And you probably know that you need boat insurance.
But there are some things that you may not know about boat insurance. Here are a few:
1. Lay-up periods can be your friend.
A “lay-up” period is when your boat is in storage and not being used. Many insurance companies offer a discount for letting them know that your boat is put up for the winter. Check it out.
2. Boat insurance only covers you on the water.
I know that’s a surprise to many people. But if your boat is attached to your vehicle, only your auto insurance will cover damage to it- not your boat insurance. Likewise, if a tree falls on your boat in the driveway at home- only your homeowners policy will cover it.
3. “Cash value” coverage can leave you short of cash.
It’s easy to get a low quote if you select “cash value” coverage as an option. That means that if your boat is a total loss, you will only receive “fair market value” for it. But that won’t replace your boat. Consider choosing “agreed upon value” as a part of your policy. You’ll have a better chance of boating again after a loss.
4. Not all your gear is covered by boat insurance.
Generally, only equipment that’s permanently attached to your boat is covered under your boat policy. This is true on the water, and especially true when your boat is in the driveway. It’s important to know what’s covered ahead of time.
5. The difference between “towing” and “salvage” could hurt you.
When does a breakdown on the water become a “salvage” operation? Why does that matter? Because salvage is much more expensive than a tow, and you need to make sure that your policy covers both towing and salvage.
6. You aren’t covered on every body of water.
Really? Yes, really. There’s a provision in most policies called “navigational warranty.” It simply means that you’re covered on most waters- but not all. Here are the usual guidelines (but check to be sure): boats up to 26’ are usually covered on all inland waters in the U.S. and Canada, as well as on coastal waters. But if you’re planning on a long voyage on the open sea, or you are heading to Mexico with your boat- discuss this with your agent.
7. Optional coverages can save the day.
What if you have a fuel spill and you are required to pay for the cleanup? What if an uninsured boater hits you? These risks aren’t normally covered unless you add them to your policy. Also, standard liability limits are often too low. Ignoring optional and additional coverages can be risky.
Boat insurance can be confusing, so let your local agent help you navigate these waters.
Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates helping clients with insurance needs for personal, commercial and business insurance. Bruce can be reached at 707-931-0186, firstname.lastname@example.org