What is boat insurance?

Boat insurance is an agreement between you and your insurance company that protects your watercraft and trailer, any damage you cause to others while boating, and other events. As with auto insurance, you’ll select and purchase “coverages,” which are things your insurer agrees to pay for.

How does boat insurance work?

You’ll be asked some basic questions about you, your boat, and the coverage's you’re looking for. All these factors will affect your price for insurance. Then, if you damage your boat or hit someone/something else, you’ll file a “claim” with your insurer. If it’s covered, they’ll pay for the losses or injuries up to your coverage limits.

Do you need boat insurance?

If you’re financing your boat, most lienholders will require you to carry insurance with comprehensive and collision coverage. In addition, if you plan to dock your boat, some marinas and harbors will require you to show proof of liability coverage. Regardless of the value of your boat, liability coverage is important and comes standard on watercraft insurance policies.

One of the biggest myths about boat insurance is that you and your boat will be adequately covered under home insurance. While your homeowners policy may offer minimal protection in some instances, it won’t offer the kind of coverage you need on the water—especially if you’ll be operating a large powerboat. Powerboats are typically more expensive and prone to accidents compared to small boats with smaller motors.

How to get boat insurance?

Online

We’ll ask easy questions about you and your boat, then you choose coverages.

Call a rep

You'll speak with a licensed representative who will guide you through everything.

What's covered?

Standard coverages

These are the coverages available in most states. Remember, boat insurance doesn’t cover maintenance or general wear and tear.

Damages/injuries you cause

Liability: Pays for any damages or injuries you cause while boating, including:

  • Damage to other watercraft
  • Damage to objects (docks, pilings, other boats, etc.)
  • Other boaters’ and their passengers’ injuries
  • Injuries to your passengers, including those skiing, boarding, or tubing

Damages to your boat from events beyond your control

Comprehensive: Covers events out of your control, such as:

  • Theft and vandalism
  • Explosions and fire
  • Hurricanes, lightning, and other weather-related damage
  • Falling trees or other objects

Damages to your boat from accidents

Collision: Covers any damage to your boat if you collide with another watercraft or object (even if it’s submerged), regardless of fault. You’re also covered if your boat capsizes.

Damages or injuries from uninsured boaters

Uninsured/underinsured boater bodily injury: Covers injuries you suffer at the hands of an uninsured or underinsured boater, up to the limits of your policy.

Your injuries

Medical payments: Pays for the medical bills for you and your passengers if you’re in a covered accident, regardless of fault. In some states, this coverage will begin once you’ve exhausted your health insurance coverage limits.

 

How boat insurance is priced

Insurers will look over a variety of factors, and pricing all comes down to risk: How likely are you to have a boat accident and what will it cost? Here are a few of the essentials that will determine your price:

Claims history: If you don’t have a record of auto or boat insurance claims, your insurer will consider you less likely to have an on-water accident.

Type of boat: Just like with cars and motorcycles, your boat’s year, make, and model will affect your price. Newer boats generally cost more to replace, and boats designed for speed often cost more to insure than lower-performance boats. Whether you have an inboard or outboard motor will also influence your rate.

Boating experience: The longer you’ve spent on the water, the better. Experienced boaters are also less likely to have an accident. Completing a watercraft safety course may also help bring down the cost of boat insurance.