You already know what to look for in a boat: a pristine hull, a rot-free deck, a comfortable spot to fish from, and maybe a good, sturdy cupholder next to the helm.

But you’d better also know what to look for from your boat insurance long before you take to the open lake, because boat accidents have been known to happen. They are sometimes so terrible that three-hour movies have been made about them. You don’t want to lose your beautiful weekend toy without getting paid for the heartache, so let’s briefly go over everything you need to know about boat insurance.


What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

Boat insurance policies are available for motorboats, sailboats and personal watercraft. Watercraft of lesser value, such as canoes and kayaks, are typically covered by non-motorized boat insurance policies (or homeowners policies, when applicable).

Boat insurance covers the kinds of misfortunes which are likeliest to strike boats and their owners, such as:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Lightning
  • Accidents
  • Damage to specific parts of the boat

At its bare minimum, boat insurance is designed to imburse you when something terrible happens directly to your valuable waterfaring property. It typically doesn’t matter where your boat was at the time of the accident. Coverage applies whether it was stolen from your garage, rear ended on the road, or accidentally piloted into rocks.

You can choose one of two types of imbursement when you select a boat insurance policy. Actual cash coverage pays for repairs or replacement minus depreciation; agreed amount coverage pays out based on the value of your boat as pre-agreed by you and your insurance provider.


What Other Kinds of Boat Insurance Coverage Are There?

Boat insurance doesn’t have to only cover the boat itself. You have the option to buy additional types of coverage so you can take to the lake with even greater confidence.

  • Uninsured watercraft coverage protects your boat and its passengers in the event of a collision or other type of accident caused by an uninsured boater (just like with automotive insurance).
  • Medical payments coverage pays for hospitalization and other medical care that a boat’s passengers may require following an accident.
  • Liability coverage pays the owners of any property you may accidentally damage while transporting or piloting your boat.
  • Mechanical breakdown coverage pays for repair or replacement of an outboard motor’s lower unit, or both the upper and the lower units of a sterndrive.
  • Salvage pays for any assistance you may need returning a disabled boat back to the dock or a marine mechanic.

Does Boat Insurance Cover Other Types of Personal Property?

Your boat insurance policy can additionally cover the equipment you need to make full use of your boat, including your:

  • GPS
  • Trailer
  • Radar
  • Fishing equipment
  • Sports gear, such as wakeboards

How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost?

Unfortunately, there is no simple, blanket answer to that question. Boat insurance may cost as little as $200 to $300 annually, but coverage for a very valuable boat may cost up to 5% of the watercraft’s total value. We have no idea what the insurance for Jeff Bezos’ 417 foot long yacht must cost!

Your insurance provider will consider multiple aspects of your boat while determining the cost of its policy, such as its:

  • Age
  • Size
  • Type
  • Condition
  • Market value
  • Place of storage
  • Frequency of use
  • Typical locations of use

How Do You Get Cheaper Boat Insurance?

Insurance providers are more likely to offer you a low rate if you can demonstrate safe driving and piloting records. If you have not made any recent claims for accidents or injuries caused by your vehicle or your boat, lower insurance can be one of your rewards!

Your boat insurance policy will cost less if you choose to exclude one or more types of coverage. For example, if you never transport your boat and exclusively pilot it on a lake with no other traffic, you may decide to slim down your policy by omitting liability coverage.

Your insurance provider may also discount the cost of your boat policy if you:

  • Pay in annual payments
  • Opt for a high deductible
  • Take boater’s safety classes
  • Go two years without filing a claim
  • Carry a radio and code compliant safety equipment
  • Bundle your boat insurance with your other property insurance policies

Does Boat Insurance Have a Coverage Limit?

Coverage limits always apply to insurance policies, regardless of the property they cover. You can determine the optimal maximum value of your policy with the aid of your insurance provider before committing to a plan. You should also learn the deductible you will be required to pay in the event that you do file a claim.

With over 65 lakes and just about as many rivers, Iowa is a paradise for any boat owner. If you would like to enjoy the open water this summer without jeopardizing your or anyone else’s valuable property, then we welcome you to contact the Hoffman Agency today.