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Carpenter Insurance News & FAQs

Everything You Need to Know About Boat Insurance

Unlike buying a house or car, insurance is normally pretty low priority for someone looking to purchase a boat. Many people believe watercraft is already covered under their homeowners or auto policy. While that might be the case, it’s a good idea to take a look through your declarations page next time your renewal comes up because a lot of policy actually exclude watercraft coverage or only offer coverage for liability under very limited circumstances.

The good news is that getting a specialized boat insurance policy is both easy and cheap.

Get a quote before you boat

Getting a quote for your watercraft is as simple as calling up your current insurance broker and asking for one. You will want to make sure that you’re prepared before calling because they will undoubtedly have a few questions about the specs of the boat, eligibility, and coverages.

Below is a quick list of just a few questions your agent might ask you:

  • Model year
  • Make/model
  • Total horsepower
  • Hull material
  • Number of motors
  • Maximum speed
  • Original owner

A lot of these questions are here to make sure your boat is eligible for companies within their markets. Some carriers won’t take boats that are over 32 ft, have more than two motors, or are constructed from ineligible hull materials. Other questions, like the original owner question, are probing to see what kinds of discounts you might be eligible to receive. So, make sure you’re as honest as you can and give as many details as possible because it will help you get a more accurate quote and might save you a headache down the road.

What type of coverage do I need?

Basic watercraft coverages mirror vehicle coverages. You’ll be able to select your deductible options for Comprehensive and Collision as well as set the limits for bodily injury/property damage and other coverages you should be familiar with already. But the further down the list you get, the less discernible some coverages might seem.

  • Physical Damage – this is the coverage you value your watercraft at.
    • Total Loss Replacement – fully replaces a boat that is previously unregistered and less than one model year old.
    • Agreed Value – a value you and the insurance company agree to insure the watercraft for regardless of depreciation.
    • Actual Cash Value – think of this as getting the Kelly Blue Book value for your boat.
  • Disappearing Deductibles – coverage that deducts a percentage of your premium annually for every year you are claim-free.
  • Coastal Navigation – determines how far out your boat is covered. Most companies cover you for up to a 75 nautical mile radius of your docking address, but companies like Progressive extend this to a national scale. This is an important coverage to inquire about if you sail to multiple locations.
  • Fuel Spill Liability – this covers you if you’re legally responsible for a fuel spill that causes injury to others.
  • Water Sports Liability – another important coverage that protects you if you participate in watersports like water skiing and wakeboarding.
  • Fishing Equipment Coverage – this is a crucial coverage that will pay up to $10,000 for any fishing equipment that might get lost, damaged, or stolen. The best part is that you don’t need to file a homeowners claim.
  • Trailer Trip Interruption – this is a completely optional coverage that protects your watercraft during any type of mechanical breakdowns or accidents while towing your watercraft.
  • Personal Effects Coverage – different from the fishing equipment coverage, here you’ll have protection for up to $5,000  to cover any personal items on the watercraft. Again, you won’t have to file a homeowners claim.
  • Roadside Assistance – similar to trailer trip interruption, you’ll be provided assistance in the case of an emergency while your vehicle is being towed.
  • Small Claims Forgiveness – during renewal the company will review your policy. Any claims that are within a certain payout range, like $500, will be forgotten and won’t have an effect on your renewal rate. There is no limit to the amount of small claims either.
  • Propulsion Plus – another coverage that is unique to our companies. This will pay to have the lower unit on your outboard motor repaired, or the upper and lower units of your inboard/outboard motors. This has to be the result of mechanical failure, however, and it is subject to a $250 deductible.

Choosing the types of coverage you add to your policy is ultimately up to you, but it’s always a good idea to safeguard yourself for those what-if scenarios. Needing a tow might never cross your mind until you end up miles off the coast with rough weather rolling in. And you certainly don’t want to be caught in a potentially dangerous situation if your family is involved.

Boat insurance pays for itself

Reading through that list makes it easy to see why simply endorsing your homeowners policy to cover liability on your boat just isn’t enough. Our customer’s boat insurance policies run them, on average, around $250 a year which pays for itself after one claim.

Give us a call today for any questions you have regarding boat insurance or simply submit a quote request form and one of our experts will get back to you as soon as possible.


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