Homeowners Insurance Provides Limited Boat Coverage
Homeowners insurance typically only covers small vessels, like canoes, kayaks, or small power boats with less than 25 horsepower. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the personal property limits for physical damage to small boats is very limited, usually only $1500. Your homeowners insurance may cover some incidents that happen on a boat, like limited coverage for an injury that you cause, but should your boat be stolen or damaged during use, there is no coverage.
The burden of a boating accident can be far different than that of a car accident; the risks and potential losses that surround boating are unique. If you wreck your car, the tow truck hooks up and takes it to the shop. If you sink your boat, you could be liable for the environmental impact of hundreds of gallons of fuel and oil into a marine or lake environment. Often marine policies cover up to a million dollars for these events. The salvage of the boat, if possible, could cost incredible amounts of money. While losing the boat is unfortunate, it remains a liability if someone was to get hurt or damage their vessel by running into it. Further, consider the expenses that may not be limited to just your boat but could be other property, like a dock, or expensive medical bills.
DO NOT RELY ON HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE TO PROTECT YOUR BOAT.
Similar to an auto or homeowners policy, if your boat is financed through a bank, they will often require you to carry comprehensive boat insurance.
What Does a Boat Owners Policy Cover?
- Damages to your watercraft.
- Damages to another person’s property including their watercraft, dock, or additional property.
- Boat insurance can help you cover medical costs in the event of an accident.
- Wreckage costs associated with the removal and towing of watercraft from the water.
- Some policies may assist in cleaning up hazardous materials such as gasoline or oil spills should it be necessary.
- Equipment that is specific to boating that may not be otherwise covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Expensive fishing tackle or marine electronics for example.
- You can use your boat insurance policy to help cover legal fees should you face legal action in the event of a wreck.
- Some policies can include damages to your boat trailer.
- Uninsured motorist insurance policies can help pay for medical bills associated with a wreck where the other party does not have insurance or a hit-and-run situation.
The type of coverage in your policy may vary depending on the policy coverages stipulated within your enrollment and the provider that you choose.
Coastal and inland policies can be quite different. Boaters in coastal areas have significantly different risks than those inland boaters. Preparing your boat for a Hurricane goes into detail on challenges specific to the coastal boater.
Types of Boat Insurance Policies
Understanding the differences in the types of boat insurance policies available to you will help you decide what coverage you need and how to achieve such coverage. There are few “apples to apples” situations in boat insurance; every policy and insurance provider is different, so it is important to speak with your TGS Insurance agent about the details of your boat insurance policy before enrolling. Know-how, when and where you will use your boat to be sure you are getting the coverages you need. Many policies only cover inland areas, some coastal, some up to 75 miles out, some 200 miles.
While more common in the Northeast and Northwest US, the marine insurance industry has taken to including “lay-up” periods, times when the boat will be off the water, in dry storage, and not used. If you know you’re not going to use the boat for many months, the lay-up period maintains coverage on the vessel for theft or other losses, but would not cover an on-the-water loss event during that time. That lay-up period will reduce the carrier’s exposure to risk, and can help offset those recent increases to premiums, particularly in coastal areas.
Some of the types of coverages available on your boat policy include:
Agreed Upon Value
A reimbursement that is based on what your boat is worth at the beginning of the policy rather than its current value in the market.
Protects equipment specifically used for your watercraft such as anchors, life jackets, and more according to your policy.
Coverage that can help protect your boat trailer in the event of an accident or other destructive events.
Covers the costs associated with towing your watercraft or transporting critical supplies such as gasoline or a battery should you break down.
A policy that helps pay for any medical costs that may arise should you or another party become injured through an accident.
This coverage protects personal items such as fishing gear in the event of damage or theft.
Property Damage Coverage
Protects your boat by covering the damage that occurs should you have an accident with another boat or foreign object, damage caused by a fire, or damage caused by theft and vandalism.
Assists you when you require repairs to your watercraft, its motor, equipment, or trailer.
A policy that protects you and other members of your boat if you or any other party on your boat are injured due to another boater’s actions
This coverage pays for injuries if there is an accident and can also cover the cost of damage or replacement of another person’s boat.
Boat Insurance Carriers
Boat insurance policies for your watercraft are generally quite affordable for inland-type boats and smaller boats that can fit on trailers in coastal areas. Many of the larger carriers that we represent at TGS insurance like Progressive, SafeCo, Allstate, and others are the same carriers that do a great job insuring these types of boats. Often there are bundle discounts with your home or auto policy that can help you save even more.
For boats over 35 feet, multi-engine, performance boats, and boats that cannot travel via trailer, there are specialized marine carriers that understand how to insure and properly rate these risks.
The team at TGS Insurance is prepared to craft a personalized quote to find the right boat insurance provider for your boating needs. Most of our policies cost customers between $300-500 a year. We are boaters, we understand the needs of Texas boat owners. Get started with a free boat insurance quote today.