Boating is as much a significant lifestyle change as it is an investment. In fact, Americans spent as much as $36 billion and bought as many as 247,800 powerboats in 2016 alone.
Since owning a boat is a significant investment, it is important to have a certain amount of protection for it. Same with cars and houses, some insurance companies offer policies for vessels, covering hefty expenditures that come with the lifestyle.
Most boat insurances cover a wide variety of motor-powered watercraft, including fishing boats, leisure crafts, paddle boats, pontoon boats, and yachts. However, it is very rare that an insurance company would offer policies for paddle-propelled vessels like kayaks, canoes, or personal watercrafts.
What is Covered?
Many insurance companies offer coverage for boats under different circumstances, including:
1. Property Damage Liability
This covers damage caused by use of your boat to another person’s vessel, dock, and other properties.
2. Bodily Injury Liability
This insures you from injury caused using your boat to another person. Boat insurances with this coverage take charge of medical bills incurred and lost income of the victim. Some also compensate for the suffering and pain experienced from the injury as well as potential legal costs.
3. Collision Damage
This covers repairs of your damaged boat as well as replacement if the vessel is totally damaged. However, this may not include wreckage clean-up unless you acquired additional coverage options.
4. Comprehensive Coverage
Insurance companies also offer comprehensive policies that cover security matters like the theft of your boat as well as matters like vandalism or damage caused by other incidents aside from collision.
5. Additional Coverage Options
As the name suggests, this includes all other expenses from any other possible incidents that involve your vessel including oil spills, medical payments, fishing equipment, and boat damage or injuries caused by other boaters who are either uninsured or under-insured.
How Does it Work?
Boat insurance functions similarly with car insurances. In fact, some might say that it is a combination of auto and home insurances.
As stated earlier, boat insurance covers situations where the boat is damaged or lost as well as instances where the navigation or manipulation of the vessel caused damage or injury to another person or property.
It is worth noting that insurance policies differ, depending on the company and the state or country you reside in.
How Much Does It Cost?
Boat insurance companies charge between $75 and $500 annually. However, like its coverage, the cost of a boat insurance will also depend on where you live. However, there are other factors that affect the cost of a policy, including:
- The specifications of your boat (size, type, and age);
- How it is powered and the size of the motor;
- The place where it is often used (open seas or inland waters); and
- And your chosen additional coverage options.
Why You Should Get A Boat Insurance and How You Can Save
Some states in the U.S. require boaters to have their boats insured for liabilities. On top of that, some marinas also check whether their clients’ vessels are insured before they are allowed to dock. The need becomes more apparent when you have a high-powered vessel since its speed puts it at a higher risk of causing damage or injury.
However, it is worth noting that, in some cases, it is still under the boat owner’s discretion whether he or she will have his boat insured.
Of course, having a boat insurance doesn’t have to be costly. You can also take advantage of discounts offered by certain companies and follow the tips below to get the most out of your money:
1. Get an insurance that is specifically tailored for the type of vessel you have.
2. Invest in security features in your boat. This includes wireless auto tethers that automatically kills the engine should a passenger fall overboard.
3. Arm yourself with the right knowledge in the practice by taking boating classes.
4. Take advantage of insurance policies that offer extended lay-up periods. This will help you save during the weeks or months that you aren’t actively using your vessel.