5 Things To Know About Boat Insurance

By Pat Piper
Published: Summer 2013

It's one of the most important things associated with owning a boat, but insurance policies can be confusing. Here's what you need to know before you sign on the dotted line.

3. Is the trailer covered?

If your boat has a trailer, don't assume it will automatically be covered under your boat policy. The BoatUS Marine Insurance program offers coverage for boat trailers separately for a small additional premium. Physical damage to the trailer is covered under the policy; however, third-party property damage or bodily injury that happens while trailering is not. This is usually covered under your auto policy — check with your auto carrier.

4. What happens if the owner isn't driving and there's an accident?

If the boat is being operated by a family member or other person using the boat with your permission, and without compensation, they are covered under the conditions of the policy. If you "rent" or "lease" your boat to others, then coverage does not apply. Also, liability coverage is not provided for a paid captain or crew.

5. Additional options are available for a small extra charge

Personal effects coverage: For non-boating equipment such as personal computers or clothing, and for boat-related items not considered boating equipment such as fishing or watersports equipment.

Depreciation waiver: For boats less than 10 years old, you can eliminate any depreciation that otherwise would have been applied to a claim.

Ice and freeze damage: Where freezing is a common occurrence, this endorsement protects boats against damages that may occur if the boat is not properly winterized.

Guide coverage for boats under 27 feet: For those operating a fishing guide service, make sure you are protecting your business and clients with the proper coverage.

NOTE: Some companies, including BoatUS Marine Insurance, offer a "liability only" option, which provides no boat or engine coverage but covers you for third-party claims or lawsuits against you. The BoatUS Marine Insurance Liability Plus policy also provides full salvage assistance and wreck removal coverage. You must own your boat outright (no lien holder) to obtain this option. For more information, go to www.BoatUS.com/Insurance

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