What you need to know about Boat Insurance

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Whether you already have your dream boat or you’re in the market for a new watercraft, make sure you have the proper coverage in your boat insurance policy. Many boat owners are surprised to learn that their homeowner’s and/or auto insurance plans do not cover their boat!

Do you need boat insurance?

If you have a small boat such as a canoe, kayak or a personal watercraft (Sea-Doo, Jet Ski, Wave Runner, etc), then you do not need boat insurance, although you should look into Personal Watercraft Insurance. If you have a very small watercraft or one with a very small motor, it is possible that your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover it, but you need to check to make sure. If you have a yacht, large sail boat, or any boat with a large motor, chances are you will need a separate boat insurance policy.

What does boat insurance cover?

Just like auto insurance policies, there isn’t a one size fits all policy. You will need to get a policy that is tailored to your needs. These are the most common aspects to a boat insurance policy:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: Covers injuries to other people while your boat is in use. Coverage includes medical bills, loss of income, legal expenses, and pain and suffering.
  • Collision Damage: This covers the repair or replacement of your boat in the event of an accident. Some collision riders include wreckage clean up, but others do not.
  • Comprehensive: This covers the repair or replacement of your boat in the event of vandalism, theft or damage from a non-collision event.
  • Property Damage Liability: This covers damage you may cause to another person’s boat or property such as docks or other property structures.
  • Fuel Spill and/or Wreckage Cleanup: Most policies require a separate rider to cover damage from a fuel spill or to clean up after an accident. If your boat is in an accident, there is a good possibility that fuel will spill. The law requires the boat owner to have this cleaned up.
  • Navigational Area: Most policies will cover boats within the 48 contiguous states of the US and usually up to 75 miles from the US coastline, but you need to double check your policy to be sure. If you will be taking your boat outside of the US (Canada, Mexico, etc) then you may need an additional rider to cover you while outside of the normal navigational area.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury: Many boat owners are either not aware of insurance requirements, or choose not to carry insurance. If you are injured by someone without proper insurance, this rider covers medical bills, legal expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
  • Personal Effects: Some policies automatically cover limited personal effects under the comprehensive portion of the policy. If not, then an additional personal effects rider can be purchased. Although neither the comprehensive portion or personal effects coverage will cover jewelry, watches or furs.
  • Unattached Equipment: This covers items that are utilized only on a boat but are not part of the boat such as lifesaving equipment, water skis, oars, anchors, etc.
  • Roadside / Emergency Assistance: This package usually includes towing, labor, gas delivery, and loaned batteries.

Is Boat insurance expensive?

It doesn’t have to be. Most homeowners and auto insurance carriers offer boat insurance and will give you a discount if you carry more than one policy with the same company. If you live in Sacramento or anywhere throughout California, we can help you find the right insurance bundle to help you save money.


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