5 tips from a boat coverage expert
Ahhhh, spring. The days are getting longer. The temperature is on the rise. And boaters from all over the country are looking forward to fun, sun, and plenty of water-ski runs.
However, before you dip your toes (and your boat) into the water, Progressive Boat Insurance Manager Rick Stern recommends taking a quick step back.
“Just as you uncover and prep your boat for the warmer weather, spring is the perfect time to also think about your boating insurance,” he says.
Rick offers several pieces of advice.
1. Make sure you’re covered with the essentials
At a minimum, no boater should be on the water without liability coverage. Liability protects your assets should you cause an accident that hurts someone else or their property.
2. Make sure you’re covered if another boater doesn’t have the essentials
Next, consider some uninsured boater coverage. This makes sure you get some reimbursement in case an uninsured boater injures you or your passengers.
Rick cited a recent claim concerning a Progressive customer who was sitting on his boat enjoying a relaxing summer night on the water.
“Some guy was racing another boat and plowed right into him, totaling our customer’s boat,” Rick said. “The guy who hit him was cited for BUI (boating under the influence) and had no insurance. Because our customer had coverage, we not only wrote him a check for the full amount of his boat, but also paid for his medical expenses and lost wages while he recovered from his injuries.”
3. Consider optional coverages to protect your investment and pay medical bills
Comprehensive, collision, and medical payments coverage—which are fairly affordable—offer additional peace of mind.
4. Consider customizing your policy with specialized coverages
Finally, depending on how you use the boat (e.g., fishing, water-skiing, socializing, etc.), you should consider affordable and practical specialized coverages, such as:
- Fishing Equipment pays for lost or stolen fishing equipment. Add it to your policy for as little as $2 per month.
- Propulsion Plus® pays to repair or replace your outdrive or lower unit in the event of a mechanical breakdown. Monthly prices vary depending on the boat.
- Sign and Glide® pays for towing, jump starts, fuel delivery, and soft ungroundings. Add it for as little as $3 per month.
- Personal Effects reimburses you if personal items are lost, damaged or stolen while you’re on your boat. Add it for as little as $1 per month.
- Medical Payments pays reasonable medical expenses for injuries sustained on your boat. Add it for as little as $1 per month.
- Disappearing Deductibles lowers your deductible every policy period that you don’t make a claim. After four claim-free years, your deductible is gone. Add it for less than $2 per month.
5. Keep your boat insurance year-round
Although we’re thinking spring, Rick has one more bit of advice related to the off-season.
Many boat owners drop their coverage in the winter because they’re not using their boat or it’s stored away in a shed or garage.
Rick instead encourages boaters to think about staying covered year-round. Think about the risk of saving a few bucks in premium versus the reward of staying protected and avoiding costly repair bills.
“If, say, your engine block cracks from the cold, or the roof of your shed collapses from heavy snow and crushes your boat, all those repair expenses would be paid by your insurance company if you have appropriate coverages,” said Rick.
To get your insurance ready for the boating season, call your independent agent or get a boat insurance quote online.
“Be sure to ask if there are any new coverages that you’re not aware of that currently aren’t on your policy,” Rick said. “You’ll probably be surprised at how affordable they are.”