Plus, it makes good sense to insure an enjoyable investment.

Q. How much insurance do I need for my boat?

You’ll want to use the market value or purchase price as the insured value of your boat. Standard liability limits are $100,000, $300,00, $500,00 and $1,000,000.

Q. How much does boat insurance cost?

Boat insurance premiums are impacted by the cost of the boat, its size, the use of the boat and many other factors. The prices are as varied as boats!  Quick online quotes will give you a feel for the premiums.

Q. How can I reduce my premiums?

Most insurance companies offer discounts if you’ve successfully completed an approved safe boating course. These courses are provided by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Power Squadron and others.

Q. What’s covered on a boat insurance policy?

The three main coverages are bodily injury liability, property damage liability and physical damage. There are also several optional coverages including towing, medical payments, and personal effects.

Q. Who can drive my boat?

Usually anyone you give permission to can operate your boat. Some policies exclude persons under the age of 16.

Q. If I damage my boat, how does the policy pay out?

Under the physical damage portion of your policy, one of three methods will apply: actual cash value, agreed upon value or replacement cost. Replacement cost coverage is the most expensive.

Q. What losses do boat insurance cover?

Most boat policies are all risk. This means that everything is covered unless it’s specifically excluded. For example, loss by fire, theft and vandalism are usually included. Exclusions can include wear and tear, damage done by animals and damage done by defective machinery.

Q. Is water sports liability covered?

It’s usually automatically included.

Q. What about my trailer?

If the trailer caused bodily injury or property damage to a third party, it’s covered by the liability on the auto policy. When connected to a vehicle, the trailer is not covered by boat insurance.

Q. Is my boat covered when it’s in storage?

Yes, it is.

Q. Is my dinghy or wave runner covered?

Most insurance companies require that you have a separate policy for your personal watercraft.

Q. What’s emergency service and towing coverage?

This provides boat towing to the nearest place where repairs can be made. Fuel delivery and a jump start qualify as emergency services.

Q. How do I buy boat insurance?

Boat insurance is available through boating membership associations like Boat US. You can also purchase it from insurance agents who specialize in boat coverage and agents who sell other insurance (home, auto, life etc.).

As with any insurance, coverage and premiums vary widely so shop around to get the best boat insurance deal.

Steve Wyrostek -BoatInsurance.org Expert A 20 year plus veteran of the insurance industry, Steve managed departments in the personal and commercial lines areas of major insurers. He’s familiar with how insurance—ranging from boat to workers compensation—works.

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