Do you need boat insurance?

Arkansas and Utah are the only states that mandate boat insurance by law. However, some marinas and municipalities often require you to have a boat insurance policy in order to dock your boat. And if you finance your watercraft, you lender may require you to carry a boat policy with physical damage coverages. Even if boat insurance isn't required, it can be critical in protecting your boat and your assets if you're liable in a boat accident.

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Man jumping off a boat

Which boat insurance coverages are required?

Boat insurance is optional by law in 48 states, but, depending on your circumstances, you may need the following boat insurance coverages:

  • Liability: Your state, municipality or marina may require a minimum amount of liability coverage
  • Comprehensive and collision: If you have a loan on your boat, your lender may require you to carry comprehensive and collision for protection against physical damage

Even if your boat is paid off and your marina or state doesn't require coverage, boat insurance can be essential in safeguarding your watercraft and your assets.

How much boat insurance do you need?

The amount of boat insurance you need will vary based on your location, situation, and type of boat. The following coverages can help safeguard you and your watercraft, whether you're liable for a boating accident, your boat is stolen or damaged, or your vessel is disabled or sinks.

Bodily injury and property damage liability

Liability coverage on your boat insurance policy pays for injuries or damages you cause while boating, as well as potential lawsuit costs. Since all boat policies will have liability coverage, the only question is how much coverage you'll need. Your liability coverage limits should be enough to cover your assets in case you're liable in a boat accident. For instance, if your net worth is $200,000, then you should have at least that much in liability coverage on all of your insurance policies, including boat.

Comprehensive and collision coverage

Comprehensive and collision are often required by lenders for financed boats. These coverages can pay to repair or replace your boat, minus your deductible, if it's vandalized, stolen, damaged from fire or weather-related issues, or collides with a watercraft, animal, or object.

Choosing a comprehensive and collision deductible for your boat policy comes down to how much you're comfortable paying out of a pocket in case of a claim. You can lower the cost of boat insurance by increasing your deductible amount.

Fuel spill and wreckage removal coverage

If your watercraft sinks and removal is legally required by a marina or the government imposes a fine because a fuel spill from your boat has made the water unsanitary, many boat insurers, including Progressive, offer coverage for fuel spills and wreckage removal.

Learn more about what boat insurance covers.

Pro tip:

Worried about being stranded on the water? Progressive's Sign & Glide® On-Water Towing pays for towing, jump starts, soft un-groundings and fuel delivery. If your boat is disabled, just call our dispatch center and pay nothing (except fuel costs, in case we need to bring you fuel because you've run empty).

Do you need insurance for a boat trailer?

While insurance for your boat trailer is optional, damage to your trailer is automatically covered when you add the trailer to your Progressive boat policy. Learn more about boat trailer insurance.

Do you need boat insurance when it's in storage?

Yes, boat insurance can still be important for protecting your boat while it's in storage. Comprehensive coverage can pay to repair or replace your boat, minus your deductible, if damaged by hail or other weather-related perils while it's stored. Comprehensive can also pay to replace your boat if it's vandalized or stolen while in storage, minus your deductible.

Plus, if you keep your boat insured, you don't have to reactivate your policy once you're ready to get back out on the water.

Do you need insurance on an older boat or a fishing boat?

Even inexpensive watercraft are involved in accidents. While you may decide that paying for physical damage coverages for a boat worth less than a few thousand dollars isn't worth it, boat liability coverage is typically affordable and can still be essential if you're liable for injuries or damages while boating.

How to get boat insurance


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

Get a boat insurance quote online

Call a rep

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

Call 1-866-749-7436

Through an agent

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

Find an agent online

Enjoy life on the water with boat insurance from Progressive

Learn more about our boat insurance offering.