Do I Really Need Boat Insurance?

While boat insurance isn’t mandated by Florida law, that doesn’t mean you don’t need it. If you have a lien against your boat your lender may require it, plus Florida has very busy waterways and it is prone to storms and hurricanes.

Additionally, a collision can cause serious injuries and property damage. Even if you are not liable, you will still spend a substantial amount of money on legal fees for your defense. Many marinas require proof of liability insurance before they will rent you a slip or a mooring and some even want you to list them as an additional insured on the policy.

A homeowners insurance policy doesn’t provide sufficient coverage for most boats either. It limits coverage for boats and watercraft to around $1,000 and only for specific causes of damage. As well, your policy will not cover any personal property exclusive to the boat.

What to Look For in a Policy

It’s best to work with an agent as you’ll have many policy options. You can choose an Agreed Value policy which pays for a replacement of a boat of the same kind and quality. Alternatively, a Stated Value policy compensates you for the value of your boat up to the policy limit, less depreciation.

Boat policies are either “named perils” or “all perils” policies. All perils policies protect you against all risks, unless they’re specifically excluded in the policy. However, you may need to take risk mitigation measures such as providing them with a “hurricane plan” if you want them to include wind coverage in hurricane-prone Florida.

A named perils policy typically protects you from risks such as theft, vandalism, lightning, fire, grounding, sinking, and lost or stolen belongings. Generally, your policy can provide the following coverages:

  • Personal property or vessel damage sustained on the water or trailer, less the deductible
  • Liability coverage for damages to others
  • Medical payments coverage for you and your guests after an injury
  • Uninsured boater’s coverage for property damage or injuries caused by an uninsured boater
  • Towing coverage

A boat insurance policy limits the navigational territory. If you’re traveling outside of your insured territory, you may need a policy endorsement.

Deductible Considerations

All policies include a deductible, but some types of boats and some risks may also have a separate deductible. For instance, a sailboat often has a separate deductible for the mast.

In Florida, boat insurance policies have a hurricane or named-storm deductible which may be as much as 10% of your boat’s value.

Factors Affecting Price

The cost of boat insurance varies based on many factors. These include the boat’s value, where it’s stored, where you’ll navigate, and the type and size of your boat. How often you use your boat and what you use it for also affects price. Whether you’re a full-time or seasonal resident also impacts your rate.

Floridians tend to use their boats year-round and off the coast, so policies are often a bit more expensive than in other states. Fortunately, a skilled independent insurance agency like ours can also suggest ways to lower your costs without compromising your coverage. We work for you and can access the best products to protect your boat affordably.

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