Five Important Boat Insurance Questions
The Chesapeake Bay region is one of the best places in the nation for recreational boating. Nationwide, the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) reports that one in ten households owns a watercraft.
New boat sales increased by 12 percent between 2019 and 2020. 2021 is likely to be another record-setting year. Which means, whether your boat is old or new, you’ll want to make certain its correctly insured to protect your investment and save money for the future so you can continue having fun boating. Taking time to choose the right insurance means you’ll be able to replace your watercraft if the unforeseen happens.
Before you purchase boat insurance, here are some important questions to ask yourself?
1) What equipment do you have on your boat? There are three different types of equipment to consider when insuring watercraft:
- Attached equipment. This is aftermarket equipment that is permanently mounted, like fish finders, wakeboard racks, LED lights or sound systems. Generally, you’ll include permanently attached equipment in the hull value.
- Unattached equipment. These are items that aren’t affixed to the boat, but are used exclusively with the boat, like oars, boat cover, water skis and fenders. Every boat will have unattached equipment, so you’ll want to ensure the policy written for you has adequate coverage for these items.
- Personal contents. These are items like clothing, a portable grill or a cell phone. For most customers, it won’t amount to much on any given trip, but make sure you have adequate protection for personal items to avoid filing a claim on your homeowners policy.
2) How much do you want the carrier to pay you if your boat is stolen or destroyed? New watercraft depreciate rapidly, but they hold value well over time. While actual cash value coverage is slightly less expensive, the settlement check will likely be disappointing. Purchasing agreed value coverage ensures you’ll be able to buy another watercraft in the event of a total loss.
3) Where do you use your boat? Many boaters think liability is limited to medical injuries. However, one of the largest liability exposures is wreckage removal and fuel spill liability.
If your boat sinks, you’ll be required to raise the boat and remediate any oil or fuel leakage. The cost can be staggering, especially in deep lakes or the ocean. Many policies have an internal limit of $50,000 and it is likely not enough, leaving you with a large bill to pay out of pocket. Ask about the details pertaining to your liability coverage.
4) Will you trailer your boat? Per the NMMA, 95% of boats are under 27 feet, which means they’re easily trailerable. Auto roadside assistance is for covered autos only. If the vehicle towing the boat breaks down, the tow company will leave the boat and trailer on the side of the road. Make sure you add roadside assistance to the boat policy to avoid additional towing fees.
5) How do you use your boat? Who else uses your boat? Boat owners sometimes have unusual exposures, like having co-owners, renting the boat out, or using it commercially as a fishing guide. These exposures can impact whether a boat is eligible for coverage with your carrier. Your insurance agent needs to know how your boat is being used in order to provide you with complete coverage.
At the Crilly Insurance Agency we can provide boat insurance quotes from multiple companies, enabling you to choose the one with the best rate and coverage for you needs. Give us a call at 410-571-1771 or visit our website at Crillyinsurance.com to email one of our licensed agents to ask for a free quote or to set up an appointment.