What is boat insurance?

Boat insurance is an agreement between you and your insurance company that protects your watercraft and trailer, any damage you cause to others while boating, and other events. As with auto insurance, you’ll select and purchase “coverages,” which are things your insurer agrees to pay for.

How does boat insurance work?

Whether you buy watercraft insurance on your own, from an agent, or through a marine dealer, you’ll be asked some basic questions about you, your boat, and the coverages you’re looking for. All these factors will affect your price for insurance. Then, if you damage your boat or hit someone/something else, you’ll file a “claim” with your insurer. If it’s covered, they’ll pay for the losses or injuries up to your coverage limits.

Do you need boat insurance?

If you’re using your watercraft strictly for pleasure, only a few states mandate that you have boat insurance in certain circumstances. However, if you’re financing your boat, most lienholders will require you to carry insurance with comprehensive and collision coverage. In addition, if you plan to dock your boat, some marinas and harbors will require you to show proof of liability coverage. Regardless of the value of your boat, liability coverage is important and comes standard on watercraft insurance policies.

One of the biggest myths about boat insurance is that you and your boat will be adequately covered under home insurance. While your homeowners policy may offer minimal protection in some instances, it won’t offer the kind of coverage you need on the water—especially if you’ll be operating a large powerboat. Powerboats are typically more expensive and prone to accidents compared to small boats with smaller motors.

How to get boat insurance?

At Progressive, you can buy watercraft insurance anytime and you can usually get coverage immediately. If necessary, we can provide you a verification of insurance form via fax or email. Prices can vary depending on how you buy. Here’s how you can purchase a boat policy through Progressive.


We’ll ask easy questions about you and your boat, then you choose coverages.

Call a rep

You'll speak with a licensed representative who will guide you through everything.

Through an agent

If you want local advice, we'll connect you with a licensed, independent agent near you.

What’s covered

Standard coverages

These are the coverages available in most states. Remember, boat insurance usually doesn’t cover maintenance or general wear and tear.

Damages/injuries you cause

Liability: Pays for any damages or injuries you cause while boating, including:

  • Damage to other watercraft
  • Damage to objects (docks, pilings, other boats, etc.)
  • Other boaters’ and their passengers’ injuries
  • Injuries to your passengers, including those skiing, boarding, or tubing

Damages to your boat from events beyond your control

Comprehensive: Covers events out of your control, such as:

  • Theft and vandalism
  • Explosions and fire
  • Hurricanes, lightning, and other weather-related damage
  • Falling trees or other objects

Damages to your boat from accidents

Collision: Covers any damage to your boat if you collide with another watercraft or object (even if it’s submerged), regardless of fault. You’re also covered if your boat capsizes.

Damages or injuries from uninsured boaters

Uninsured/underinsured boater bodily injury: Covers injuries you suffer at the hands of an uninsured or underinsured boater, up to the limits of your policy.

Your injuries

Medical payments: Pays for the medical bills for you and your passengers if you’re in a covered accident, regardless of fault. In some states, this coverage will begin once you’ve exhausted your health insurance coverage limits.

Coverages we’ll automatically include on your boat policy

Keep in mind, some of these coverages are exclusive to Progressive!

Full value for replacement parts

No depreciation on repairs: We’ll always make sure your watercraft is restored to its pre-accident condition or better. For instance, if you crash into a submerged object and your 10-year old motor is damaged beyond repair, we’ll replace it. That means your motor may have only been worth $4,000 before the accident, but, after filing your claim with us, you could have a new motor valued at $15,000!

Sunken boat and fuel spills

Wreckage removal and fuel spills: Progressive covers the cost of removing a sunken boat from the water (if removal is required by law). We’ll also pay for the cost of cleaning up a fuel spill, regardless of whether or not your boat sinks.

Tubing, wake surfing, and other sports coverages

Water sports coverages: If you’re liable for damages or injuries because you or someone on your boat was knee boarding, tubing, wake surfing, or another similar activity, Progressive will cover you up to your policy’s limits. We don’t cover parasailing, kite boarding, or any activity in which a person is pulled through the air.

Free towing for your tow vehicle

Roadside assistance: If you choose boat trailer coverage on your policy, we’ll pay for your tow to the nearest repair shop if your trailer or tow-vehicle becomes disabled. You can still get this coverage even if your tow vehicle isn’t insured with Progressive!

No rate increase for certain accidents

Accident forgiveness: We won’t increase your rate if you have a claim that costs $500 or less. Plus, if you’ve been with us for four years and haven’t filed a claim in the last 36 months, we won’t raise your rate for your first accident over $500.

Extra coverages you can add

Brand new boat if you total yours

Total loss replacement: If your boat is no more than one model-year old, you can add total loss replacement coverage. Then, if it’s totaled within five model-years, we’ll buy you a new one or reimburse you the amount you originally paid for the boat (it’s your choice). After five model-years, you’re still covered for the amount you originally paid, regardless of the boat’s value at the time of the total loss.

Food and lodging expenses if you break down

Trailer trip interruption: If you’re more than 100 miles from home and your trailer or tow vehicle breaks down, we’ll pay you up to $500 for food, hotel, and transportation expenses.

Fishing equipment or carry-on items

Progressive covers you up to $10,000 for total replacement of fishing equipment and up to $5,000 for personal property like scuba gear, marine binoculars, or any items that are lost or stolen.

25% deductible drop

Disappearing deductibles: For every claim-free policy term, we’ll subtract 25% from your deductible amount. For instance, if you buy a Progressive watercraft policy and your collision deductible is $1,000, we’ll lower it to $750 if you haven’t filed a claim by your first renewal. If you’re still claim-free at your next renewal, your deductible amount will drop another 25%. And so on, all the way down to $0.

Propulsion Plus mechanical breakdown coverage®

In case of a mechanical breakdown, Progressive pays to repair or replace the lower unit of an outboard motor or the lower and upper units of an inboard/outboard motor. This coverage is a rare instance when your insurer will cover something potentially caused by wear and tear.

On-water towing

Sign & Glide® on-water towing: Progressive pays for on-water towing, jump-starts, soft un-groundings, and fuel delivery if your boat is disabled on the water. Contact our towing center by calling 1-888-955-0025, and we’ll make sure the tow operator is completely paid for and on their way to help!

How boat insurance is priced

Insurers will look over a variety of factors, and pricing all comes down to risk: How likely are you to have a boat accident and what will it cost? Here are a few of the essentials that will determine your price:

Claims history: If you don’t have a record of auto or boat insurance claims, your insurer will consider you less likely to have an on-water accident.

Type of boat: Just like with cars and motorcycles, your boat’s year, make, and model will affect your price. Newer boats generally cost more to replace, and boats designed for speed often cost more to insure than lower-performance boats. Whether you have an inboard or outboard motor will also influence your rate.

Boating experience: The longer you’ve spent on the water, the better. Experienced boaters are also less likely to have an accident. Completing a watercraft safety course may also help bring down the cost of boat insurance.