If you’ve recently made the leap and are now the proud owner of a boat, it is high time to start thinking about insurance. You want to protect your investment, after all. So, it’s worth taking the time finding the perfect policy and boat coverage levels for your needs. Although that might sound like a tall order, you can breeze through the process with ease by thinking about all the following items when choosing a boat insurance policy.

Boat Characteristics

When it comes to boat insurance, the characteristics of your watercraft truly matter. You’ll want to pin all the details well before calling each insurance company. That way, you can get accurate quotes for the right boat coverage types and levels.
Things you’ll need to know include:

  • Boat Type: Small motorboats have wildly different insurance needs than huge sailboats – and yachts are another story altogether. So, be prepared to clearly define your boat type, preferably by using the hull identification number.
  • Current Value: You need to pinpoint the current value of your boat to ensure you have the right amount of coverage to replace it in full if the unthinkable happens. Use a boat pricing guide to gauge its value if you’re unsure what it’s currently worth.
  • Usage Plans: Your boating plans will come into play when deciding what type of boat insurance will benefit you most. Coverage levels differ for boats used solely for daytime fishing trips versus yachts built for overnight trips.

When you’re looking for a quote, many insurance companies will ask for pictures, depending on the age of your boat. If your boat is over 15 years old, they’ll also require a Marine Survey. Don’t forget to reflect on when and where you’ll use your boat most often. Insurance companies will use that information while creating your quote to gauge risk and dial in your boat coverage levels.

Personal vs Business Use

If you’re going to use your boat for business purposes, you need to let your insurance company know. They will design your policy differently depending on how you plan to use the boat on a day-to-day basis. If you fail to notify them of your plans, your claims could end up denied if the business use of your boat comes to light later on.

Ideal Standard Coverage Level

Boat insurance policies start with standard coverage for both liability and replacement. Liability coverage applies to anyone injured by your boat or while enjoying your watercraft. Replacement coverage, on the other hand, applies to the full cost of repairing or replacing your boat after it suffers damage.

You’ll need to work with your insurance agent to find the boat coverage limits you’re comfortable with for both areas. As you increase the coverage levels, the monthly insurance premium will go up as well. So, you have to balance your budget with the level of risk you’re willing to accept as a part of operating your watercraft.

The Need for Extra Coverage

Basic coverage does not apply to the items in your boat. So, if you’d like coverage for those items, you’ll need to add extra protection to your policy. In most cases, your navigational equipment gets covered separately from other personal items, like fishing gear. Add up the value of the items you’ll have onboard to ensure your agent can help you find the right level of coverage.

Get Multiple Boat Insurance Quotes to Best Weigh Your Options

Always get at least three boat insurance quotes to best weigh all your options before choosing your ideal policy. You want to get a good idea about all the different types and levels of boat coverage available to you.

After that, look beyond the coverage levels and premium prices by reviewing all the terms and conditions as well. Only then can you select the boat insurance company and policy that offers the most peace of mind.

As you do that, remember to review your auto and homeowner’s insurance policies as well. If you plan to transport your boat, for example, then your auto insurance coverage will kick in to cover your boat and trailer while on the road.

Want to store your boat by your house during the off season? Then, any damage that occurs will trigger a homeowners insurance claim instead of your boat coverage. So, check with your insurance company to verify that your coverage levels will cover the value of your watercraft and trailer as well.

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