Boats are usually quite expensive, they often present significant liability risks to you, and even being used safely, they can entail some amount of risk to the vessel and its operators. Also, many marinas require you to insure your boat.
Boat insurance policies may cover the vessel itself, for its actual cash value or for its agreed value. If your boat is insured for its actual cash value, that means the policy protections will decrease as the boat depreciates in value. Policy protections stay the same over time for agreed-value plans.
Additional coverage is usually available for collision, bodily injury liability, property damage, repairs, medical payments, uninsured and underinsured boaters, personal belongings, equipment, trailers, towing, and removal. You could also purchase a comprehensive policy.
Standard boat insurance policies will cover most boats that are larger, faster, and more valuable than simple canoes and kayaks. Only specialized policies, however, will cover yachts and personal watercraft like Jet Skis.
10 Best Boat Insurance Providers of 2020
Here are the top 10 providers of the best boat insurance:
- Erie Insurance
- The Hartford
- Travelers Insurance
- Farmers Insurance
- Liberty Mutual
This Pennsylvania-based insurance company operates on a regional level, working with thousands of independent agents in select states throughout the Midwest, Northeast, and Upper South.
In addition to boat insurance, Erie offers life, auto, business, and home insurance policies.
Boat insurance from Erie provides you with additional watercraft liability protection beyond what’s available from a homeowners policy.
This covers you for damage to your boat as well as to others’ property, and for medical expenses for yourself and others.
Erie’s coverage also includes emergency towing expenses, personal property on the boat, and fire extinguisher recharging after a fire that’s covered by the policy.
International insurance and financial company MetLife is known for employer-provided benefits, group policies, and supplemental consumer plans.
MetLife provides insurance products such as homeowners’ coverage, auto policies, and life insurance. Retirement and financial management products are also available.
A MetLife boat insurance policy is offered through MetLife Auto & Home. You’ll be protected against hurricanes, floods, theft, fire, sinking, or boating accidents. Injuries suffered by your passengers are covered.
Boat insurance policies from MetLife provide liability protection against lawsuits you incur due to an accident. Additional benefits include boat repairs and uninsured or underinsured boater coverage.
Progressive is known as one of the largest providers of auto insurance in the U.S.
They also offer a wide variety of property, commercial, and personal insurance policies as well as financial services. They claim to insure more than one million watercraft.
Progressive’s standard boat insurance policy includes full replacement cost coverage, bodily injury and property damage liability, fuel spill protection, wreckage removal costs, water sports coverage, and if your trailer is protected, roadside assistance.
Some boat owners can also purchase additional coverage from Progressive for total loss replacement, water towing, mechanical breakdowns, fishing equipment, and personal property. Comprehensive and collision coverage are also available, as are uninsured and underinsured boater coverage, medical payment insurance, and trailer trip interruption protection.
Esurance is a subsidiary of Allstate and is available in 43 states throughout the country. Founded in San Francisco in 1999, this company offers auto insurance as well as homeowners, motorcycle, and renters insurance coverage.
Boat insurance policies from Esurance can be customized to meet your needs. You’ll be able to purchase a policy that provides liability protection, wellbeing coverage, and insures your boat, as well as the personal belongings on it, against damage.
Supplemental uninsured and underinsured boater coverage is also available, as is emergency assistance.
Nationwide claims to be the largest farm and ranch insurer in the country. This national insurance provider also offers retirement savings, investment opportunities, banking services, loans, and other financial products. They sell personal and commercial insurance policies.
Standard Nationwide Boat Insurance Coverage: Standard boating coverage options from Nationwide include protections for bodily injury liability, property damage liability, and medical payments. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is also available, as are collision and comprehensive coverage options.
Optional Nationwide Boat Insurance Coverage: Nationwide offers optional coverage for personal belongings on the boat, including fishing equipment, as well as roadside assistance and on-water towing. If you also insure your boat trailer, roadside assistance is already included.
Packages for Nationwide Boat Insurance Coverage: Specialized coverage packages are available depending on how you use your boat. If you take your boat out during the day or keep it out overnight, and if you use it for fishing in shallow or deep waters, you’ll be interested in different options.
From its home base in the Chicago area, Allstate operates one of the largest insurance companies in the country while also conducting business in Canada.
Financial planning products and wealth transfer services are also part of Allstate’s catalog of offerings.
Allstate offers a full range of boating protection policies. Coverage includes watercraft liability and medical payments, property protection, repair costs, emergency services, uninsured boater plans, and agreed-value options.
You can also get coverage for personal belongings and boat equipment, including trailers.
The Hartford is a well-known Connecticut-based insurance company that underwrites policies for AARP.
They sell property and casualty products, as well as group policies, through a national network of brokers and agents. The Hartford also offers mutual fund investments. This company has been ranked several times as a World’s Most Ethical Company by Ethisphere Institute.
Boat insurance from The Hartford is customizable and underwritten by American Modern Insurance Group through the Nutmeg Insurance Agency.
Policies from The Hartford surpass general homeowners’ policy endorsements. Customers can buy coverage for physical damage, liability, medical payments, uninsured boaters, total loss replacement, personal belongings, emergency assistance, and towing.
Optional coverage is available for accessories, trailers and boat lifts, and agreed- or market-value hull protection.
Travelers is an international insurance company based in the United States, and it’s one of the largest insurance companies in the country.
Travelers writes its own policies for personal insurance as well as for commercial property and businesses. They also sell bond and specialty insurance plans.
Standard boat and yacht policies from Travelers cover against liability as well as towing and assistance reimbursement.
You’ll also be insured for physical damage to your boat and personal belongings, and you’ll have protection for uninsured boaters, medical payments, fuel spills, and mechanical breakdowns.
Travelers also offers policies that protect yachts. The company will pay up to 50% of what it costs to move yachts to safety when named windstorms approach. This payment maxes out at $1,000 per instance and $2,000 per policy period. Other yacht protections are available.
Farmers is known for its personal and small business insurance products. This prominent insurance company offers policies through a national network of independent and exclusive agents. Farmers also sells financial products like variable annuities, and they offer customers the opportunity to invest in mutual funds.
Standard boat insurance coverage options from Farmers Insurance are available in three tiers to meet three different kinds of needs.
These tiers are known as Saver, Plus, and Elite.
The Saver level provides actual cash value coverage, while the Plus tier includes extra features like total loss replacement cost, water sports liability protection, diminishing deductibles, and hurricane haul-out protection.
Elite plans add coverage for navigating around the Bahamas and Mexico, protection for trip interruption, pets, pollution liability, and more.
Different packages are available for insuring pontoons, classic vessels, performance boats, and personal watercraft.
Liberty Mutual Insurance
International insurance provider Liberty Mutual is highly regarded in the field of property and casualty insurance.
Liberty Mutual sells consumer insurance as well as group policies for disability and life insurance, and commercial policies for small, midsize, and large businesses.
Boat insurance plans through Liberty Mutual are customizable, and standard coverage includes liability protection.
Additional coverage is available for emergency boat service, physical damage, and boat accessories. You can also purchase insurance for personal watercraft and yachts.
About Boat Insurance
Boat insurance is a way for a consumer to make sure that their boat is protected in the event of damage, or perhaps it needs towing, or numerous other factors.
But like the boats themselves, there is a wide range of policies that are designed to be tailored to the needs of the situation, as well as the boat itself.
To understand boat insurance, it’s crucial to recognize that starting to hunt for a policy begins with knowing what the boat will be used for.
For starters, what type of boat is it? If a consumer is looking to have a small bass fishing boat insured, that is considerably different than insuring a luxury yacht.
Who Needs Boat Insurance?
Similar to car insurance, boat insurance is typically required for larger boats.
Essentially, if the boat has a motor and can travel faster than 25 mph, it’ll likely need some type of coverage. This can even include personal watercraft that some might not consider being a boat, such as a Wave Runner or Jet Ski.
However, the legality of whether or not a boat must be insured is ultimately up to the state in which the owner resides. Or rather, where the boat is going to be used. It’s best that a consumer check the specifics of the state they reside in.
Additionally, even if a state doesn’t require certain types of coverage, a consumer might need this in order to acquire a bank loan for the boat, for example.
Another example might be that if a boat owner wants to dock their boat at a specific marina, that marina might require boaters to have certain types of coverage, whether it is mandatory in that state or not.
So again, a consumer needs to research the specifics as they pertain to their own location, financial situation, and intended use for the boat.
While this is not a definite list, as discussed, here is an overall checklist that can provide a consumer with a better understanding of what is typically required when it comes to boat insurance.
- Yes: Larger boats or boats with a motor than can travel faster than 25 mph, such as: yachts, jet boats, sailboats, personal watercrafts
- No: Smaller boats with either a small engine or no engine at all, such as: canoes, paddleboats, small fishing boats
A boat can be a hefty expense, so if a consumer either has a boat already or is considering purchasing a boat, they should not only look to see if they are required to have it, but also look into the various types of protection that might be best for their situation.
What Does Boat Insurance Generally Cover?
Specifics of the boat aside, there are some general factors in place that can help a boat owner when it comes to looking for basic types of coverage.
Here are a few of them:
- Collision Damage: Will cover necessary repairs or even a replacement of a boat that incurs damage
- Property Damage Liability: If the policyholder is at fault for causing damage to another’s boat, dock, or other property, this policy will assist with those costs
- Bodily Injury Liability: This coverage is in place to pay for injuries sustained by another due to a policyholder’s actions, and usually includes medical bills, legal expenses, lost income, and more
- Comprehensive: If there is an event in which a boat is damaged or stolen by something other than a collision, such as vandalism, this policy will cover the cost
There are many types of additional coverage that a consumer can look into, or that a policyholder can add on to their current policy. These are largely dependent on the type of boat or additional concerns of the individual.
For example, if the boat is used for fishing, then it likely has a great deal of fishing equipment on it, and all together, that could be a considerable amount of money. Having coverage for fishing gear might be a wise consideration.
A consumer should customize their policy in the same way they customize their boat. Boats often come with personal features such as stereo systems, coolers or refrigerators, as well as more costly materials such as wood cabinetry or particular seat fabrics. The more personalized a boat, the more there is to consider when it comes to insurance.
“Agreed Value” and “Actual Cash Value”
On a basic level, a consumer will want to know the difference between an agreed value policy and an actual cash value policy. The main difference is how the depreciation of the boat is considered.
An agreed value policy typically costs more money, but it covers the boat at the value of the time the policy is written. This can be beneficial if a consumer has the money to pay more upfront.
On the other hand, an actual cash value policy takes depreciation into consideration, meaning the coverage cost will be the current value of the boat at the time the boat is declared a total or partial loss. Since the boat will depreciate over time, this means a consumer is likely to receive less than the boat cost at the time of signing the policy. However, it is cheaper, and boat insurance companies tend to prefer this option, with some even offering discounts or savings for going this route.
Boat Insurance Discounts
Similar to car insurance, there are many discounts that a policyholder can take advantage of when insuring their boat, whether it’s at the beginning of their policy, or they’ve earned these discounts along the way.
A common discount, for example, is lower rates for boaters who have taken a safety course. Even so, only 50 percent of boaters across the U.S. say they have taken a boat safety course.
While it depends on the specifics of a situation, some common considerations for receiving discounts are:
- Safe driving record
- Winter storage
- Freshwater use as opposed to saltwater use
- Boating safety education
What is the Best Boat Insurance For You?
There’s a wide range of boat insurance policies out there, and if you ever have to file a claim, you’ll be glad you invested the time it takes to find the right one for you.
Your coverage requirements depend on the type of boat you own, how you use it, and many other factors.
The best way to make sure you get a good price for your policy is by requesting quotes from multiple companies and comparing the amount you’ll spend to the kind of protection you’ll get.
Don’t wait. Discover the perfect policy for your sea-faring vessel today.*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that "timely" information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.