Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: How long has BoatUS been in the boat insurance business?
A: BoatUS has been providing an insurance program for Members for over 45 years.
- Q: How many people work on boat insurance at BoatUS?
A: Over 200 BoatUS staff members specialize in boat insurance, claims, underwriting, emergency dispatch, customer service, accounts, policy issuance, licensing, records management and more, to provide Members with fast, professional service.
- Q: Where do you provide insurance coverage?
A: The BoatUS program offers coverage in all 50 states to boat owners with a US address. In the state of California, the program is provided through Boat Association Insurance Services, license #0H87086. Seasonal cruising extensions are available to Canada, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Mexico. Premium discounts are available for selecting restricted cruising areas such as the Chesapeake Bay or Puget Sound. Let us know where you will be using your boat and we will match you to an appropriate area at the best rate available.
- Q: Am I required by law to have insurance on my boat?
A: To the best of our knowledge there are no state or federal laws that require a boat owner to have insurance on a boat. However, if you have a loan using the boat as collateral the bank will require insurance coverage listing them as a loss payee to cover their interest in your boat. Some states may require that you carry liability coverage, so please check with your local law agencies to see if your state has any requirements. Also, most marinas will require that you maintain boat insurance in order to keep your boat at their facility.
- Q: What is the minimum amount of insurance protection I should buy?
A: The program offers liability limits of $100,000, $300,000, $500,000 or in some cases $1,000,000. If you have an umbrella or other excess liability policy, you should make sure the Liability limit selected meets your needs. You may also have a minimum liability limit for a slip rental or storage agreement.
- Q: How much does insurance through BoatUS cost?
A: There are many factors that go into determining the premium for your boat – the amount of coverage you want, your boat's location, use, size, age, power type along with your ownership and operating experience. For a free quote, visit our online application or call 1-800-283-2883 to speak with an underwriter.
- Q: Is Price the most important factor to consider when purchasing boat insurance?
A: Not always. Unlike auto or home insurance where most companies offer the exact same coverage, boat insurance varies between companies. While the amount you pay for insurance has to be a factor in the selection of your protection package, it is more important to consider the types of losses covered, how much you will collect in the event of a loss, what assistance is available in an emergency, and what level of service you will receive. The boat owner should select a carrier, agent, and policy that meets their specific needs. In most cases this means not selecting a policy based on the price, but on what you get in return. Even large differences in premium will be made up quickly if you select an inadequate policy, an unknowledgeable agent or an indifferent carrier.
- Q: How can I save money on my boat insurance?
A: First and foremost, choose a policy that best fits your boating needs. Some factors that can influence your premium: Cruising area -- Where you cruise and when. It costs more to insure a boat in coastal waters than inland lakes and rivers, especially in areas exposed to hurricanes. Boating safety education -- You'll receive an insurance discount through the BoatUS program if you complete a safety course that's been approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) or complete the BoatUS Safety Course online. Good driving records -- Premium discounts are applied for clean driving records because BoatUS believes that if you are responsible behind the wheel of your automobile, you will also be responsible at the helm of your boat. Liability limits -- The higher the limit, the higher the cost. The size of your deductible -- The higher your deductible the lower your premium. Keeping your boat out of harms way -- Maintain your boat in a particularly secure location - secure from extraordinary weather patterns such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, etc. and/or secure from theft or vandalism. Catastrophic loss from weather or thieves is a significant cost factor in boat insurance.
- Q:Are there discounts for successfully completing safe boating classes?
A: Yes. Premium discounts are available with successful completion of any safe boating courses approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). These include courses by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Power Squadron, Red Cross, the online course administered by the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and others.
- Q: What type of losses does the policy cover?
A: All policies through the BoatU.S. program are "All Risk" which covers all external causes of loss except those specifically excluded. Coverage includes losses caused by hurricane, theft, flood, fire, sinking, collision, etc. For Agreed Hull Value Policies (Yacht Policy, Angler's Best and Angler's Bass Boat Program), the company will pay you the Agreed Hull Value in the event of a total loss. Repairs for Partial Loss on boating equipment are covered on a "new for old" basis, although specific items are subject to depreciation. For more information on what is covered for total and partial losses for Yacht and Bass Boat policies, click here. For Actual Cash Value Policies (Boat Saver, PWC and Angler Boat Saver), all covered property losses are subject to depreciation. For more information on what is covered for total and partial losses and the depreciation schedule for these policies, click here. To see a copy of the policy before you bind coverage, ask a BoatUS insurance specialist to send a sample with your quote.
- Q: What is included in the Hull and Machinery part of the policy?
A: The Yacht, Boat Saver, PWC and Angler policies provide coverage for the hull and machinery -- engines, outboards, generators, etc., equipment and accessories used in the normal navigation, safe operation and routine maintenance of the boat, as well as any furnishings built into the boat.
- Q: What does the Protection and Indemnity (P&I) section of the policy include?
A: The liability section of the policy is called Protection and Indemnity (P&I) and provides coverage for any property damage or bodily injury you are responsible for, up to the policy limits. It also provides for defense if you are sued by a third party. This section of the BoatUS policy also includes important features such as liability coverage for operating a friend's boat, and coverage for removal and disposal of a wrecked boat.
- Q: How do you handle claims?
A: Fast, fair and with a focus on making sure you and your boat are handled with care. Policyholders can call BoatUS to speak one-on-one with experienced claims specialists 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Depending on the nature of the claim, the specialist will provide specific instructions about what steps to take from that point forward. You may also file a claim online using our Claims First Report and an adjustor will follow up.
- Q: How does your insurance program help me in the event of an emergency, such as a sinking, grounding or accidental fuel spill?
A: The BoatUS 24-Hour Emergency Dispatch Hotline will give you immediate assistance in making the necessary arrangements to protect your property, such as dispatching salvage operators or sending out pollution control professionals. When there has been significant damage or injury, local surveyors and investigators will be assigned. In catastrophe situations (hurricanes, major flood, etc.) the BoatUS "CAT" Team is flown into the area to expedite salvage and claims processing.
- Q: Is towing coverage provided through the BoatUS Insurance Program?
A: Yes, excellent coverage, but like any towing service provided through insurance policies, it has conditions and limitations. In addition, BoatU.S. Members can purchase unlimited towing service through the Association to supplement the coverage offered through the insurance program. The insurance policy pays a maximum of $250 per event and $500 per year. The Association's unlimited towing service has no event or annual limits – and requires no direct payment by the boat owner. The Association takes care of the entire bill. If you breakdown on the water, the insurance policy tows you to the nearest safe harbor. The Association's unlimited towing pays to take you back to your home port, a repair facility or any desired location within the BoatU.S. service area. And while insurance policies limit the towing benefit to only the insured boat, the Association's service covers any boat you own, borrow or charter. Service also includes battery jumpstarts, fuel drops and soft ungroundings. And the BoatU.S. toll-free dispatch center is open 24/7 so help is always just a phone or VHF radio call away. Unlimited roadside assistance while trailering your boat is also available through the BoatU.S. Association.
- Q: Can I get a quote today?
A: If you need a quote immediately call us at 1-800-283-2883 between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday or 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, ET. Or visit our online application 24/7. In most cases, we will provide you with a firm, actionable quote - not a ballpark figure like some other insurance companies.
- Q:How do I start coverage if I like your quote?
A: If you would like to bind online simply click on "Bind Coverage" icon and follow the instructions or call our office at 1-800-283-2883 and tell us when to start coverage. Payment can then be made by credit card or check. To start coverage by mail, follow the directions on the Quote Reply Form you received by mail.
- Q: Is BoatUS Membership required to get an insurance quote?
A: You don't need to be a Member of BoatUS to get a quote. However, should you decide to bind coverage, you will need to join one of the BoatUS Membership Programs. This can be arranged at the same time you initiate your insurance coverage and can be included in your premium.
- Q: Is there an extended payment plan?
A: Yes. The extended payment plan requires a down payment of 30%. The balance is billed in either four (4) or eight (8) equal monthly installments, depending on the premium. Each installment includes a $5.00 handling charge.
- Q: I am planning a trip to Mexico with my boat. Is my boat still covered by your policy and do I need a cruising extension?
A: Unless you have purchased a Bass Boat policy, all boats insured through the BoatUS program will need a cruising extension in order to provide coverage when venturing into Mexico. However, this extension will only cover the physical damage to your boat. All boats (including those with a Bass Boat policy) are required under Mexican Law to have liability insurance issued through a Mexican Insurance Company. Without it, you could face serious consequences including fines, impoundment and/or imprisonment. As explained in the Policy section of the website, we are working in partnership with a bona-fide Mexican insurer who can provide this liability coverage for both your boat and car online.