Boat Insurance: What You Need to Know

Is Boat Insurance Mandatory?

In most cases, yes. When a boating vessel is financed it must be insured. When an individual has full ownership, however, insurance is not always a requirement. Whether it’s fully owned or financed, it is always better to go boating while being insured to cover yourself and your wallet!

There are a few stipulations to consider. For example, if you take out a loan using your boat as collateral, your lender may require you to get insurance to cover any damages to the boat. Furthermore, many Florida marinas require proof of boat insurance before you can dock.

Even aside from these concerns, boat insurance is needed to protect yourself financially from accidents, inclement weather, and other unforeseen occurrences. A great boat insurance policy will cover, but not be limited to:

Liability coverage in the event your boat is damaged by others; e.g. your watercraft is damaged during a boating accident in Miami
Damages to either the vessel or your personal property (though these are always subject to deductibles)
Medical payments or liability coverage if you or a guest are injured
Coverage in case your boat is damaged by an uninsured water vessel
Towing coverage in case you become stranded and have to be brought to a port

In Florida, boat insurance is usually higher since boat owners in this state use their boats more frequently or even year-round compared to owners in other states.

How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost?

That depends on what’s covered in your boat insurance policy. In Florida, boat insurance policies will either cover “all perils” or “named perils”.

All perils policies are comprehensive and provide coverage for your boat if it’s damaged due to any cause except for anything that’s explicitly excluded in a policy’s terms. Named perils, by contrast, only cover your boat against specifically listed causes or damages.

Furthermore, each policy will include a physical damage deductible, which could be either a set dollar value amount (such as $1,000.00) or a percentage of your boat’s total value. Your boat insurance policy’s price will be based on:

The overall value of your boat
Where the boat is stored and where it typically sails (its “navigational territory”)
The size and type of your boat
How often your boat is used, and what it is used for
Your boating accident history (if applicable)

Key Things to Look for in Boat Insurance

Want to know what makes an ideal boat insurance policy? We’d recommend keeping these major things in mind when shopping around for a policy that fits your needs and budget:

Find a policy that includes hurricane insurance, particularly if you dock your boat in an area prone to hurricanes.
Consider a policy that includes a discount if you take a boating safety course to save money. It’s easy savings!
Consider buying a newer vessel if you are already looking to purchase a boat – older boats usually require higher insurance rates (since they are more likely to break down)
Find a policy that will give you a discount if you install an auxiliary motor in your sailboat.
Find a policy that includes discounts or lower rates if you only use your boat for a few months out of the year instead of year-round – stored boats are typically considered lower risk by insurance companies.

There’s a suitable boat insurance policy out there for your needs and budget limits. No matter how often you use your boat, insurance is a must to avoid having to pay out-of-pocket for an accident, damage from a storm, or other unfortunate mishaps. The sooner you get boat insurance, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy your boating vacation with total peace of mind.