Boat Insurance FAQ
BoatUS has been providing an insurance program since 1966. In 2016, we celebrated 50 years of service to boaters nationwide.
Over 400 BoatUS staff members specialize in boat insurance, claims, underwriting, emergency dispatch, customer service, accounts, policy issuance, licensing, records management and more, to provide boaters with fast, professional service.
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.
In some states, liability insurance is required for specific types of boats. Check with your local agency to see what your state requires. Also, most marinas will require that you have boat insurance in order to keep your boat at their facility. Lastly, if you have a loan using the boat as collateral the bank will require hull and other coverages, and require they be listed as a "loss payee" to cover their interest in your boat.
The cost of boat insurance can vary by underwriting company, but in general, it’s based on the type of boat, length, number of engines and horsepower, how you are going to use it (recreation, commercial charter, racing, etc.), and how/where it is stored. All of these factors, including the experience and claims record of the owner will factor into the cost. Completing boating safety courses and insuring multiple boats with the same company could also positively impact your premium.
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.
All policies through the BoatUS program cover 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, the company will pay you the Agreed Hull Value (at policy inception) 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 may be subject to depreciation. For Actual Cash Value Policies, the company will pay you the current market value in the event of a total loss. The premium is less than an Agreed Hull Value policy.
For more information on what is covered for total and partial losses, 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.
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.
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.
The BoatUS 24-Hour 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.
Yes, policyholders have the option to add Unlimited Towing for the insured boat by endorsement. It's priced between $36–$105 (dependent on the boat size and location) with services provided by TowBoatUS — the nation's largest fleet. NOTE: If you have more than one boat, consider purchasing Unlimited Towing through Membership in BoatUS — the Association. For a few dollars more, you'll get service for all boats owned, borrowed or chartered. When you purchase insurance for your trailer, Roadside Assistance is included for breakdowns when trailering your boat.
When you purchase insurance for your trailer, Roadside Assistance is included for breakdowns when trailering your boat.
Fast, fair, and with a focus on making sure you and your boat are handled with care. Policyholders can start the claims process quickly online using My Account at BoatUS.com/Account or through the BoatUS App. Policyholders may also call 800-937-1937 to speak one-on-one with experienced claims specialist 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.
Quotes, Cost, and Discounts
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 800-283-2883 to speak with an underwriter.
We also offer extended payment plans. View All Payment Plans & Options.
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 uninformed agent, or an indifferent carrier.
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 safe and secure: 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.
Yes! If you need a quote immediately call us at 800-283-2883 from 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Monday – Saturday ET., Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. 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
If you applied online, you will receive coverage options immediately or in some specific scenarios, by email. Simply click on the "BUY” icon and follow the instructions. You may also call our office at 800-283-2883 to start coverage. Premium payment or down payment can be made by credit card or check at the time of purchase.
No, you don't need to be a Member of BoatUS to get a quote. However, should you decide to bind coverage, we encourage you to join BoatUS for the discounts and savings on fuel, slips and boating equipment, and to receive our award-winning BoatUS Magazine. Also, to purchase Unlimited Towing for any boat you own, borrow or charter (separate from the single-boat endorsement offered with your policy) Membership is required. This can be arranged at the same time you initiate your insurance coverage and can be included in your premium.
Yes. The extended payment plan requires a down payment of 30%. The balance is billed in either three (3) or seven (7) equal monthly installments, depending on the premium. Each installment includes a $5.00 handling charge.
Mechanical Breakdown Coverage
Mechanical Breakdown Coverage is an optional coverage that pays to repair or replace the lower unit of an outboard motor, or the upper and lower units of a stern drive motor in the event of a mechanical breakdown. It does not cover any of the internal components of the engine itself.
Mechanical Breakdown Coverage is offered to boats equal to 10 years old or less, with an outboard or stern drive motor.
Pricing is based on the age of the boat at the time the coverage is purchased. It increases over time as the boat ages and the risk of mechanical breakdown increases.
NOTE: Other companies offering this type of coverage set a fixed price at the time the coverage is purchased. With BoatUS, you are likely to pay less over time with our sliding scale of fees.
This endorsement must be in effect for 30 days before a mechanical breakdown loss will be covered. Any loss that occurs less than 30 days from the date the coverage starts, or any pre-existing condition, would not be covered.
Yes, the Mechanical Breakdown Coverage is only $250.00 per outboard or outdrive unit. If both outdrives or outboard lower units fail due to a mechanical breakdown, then the deductible is $250 for each unit.
Yes, this endorsement does provide coverage for wear and tear and mechanical breakdown for the parts specifically listed (see Mechanical Breakdown Coverage). It does not cover gradual diminishing performance of the unit. The loss must be sudden.
Wear and tear - deterioration that results from ordinary use over the course of time and the part suddenly ceases to function. For example, the teeth wear off of the prop shaft on an outboard motor and the propeller no longer turns. This is covered by Mechanical Breakdown Coverage.
Diminishing performance - a decline in the level of output of a certain part resulting in ineffective operation of the part. For example: If your propeller has an intermittent hesitation due to the prop shaft teeth starting to wear and causes vibrations affecting the efficiency and smoothness of the ride. The cost to have the prop shaft replaced at this time would not be covered under this endorsement. The propeller must fail to turn completely for the Mechanical Breakdown Coverage to take effect.
Any repair facility of your choice can perform repairs.
Yes, if a claim is paid you will forfeit your 10% no loss credit until you remain claims free for one policy period. This also applies to the diminishing deductible. If a claim is paid then the deductible will return to the deductible listed on the Declarations page of your first policy period with us, without regard to any diminishment.
Mechanical Breakdown Coverage is only available on our Agreed Hull Value policy. For a quote on this type of policy adding the Mechanical Breakdown endorsement, call 800-283-2883.
All manufacturer's required maintenance must be made on the outdrive or outboard lower unit or this coverage doesn't apply.