Boat insurance is a special case of vehicle insurance.
Usually, a canoe or small 'un-motorized' boat will be covered under your home insurance policy as one of your belongings. In some cases even small boats with low powered motors will be covered. However, check your boat insurance policy to be sure. Also, remember that liability coverage will only extend to what your home insurance policy includes.
If you need to insure a larger, faster boat you'll need boat insurance. It's a separate insurance policy - not an endorsement to your home insurance. Many things will determine the cost of your boat policy, but typically the boat insurance company will look at the size, type and value of the boat (or personal watercraft like a jet ski) as well as the location where you use it, to determine the final cost.
If you get boat insurance, you will have better and broader liability protection than what your home insurance includes. You'll also get many of the same insurance coverages that you would normally have for your car:
- Theft, loss or damage of the vehicle and attached equipment
- Bodily injury coverage, if someone else is injured
- Damage caused to someone else's property by your boat or watercraft
- Liability coverage for your passengers, which would include family and guests
- Medical payment coverage for injuries to the occupants of the boat
Liability coverage varies. You can start as low as $15,000 and can increase as high as $300,000 or more.
You'll likely have a deductible. Remember that the higher your deductible, the lower your boat insurance premium.
You might need additional boat insurance coverage for boat trailers and other high-cost accessories. You might even want to buy umbrella liability if you own a boat, which will provide additional boat insurance coverage across the board for home, car and watercraft.
With boat insurance policy you might want to get towing included in your policy. While it doesn't make sense for cars (because there are lots of low cost alternatives) you have much more limited options on the water.
You should always inquire about potential discounts regardless of the type of insurance you are buying. With boat insurance here are some of the standard discounts:
Diesel versus Gas
If your boat runs on diesel fuel you should get a discount from your boat insurance company. Diesel fuel is much less inflammable, so the risk to the boat insurance company is lowered.
Approved fire extinguishers
No one thinks about fire with all that water around. But, fire on a boat can be devastating. Always have fire extinguishers, and - get the discount from boat insurers for having them.
To qualify for a boat insurance discount the radio should be a ship to shore radio. This helps keep you safe as well.
Discounts for being claims-free
Always worth asking for. If you've had boat insurance before and are shopping for a new policy see if your claims-free history can work for you.
Get all your insurance with one insurer
Multi-policy insurance discounts are an industry standard. If you get car, home or umbrella liability with the same insurer you should be getting a discount.
Water Safety Course
Take a safety course through the Coast Guard, U.S. Power Squadrons, Red Cross, or other recognized association.