While it might not be the best time to be out on the water in this damp and cool weather, it is the perfect time to prepare for when you can be! Today we are going to be talking about the truth behind your boat insurance!
Dreaming of warmer days and spending hours back on your boat? Or have you not stopped spending days on your boat regardless of the weather? Nothing a few layers can’t help with, right? Regardless if your boat is currently tucked gently away in storage or hasn’t missed a Saturday out, having the proper coverage and insurance is incredibly important. It is so important that we want to dedicate a whole blog about how to have the best boat insurance to enjoy life in the Lowcountry, and to help keep you safe on and off land!
What Do You Need To Know About Boat Insurance?
- The first step is choosing a plan that makes the most sense for you and your watercraft. If you feel uncomfortable in knowing what you need, sit down with us at Abri Insurance or with another trusted insurance agent or company to decide what is best for you. If you already have coverage for your boat, always make sure you know what is and what isn’t covered.
- The rate you will pay for your insurance will depend on many factors including the type and size of your boat, your driving record, where you boat, what you are using your boat for (recreational vs. a money-making venture), and if you’ve been formally trained or not on how to use your boat.
- For those of you who don’t boat all year round, there are saving options available to you. Some companies offer something called a “lay-up” which is a discounted insurance rate for when your boat is in storage for the off-season.
- Some homeowner’s insurance policies do offer coverage for your boat, but only to a certain extent. Make sure to know what your homeowner’s insurance covers when it comes to your boat and if it covers your boat at all! Don’t make any assumptions.
- Depending on its size, you will need a stand-alone policy for your boat. It is also recommended that if your boat costs between $10,000 and $20,000 regardless of its size, it should still have its own policy.
- Basic boat coverage only offers limited coverage for your personal belongings. You can add on additional coverage for your personal belongings if you wish, which may feel like you’re spending more, but in the long run, it will be a very smart investment and can help you save money.
- Extra coverage is very important outside of protecting your personal belongings. Please look into extra coverage for things like water towing, passenger injury, and fule spill liability.
- Do you need boat insurance? We would always answer yes. Like we mentioned above, your homeowner’s insurance does cover your boat, but only up to about $1,000 or 10% of what your home’s insurance value is, according to nerdwallet.com. If you own a boat, you know coverage like that will hardly cover anything at all. Liability coverage, the coverage that pays for damage done by your boat, is also not covered under home insurance.
- Please remember that mother nature does not have an off button or an offseason. While most boat owners here in Charleston really only pay attention to the weather during hurricane season, there is still a threat of damage all year round.
- Owning a boat comes with a risk factor outside of being on the water. Damage while transporting your boat, theft, vandalism, fire, and much more can happen all year round. This time of year, theft is very common, since your boat is sitting unattended in a boatyard. Protect yourself and your boat beyond the time you spend on the water.
- Your boat, not surprisingly, is an investment. Most owners will finance the purchase of their boat instead of paying for it upfront. In these cases, most lenders will require you to carry boat insurance all year round!
What Does Boat Insurance Cover?
Basic boat insurance will offer its owner a certain amount of protection, but adding on more coverage can be your best route of action. Let’s begin by talking about what your basic boat insurance policies will cover.
- Property Coverage – This will help in paying for repairs if your boat is damaged in an accident, from collision, fire, vandalism, theft, and damage done to permanently attached equipment like your anchor.
- Medical Coverage – This will help pay for the expenses you could incur if you or some else is injured on your boat, including X-rays, medications, and hospital visits or stays.
- Liability – This will help cover you if you are involved in an accident that results in damaging someone else’s property.
- Having insurance for your boat also helps if you get hit or are involved in an accident with an individual who is not insured.
- It is also best to speak with us at Abri about towing coverage, coverage for any special equipment you use for professional or recreational use on your boat, accessories, and your boat trailers.
- Also, consider adding on one of two damage coverage options. One is called an agreed amount value and the other is called actual cash value. In the case that your boat is destroyed, an agreed amount value plan will give you an amount of money that you and your insurance company agreed upon beforehand. The actual cash value option will give you the amount of money that the boat is worth on the market at the time of damage.
- Make sure to know where your insurance stands with coverage for gadgets, salvage, and mechanical breakdowns before going out on the water.
- If you are an owner of a yacht or a very large vessel, most policies will cover you for a certain amount of territory that you can navigate in and still be covered. If you venture outside of that area, you might not be covered.
- If you own or purchase an older boat, most insurance companies will send out a marine surveyor to assess the condition of the boat and its market value. However, it is always a safe option to have an inspection done like this even if it is not required.
- It is also very important to understand what your insurance will not cover. This includes damage from mold, insects, and zebra muscles. It does not cover damage from sharks or other creatures, normal wear and tear, and defective machinery or machine damage.
What Are Some Common Boat Insurance Myths?
- My driving record doesn’t affect my insurance premiums!
This is very false! Your driving record will be checked when you go to buy boat insurance, and the more violations you have the more expensive your premium could be, and it might even prevent you from getting insurance until your record is cleared up.
- Insurance rates for owning a boat are very high!
When it comes to owning any recreational vehicle or pursuing a hobby like owning a boat, you will have plenty out of pocket expenses. However, if you keep a good credit score, keep up with your excellent driving record, and take boat safety courses, you can be eligible for discounts on your premiums.
- My boat insurance will go up during hurricane season!
This is a mixed bag statement. For those who don’t live along the coast, hurricane season will not affect your insurance premium. However, for all of us here in the Lowcountry, insurance premiums are set due to your location. Since hurricanes are prevalent here, you might see higher monthly premiums than what your friends pay in landlocked stats who take their boat to the lake.
- I don’t need boat insurance.
While your local community might not require boat insurance by law, the marina you store your boat in and the company you financed it with will require that you do.
- My policy will cover my boat wherever I go!
Please know that your coverage will only cover you and your boat within a certain area. Before traveling and going far distances on land or water, make sure you know where you can go with your boat while still being covered!
Owning a boat is a huge responsibility but it will provide hours of fun and entertainment, and for all of our fishermen and shrimpers, a boat can help your business be very lucrative. We hope this information clears up any confusion or concern you have about your boating insurance. If you are still confused or have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to provide the best boat insurance in Charleston! We’re Abri Insurance and we are here to make sure you have the best coverage for life in the Lowcountry!