“Being on a boat that’s moving through the water, it’s so clear. Everything falls into place in terms of what’s important and what’s not.” –James Taylor
Bliss, isn’t it? Of course we all think of ‘safety first’ when out on the open water - we’ve got our life vests and navigation systems - but it’s easy to forget that properly insuring the boat itself can save you a boatload of problems in case of a claim.
If you’re new to boat insurance, these pointers will help you navigate these complex waters. If you have existing boat insurance, it might be the perfect time to talk to your broker to make sure they’re up-to-date on any changes that need to be made - or to guide you in a better direction if options have opened up.
A common question from first-time boat owners is, “Doesn’t my homeowner’s policy take care of it?” Most homeowner’s policies have significant restrictions and exclusions for boats and personal watercraft. Your homeowner’s policy may cover inexpensive, slow, and small craft (canoes, kayaks, dinghies, etc.) but when it comes to personal watercraft like Wave Runners/Jet Skis, any watercraft that can exceed 40km/h, large sailboats or yachts... DO NOT assume that your boat, guests, or personal property are covered by your homeowner’s policy!
Good comprehensive boat insurance will protect your investment, as well as safeguard you from liability claims from injury or property damage. Rather than listing each individual element of boat insurance here, it’s best to consult with a knowledgeable broker who will help you understand exactly what you can expect to be covered for in case disaster strikes. Generally, anything that is permanently attached to the boat is covered; but don’t guess. Ask.
Make sure you understand the two types of cover available, and the risks associated with each:
Actual cash value pays the value of your boat at the time of the damage/destruction. The insurance company determines its market value.
Agreed amount value. If the boat is destroyed, the insurer pays a previously-agreed amount. If it can be repaired, old items are replaced with new without deducting for depreciation.
There is more to consider when choosing a policy, including the intended use of your boat (personal or commercial); its size and horsepower; where you will be using it; whether operation requires a license; and whether you’ll be participating in racing of any kind.
You will also want to consider the risk you are comfortable carrying as well as costs (lower deductibles/greater cover, or higher deductibles/lower premiums).
So… how do you choose the best policy for your boat? Our best tip is:
DO NOT base your cover on price alone. Consider the intended use and what you want to be covered for, the risk you are willing to assume, and talk to a knowledgeable broker who will help you navigate the intricacies of boat insurance and help you choose the best cover for you.
Now is the perfect time to get more information about your options or to review your current policy to see if it still meets your needs. Check out our free Boat Insurance Comparison Tool – just submit a quote request and our expert brokers will find the best policy for you at the best possible price!