Do you have a valuable boat that you worry about keeping repaired and properly maintained or worry about what could happen if you get into a boating accident? Boat insurance can provide coverage for everything from damage to your boat to liability coverage for accidents you’re involved in.
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In many cases, boat insurance coverage isn’t legally required like auto or other types of insurance. But that doesn’t mean skipping out is a good idea. If you cause an accident or a problem with your boat causes it to leak oil or fuel, you could face huge bills that you struggle to pay.
Our team of financial experts reviewed and ranked the top boat insurance companies to help you find the one that’s right for you.
Add-on can cover watercraft in the Bahamas and Mexico
Customize your coverage with multiple package options
A rating from A.M. Best
Quick online quote
Pros & Cons
Lots of discounts
May not cover very large craft
Some coverage requires expensive package
Foremost is one of the best boat insurance providers when it comes to the variety of discounts available. You can save money on your policy by paying in full, taking a safety course, having protective features in your boat, or simply being 55 or older. You can also select a package based on your needs. The low-end package offers basic, inexpensive coverage while the deluxe Elite package includes lots of add-ons, such as hurricane haul-out and even pet coverage.
Whether you want a low-cost insurance policy to cover the bases or one that will protect you from every feasible situation, Foremost has a policy package that will fit that need. It also has specialized packages for older boats and high-speed boats. You can work with an insurance agent or get an online quote in as little as two days.
Foremost is one of our top choices thanks to the sheer variety of policy packages it offers and breadth of discounts available. You can choose a plan that fits your needs and your budget, protecting your boat and your family without breaking the bank.
Customizable policies let you select your coverages
Price as low as $100 per year
Pros & Cons
More than ten discounts available
Choose your coverages
Bundle with other policies
Long list of limitations based on boat age, value, and use
Progressive is a well-known insurance company that helps match customers to the right type of insurance policies. If you need many different types of insurance, such as homeowners and auto coverage, in addition to boat insurance, that makes Progressive appealing. You can get a discount for bundling those policies.
Main Features: If you qualify for some of its discounts, Progressive can cover your boat for as little as $100 per year. It also offers a unique disappearing deductible option. For each year where you don’t make a claim, the deductible on your policy will decrease. Eventually, the deductible will reach $0, meaning you won’t have to pay a deductible for your next claim. You can also get accident forgiveness and other benefits that help keep the cost of coverage low.
Progressive is one of the top options for people looking to bundle multiple types of insurance coverage. With the wide variety of policies and the numerous discounts available, you can meet all of your insurance needs at a relatively low price.
Unusual coverages, such as rental coverage, available
Underinsured watercraft coverage available
Large insurer that you can trust
Can’t purchase cash value coverage
Few discounts advertised and available
State Farm is one of the nation’s largest insurers, which makes it a strong choice if you want to make sure the insurer you choose can make good on the policies it sells.
When you’re shopping for a policy, you’ll work with one of State Farm’s 19,000+ agents nationwide, getting personalized service that can help you choose the right types and levels of coverage for you. You can also bundle other types of insurance through State Farm, including home and auto coverage, which makes it a one-stop option for all your insurance needs.
Main Features: One of the top things that sets State Farm apart from the competition is the option to purchase some unique and unusual insurance coverages. Few insurers offer rental boat insurance or offer to cover your boat if you rent it out to someone else. If you do either of these things, State Farm may be the best choice out there.
You can also get some other nice perks, such as 24/7 roadside assistance, which is an atypical feature for boat insurance.
If you want to work with a large insurance provider that can offer every type of coverage you need, look no further than State Farm. The company is also a good choice if you feel like you can benefit from one of its unusual coverages.
Free boater safety programs that provide discounts
Extend coverage to Alaska, Mexico, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean
A++ rating from A.M. Best
Bundle with Geico policies for a discount
Commercial liability if you use your boat for tours or fishing
Unlimited towing package
Pros & Cons
Save money over time by taking safety courses
Available in every state
Many policy add-ons
Limited discounts listed
Some exclusions based on type of craft
No replacement-cost insurance
BoatUS offers its insurance policies through a partnership with Geico, one of the nation’s top insurance companies. If you want to work with a major insurer that has a strong credit rating, BoatUS is a strong option. You also get the benefit of being able to bundle your policies with Geico’s other coverages, such as auto and home insurance, which can make shopping for coverage easier and help you save money.
The insurer also offers a host of custom add-ons that you can apply to your policy, making it easy to customize your coverage.
Main Features: BoatUS is appealing for many reasons, but one of the top features of the insurer’s policies is that you can get coverage that applies across the United States, including Alaska, and add coverage across other countries, such as Mexico and the Bahamas. You can even use the insurer if you use the boat for business.
It’s hard to go wrong with BoatUS’s insurance policies. Given the backing from Geico, you can trust that the insurer will be able to pay out on its policies. The opportunity to customize your coverage to a significant extent and bundle it with other policies is a big win for customers.
Highly customizable policies appeal to advanced boaters
Few physical locations
Limited discounts for younger boaters
May not appeal to non-commercial boaters
Markel is an insurance company that focuses more on professional boaters, including those who run boat tours or fishing excursions, or who participate in fishing tournaments using their watercraft. For these serious boaters, Markel can be a very appealing choice, offering a massive list of optional policy add-ons that you can use to customize your coverage and get exactly the type of policy that is right for you. However, non-commercial boaters who only use their craft for a couple of months each year may not find this insurer to be as appealing.
Main Features: Markel’s top feature is its variety of specialty coverages that appeal to commercial boaters. It offers add-ons like professional angler liability, tournament fee reimbursement, theft away from home, and wreck removal coverage.
If you’re a serious boater or use your craft for business, Markel is one of the top insurance companies in the market. Those who are less serious about boating will likely be better off with another provider.
National Boat Owners Association – best for comparing policies
Getting a membership offers perks, such as discounts and towing service
Help with financing the purchase of a new or used boat
Coverage for many types of crafts
Get quotes online
Work with an agent to get personalized advice
Pros & Cons
Compare multiple quotes easily
Does not offer policies directly
Limited information about discounts
Membership requires an additional fee
The National Boat Owners Association (NBOA) isn’t an insurer itself. Instead, it’s a membership organization that boaters can join to interact with other boaters and get some benefits, such as help with financing boat purchases, warranty services, and other perks. Whether you’re a member or not, the NBOA has an insurance marketplace that you can use to find coverage for your boat. You can request a quote and get offers from multiple different insurers. The NBOA has insurance agents that can then help you compare those quotes and choose the best one.
Main Features: The main thing that sets NBOA apart isn’t in the insurance policies you can buy. The membership perks include discounts on a number of boat services, access to an online community, emergency towing services, travel perks, and on-road towing assistance.
If you’re already a member of the NBOA, using it for insurance is a no-brainer thanks to the ease of comparing policies and the discounts and perks available. Even if you’re not a member, you can use it as an easy way to shop around and compare policies.
Types of Boat Insurance Coverage and Discounts
Types of Coverage
Personal liability coverage
Towing and roadside assistance
Boat safety course
55 and older
How to Choose the Best Boat Insurance Companies?
Shopping for any type of insurance can be tricky. There are a lot of things to consider and you need to read the fine print carefully.
The top things to consider when selecting a boat insurance company include:
Coverage Options: Look at the different types of coverage available. Some insurers offer more or different types of coverage. For example, one might only cover your boat while another covers the boat and property on the boat. Don’t forget to check for coverage for towing, wreckage removal, and liability.
Policy Limits and Deductibles: Some insurers place limits on how much they’ll pay out if you file a claim. If your liability is larger than the limit, you could face out-of-pocket expenses, so make sure the limits aren’t very low. Also consider the deductible, which is how much you have to pay before the insurance kicks in. Low deductibles mean you pay less when filing a claim, but usually lead to higher premiums. A higher deductible will save you money on premiums, but you’ll have to pay more if something happens.
Premium Costs: Of course, price is a key concern when buying insurance. Don’t just choose the cheapest policy available, but don’t overpay for no reason. Make sure to check with multiple insurers and see how things like the boat’s age, size, and type impact price.
Financial Stability: Before buying a policy, make sure to check the insurer’s financial situation using an independent rating agency like A.M. Best Standard & Poor’s. The last thing you want is to file a claim only for the insurer to say they don’t have the cash to cover your costs.
Customer Service and Claims Processing: Good customer service is key for any insurance company. Make sure the company has good ratings from other customers and has a reputation for responsiveness and quick claims processing.
Discounts and Bundling Options: Many insurers offer multiple types of insurance, such as boat, auto, and home coverage. Bundling often leads to discounts and it’s just easier to get multiple policies in one place rather than working with different insurers. Also, look into the other discounts the insurers offer. You might save money by taking boating classes or having boat safety equipment on board.
Geographical Coverage: Think about the places you tend to use your boat or plan to bring it in the future. Confirm that any insurer you’re considering offers coverage in those areas. For example, some insurers will cover the use of your boat in the Bahamas or the Caribbean, but not all insurers will.
What is Boat Insurance?
Boat insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects your boats and offers liability protection for you while you’re operating it. The precise coverage will depend on the details of your policy.
For example, if your boat is parked in your driveway and gets damaged by a storm or stolen, your insurance will help pay for repairs or replacement. If you’re driving the boat and get into an accident or sink the boat, the insurance can help pay for any damages you’re liable for and the removal of the debris.
Is Boat Insurance a Good Idea?
Boat insurance typically isn’t legally required in the same way that auto insurance is, however, it’s still a good idea to buy a policy.
Protect your investment. Boats are expensive. If yours is damaged, stolen, or otherwise unusable, buying a new one could be hard. Insurance helps protect your investment and keep it operating.
Limit liability. Driving a boat is fun but can be dangerous. An accident can mean serious injuries or even death. If you’re in an accident and get sued, insurance could save you from bankruptcy.
Other benefits. Many policies offer additional perks, such as roadside assistance when you’re towing your boat or discounts on other boat-related services.
When to Get Boat Insurance?
If you own a boat, you should start thinking about getting boat insurance. Some common times to buy a policy include:
When you buy a new boat. Getting a new boat is expensive, and getting insurance for it can protect your purchase.
When it’s legally required. In most states, insurance is optional, but some, such as Utah, require it.
The easiest way to get boat insurance is to work with an insurance agent or to get a quote online. Insurance agents offer personalized service and may help guide you to the right types of coverage, but online quotes are easy to get on your own.
How to get a boat insurance quote
To get a boat insurance quote, follow these steps:
Choose an insurer and visit their website
Start the online quote process
Provide information about your identity and where you live
Select policy limits, deductibles, and other details
Receive your quote
Types of Boat Insurance
Boat insurance encompasses many different types of coverage. Different policies include different types of coverage, so it’s important to understand what applies to your boat insurance policy.
Different types of insurance include:
Liability coverage. This protects you if you cause an accident and have to cover expenses related to that accident.
Property damage. If you damage someone’s property with your boat, such as by crashing into a dock and damaging it or bumping into someone else’s boat, this covers the cost of repairs.
Bodily injury. Another type of liability coverage, this pays for medical bills and other expenses related to injuries you cause.
Collision. This covers repair or replacement costs for your own boat after an accident.
Comprehensive. Comprehensive coverage protects your boat from things that happen to it outside of operation. For example, theft, vandalism, and weather damage are all covered by this coverage.
Uninsured/underinsured boater. If you get into an accident with another boater and they’re found liable but don’t have sufficient insurance, this coverage steps in to help cover your costs.
Towing. This pays for towing your boat across the water if it breaks down.
What Does Boat Insurance Cover
What your boat insurance policy covers will largely depend on the details of the policy you buy. Some boat insurance policies include coverages that others don’t.
Most boat insurance companies will cover things like damage caused to the boat during normal operation, as well as liability that you face during accidents or from damaging someone else’s property.
What Boat Insurance Doesn’t Cover
Many boat insurance policies have exclusions, meaning damage or other problems that they won’t cover. Before you buy a policy, you need to understand what is excluded.
Common exclusions include:
Normal wear and tear from operation
Improper storage and transportation
Animal, insect, or mold damage
Damage from marine life
Use in competitions
Use outside of specified geographic regions
What Type of Boat Insurance Do I Need?
Deciding on the type of boat insurance that you need can be tricky.
A good baseline is to purchase a policy that includes liability coverage and collision coverage. This will keep you protected if you cause an accident or if something happens to your boat while you’re operating it. Comprehensive coverage can add more protection against other perils, like weather damage.
You also need to decide between an agreed value and an actual cash value policy.
An agreed-value policy tends to be more expensive but will pay you a benefit based on the value of the boat at the time you signed the policy. Actual cash value policies are cheaper but will pay you less as the boat ages and depreciates in value.
What To Look for When Shopping for the Best Boat Insurance?
When shopping for the best boat insurance, the first thing to do is figure out what type of coverage you want to include in your policy. Then, you can rule out insurers that don’t offer those coverages.
That should leave you with a smaller list of insurers. You can then start comparing them more in-depth. First, make sure that the insurer you choose is financially stable and likely to pay out when you make a boat insurance claim. Then, consider factors such as the ease of getting a quote and customer service.
Of course, don’t forget to compare the available discounts and prices. If you can get equivalent policies from two boat insurance providers, but one is much cheaper, go for the better deal.
Boats are a lot of fun, but they can also be incredibly expensive to own, operate, and maintain. Boat insurance is an inexpensive way to protect your investment and to make sure you can enjoy your watercraft for years to come.
When buying insurance, don’t just choose the first policy you find. Take the time to shop around, customize the coverages that you want or need, and look for the best deal. Putting in a bit of effort can help you save a lot of money in the long run.
Do you have to pay if your boat sinks?
If your boat sinks, you’re generally liable for removing the wreckage from the area. Unless the area is very shallow and you’re a strong swimmer, that usually means hiring a pricey removal service.
Boat insurance can help cover the cost of removing wreckage, which could save you a lot of money.
Does homeowners insurance cover my boat?
Homeowners insurance may offer a very small amount of coverage for your boat, such as $1,000 or so in protection for damage while it’s parked in your driveway. You’ll probably want to buy specialized boat insurance.
Is a boat motor covered under insurance?
Boat motors are often covered by boat insurance, but you have to read the fine print of your policy. Your policy will detail specific covered events where the motor is covered and situations where damage to the motor will not be covered.
Is it worth getting boat insurance?
Yes, boat insurance is well worth getting. Boats cost large amounts and you can cause serious injuries or damage while operating a boat. Some insurers have policies as cheap as $100 per year that can offer tens of thousands of dollars in liability protection.
Is it worth insuring an old boat?
Yes, insuring an old boat can still be worth doing. Your policy can help pay for repairs or replacement if the boat is damaged and the liability protection a policy offers is valuable regardless of your boat’s age.