Seven Ways To Lower Your Insurance Premium

By Michael Vatalaro

Tailoring your insurance policy to the way you actually use your boat can lower your costs.

Photo of a Vanquish 24 slices across Newport Harbor in RI.A Vanquish 24 slices across Newport Harbor in RI.

For many of us, boat insurance is something that we pay for every year, but rarely take the time to examine or update. Taking a few minutes to review your current policy can pay off in the form of lower premiums, particularly if you have changed the way you boat, or if it has been a few years since you first purchased the policy. All of the specific discounts mentioned below apply to policies offered through BoatUS, but may also apply elsewhere.

1. Take A Boating Safety Course

Safe boating has benefits beyond not becoming an accident statistic. Completing a safe boating course can earn you a 10-percent discount on your insurance premium. Take the BoatUS Foundation's Free Online Course at

2. Membership Has Its Privileges

Membership in either the Coast Guard Auxiliary or the United States Power Squadrons is rewarding in its own right, but if you've been on the fence, here's another reason to join — a 10-percent discount on your insurance.

3. Focus Your Cruising Area

If your insurance policy covers you on the waters of the Pacific from Vancouver, to Mexico, and you never leave Puget Sound, chances are you're paying too much for your coverage.

4. Update Your Hull Value

Many policies are based on an "agreed hull value," the specific dollar amount that you and your insurer agree your boat is worth at the time the policy is written. This is the amount that your insurer would pay you in the event of a total loss of your vessel (minus salvage costs if your policy doesn't cover them, see sidebar). But boats, like cars, depreciate over time. If it has been a few years since you first insured your boat, it may be worth looking into what it's currently worth. Lowering the agreed hull value will lower your insurance premium. Just remember to consider any outstanding balance on your boat loan as a minimum, regardless of the NADA or BUC book values.

5. Increase Your Deductible

Increasing your deductible, the amount you are responsible for before your insurer starts paying a claim, will lower the cost of your premium. Your insurer is rewarding you for sharing more of the risk. But it will result in higher out-of-pocket expenses should you make a claim.

6. Taking A Break From Boating?

Tell Your Insurer: If your boat will be ashore and stored for more than a year, it qualifies for "Port Risk," meaning a lower rate for boats not in use.

7. Consider Liability Only

If you own your boat free and clear, and its value is modest, you can consider a liability-only policy that will still protect you financially for third-party damages in the event of an accident, but will not reimburse you for the loss of or damage to your boat. If you're thinking about switching to a liability-only policy, make sure it still provides coverage for salvage. If your boat sinks at its slip and your policy doesn't cover salvage, you'll be out not only a boat, but also the thousands of dollars it will cost to raise, remove, and dispose of your former vessel! 

— Published: August/September 2011

How Much Salvage Coverage Do I Have?

Photo of a Vanquish 24 in Newport Harbor in RI

Salvage coverage is an important component of your boat insurance policy, but not all salvage coverages are equal. Some policies will pay for the costs associated with salvaging your boat out of the agreed hull or actual cash value portion of your policy. This can effectively leave little or no money left over to pay you (or your bank) for the loss of your vessel. A more thorough policy will pay for salvage out of a separate coverage up to an amount equal to the agreed hull or actual cash value. A policy written this way will pay to salvage your boat, and pay to replace it.

For more information about marine insurance, or for a free, competitive quote: or 1-800-283-2883


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