Before you launch your newly purchased vessel, make sure you have adequate boat insurance in case you encounter rough seas or other calamities.
Your boat is probably a recreational vehicle that you use to fish, get to your cottage or cruise the waterways.
Even so, it’s probably one of the biggest cash investments you’ve made, after your home, cottage and car. So whether you have a small runabout with an outboard motor or sail the seas on a large cruiser, you should sink some money into insurance before your vessel sinks or suffers other calamities.
Home coverage probably doesn’t count
Some people believe that their boats are covered under their home insurance. In reality, though, that’s not necessarily correct, and even if they are, coverage will probably be limited. It may offer only a limited payout, or only cover the boat while it’s on your home property. So if the boat’s riding in the water or being transported to it, it could be doing so without insurance protection.
Areas of coverage
A boat insurance policy should insure you against most of the risks of owning and operating your boat, its motor and trailer. This would include protection against liability lawsuits and making medical payments in case of injury.
As far as risk, the policy should cover sinking, fire, capsizing, collision, storms, theft, stranding and explosions. The property covered should include equipment attached to the boat: motors, trolling motors, oars, anchors, canopies, extra fuel tanks, seat covers, lifejackets and more.
With boat liability insurance you would be covered if you injure someone with your boat or damage their property. The insurance should provide protection for legal liability because of an accident resulting from ownership, maintenance or use of your watercraft.
For additional coverage, you might also consider getting emergency service costs, reasonable expenses for wreck removal, and repair costs incurred to protect the boat from further damage.
Problems in transit
While towing your boat somewhere, chances are that your auto insurance policy will extend to cover damage or injury to others done by your towed boat and/or trailer. But you should check that your liability limits are high enough. Also make sure that your boat insurance policy has the optional coverage for the trailer.
The savvy shopper and boater will shop around for the best insurance policy and coverage, and take discounts where they can find them. Most insurance companies will offer a discount, for example, if you have taken a boating safety course.
Other discounts could apply for choosing a slower, safer boat over a faster, high-performance one, or having a clean motor vehicle driving record (yes, what you do on the road affects your dominion of the seas).
And of course, the more expensive your boat, the higher you'll pay for premiums. That rubber dinghy may be looking better and better all the time.