Hot sun and warm water are the norm during the summer months, and these conditions translate to boosted boat shopping and buying so people can enjoy the rays and sprays. If you're in the market for your own watercraft &emdash; or if you're about to wheel your own boat to the water for some sun-soaked fun &emdash; remember that it's also a good time to consider your boat insurance options.
What Types of Boat Insurance Are Available?
To cover your boat or personal watercraft (PWC), two types of insurance are available:
- A boat insurance policy from a company specializing in marine or boat insurance, such as Progressive, or
- Additional coverage on your homeowners policy.
Each of these options has major differences, so contact your insurer for more information and consider your needs before you decide which type of boat insurance to buy.
If you purchase a boat insurance policy from Progressive or another company that specializes in boat insurance, your policy is designed specifically for your boat. With a boat-specific policy, you'll have the option to choose Agreed Value coverage rather than Actual Cash Value coverage, which is the only type of coverage available with your homeowners policy.
The difference: Agreed Value coverage lets you decide what your boat is worth, and you'll receive that amount if your boat is totaled in a covered loss. Even if the actual cash value of the boat is less at the time, depreciation is not considered on claims with Agreed Value coverage.
Does Your State Require Boat Insurance?
Depending on where you live, you may be required to have insurance if you own a boat. If you're not certain whether you need it or not, you may want to contact your state insurance department or your insurer to find out if it's required. Regardless, be aware that boat insurance can cover you in potentially costly situations. So, even though it may not be required, you may want to consider purchasing boat insurance for protection both on and off the water.
Why Buy Boat Insurance if It Isn't Required?
It's always a good idea to have boat insurance, not just in situations that protect your boat from damage, but in situations that involve injuries to others or damage to other people's property. Consider the following situations in which boat insurance could benefit you:
- Fuel Spills - The environmental impact from a boating mishap that results in a fuel spill could be costly. For example, if you own a 39-ft. cabin cruiser that holds 300 gallons of gas and you wreck it in a state park, authorities may hold you responsible for the fuel cleanup. If you have a boat insurance policy, you may be covered for this type of damage. If not, you could be held responsible for paying the cleanup costs out of pocket.
- Noncontact Accidents - You may be responsible for your boat's wake, so if the wash that comes out of your boat when you're boating causes a wave that capsizes another boat, you could be liable for damage to the other boat.
- Protection Off the Water - Even if you're not boating, your boat insurance works for you. Let's say your boat is stored at a marina in the off season. Several situations could occur â€” your boat falls off the jackstands and clips another boat, your fuel tank leaks, your boat catches fire, etc. In all of these situations, having boat insurance could benefit you because the damage you cause to other property would be covered. Without boat insurance, you may have to pay for damages out of pocket if no other parties were at fault and/or no other coverages applied.
What Should You Consider Before Buying Boat Insurance?
Look at your options before you purchase boat insurance and gear your level of coverage to your level of living. For instance, if you have many assets, such as a home, cars, a business, etc., you may want to purchase a higher level of coverage.
If you have questions about boat insurance, you can contact Progressive 24/7 at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE (1-800-776-4737) for help. Or, get a boat insurance quote online anytime.
The information in this blog may vary based on your particular state or situation. Always refer to your insurance policy for your specific coverages.