Boat owners, we know you want to spend more time on the water and less time worrying about your watercraft insurance. We also know you want to protect your watercraft so you can enjoy it year after year without disruption. Here, we’re breaking down the basics of boat insurance, so you can educate yourself on the type of watercraft insurance policy you should get and the coverages you need; and then you can get back to what you love – being on the water.
First, you might be wondering if you even need boat insurance. Why would you need to pay for something you may not even need if you only take the boat out certain times a year? Well, just like driving a car, driving a boat can be dangerous (and expensive to replace). When you are out on the water, anything can happen, and boating insurance can help cover you financially.
Even if your state does not require you to get insurance for your watercraft, you’re likely required to have it by the bank if you’re financing your vessel. Additionally, most marinas will require you to provide proof of watercraft liability insurance if you’re using their facilities.
Types of Watercraft Insurance
When it comes to the “type” of boating insurance you can get, there are generally two options*:
1. Agreed Value is an amount you and your insurer agree the watercraft is worth. This is the amount paid in the event of a total loss.
2. Actual Cash Value covers the watercraft’s value with depreciation, age, and condition factored in. It is the value of the boat at the time of the loss.
*While other insurance companies may offer various types of watercraft insurance, Alfa Insurance® watercraft policies are written on actual cash value.
Types of Watercrafts We Insure:
- Bass Boats
- Sport Boats
- Cruisers (Pontoon Boats)
- Personal Watercraft
Types of Watercraft Insurance Coverages:
While every watercraft insurance policy can vary, below are the common boat insurance coverages:
- Collision Damage – If your watercraft is involved in an accident, collision coverage will cover the cost of repairing or replacing it, minus the amount of your deductible.
- Property Damage Liability – This covers the cost of damages to someone else’s property if you cause an accident in your watercraft.
- Bodily Injury Liability – If you’re found legally responsible for a boating accident, this covers the costs associated with bodily injuries to other people involved.
- Hull Coverage – This coverage applies to damages on the vessel itself, due to covered perils.
Additional Coverage Features:
- Newly Acquired Watercraft -Provides temporary coverage for a watercraft, motor, or trailer that either replaces a watercraft, motor, or trailer or is an additional watercraft, motor, or trailer.
- New Boat Replacement – If a total loss occurs to a watercraft, motor, or trailer that is no more than 2 years old, we will pay the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of a current model year as the watercraft, motor, or trailer that was damaged. Alfa’s age limit is no more than two years old, other carriers could differ.
- Locksmith Service – This additional coverage will reimburse you for expenses related to your watercraft keys being lost, stolen, or locked inside your watercraft.
- Emergency Service - If your watercraft becomes disabled, this additional coverage provides payment for the reasonable expenses that are incurred, such as mechanical labor, towing of the watercraft or trailer, and delivery of fuel, oil, a battery, or repair parts.
- Watercraft Haul-Out Expense – If a hurricane watch or warning is issued for the county in which the watercraft is located, payment is provided to haul your watercraft from the water and to launch the watercraft once the watch or warning has expired.
- Fuel-Spill Clean-up – This additional coverage provides payment for any expenses that are incurred for the cleanup of fuel, oil, or other fluid after a covered loss to your watercraft.
- Personal Effects – Provides coverage for certain personal items that are usually on the watercraft but are not covered equipment which is usual to the operation of the watercraft. Personal effects include cameras, cell phones, clothing, coolers, fishing equipment, portable electronics and water skiing and other sporting equipment.
- Trip Interruption – Imagine going on a fishing trip hours away from home and suffering a breakdown. Trip interruption coverage will cover, based on the limits of the policy, for meals and lodging in the city where the breakdown occurred.
How is the premium determined for watercraft insurance?
A lot of factors go into determining your watercraft insurance premium. Your agent can give you more details about your specific quote or policy; but typically, your insurance premium is affected by:
- Age of watercraft
- Type and condition of watercraft
- Size and value of watercraft
- Cruising area (where you will be boating)
- Policy limits
- Deductible amount (the higher the deductible, generally, the lower the premium)
- And other relevant factors...
Can I get discounts on my Watercraft policy?
While each insurance company will offer varying discounts, the following are a few you may see offered to you.
- Previous Owner Discount – this allows a premium credit, which applies if the named insured has owned the watercraft or a similar type or larger watercraft and has been insured for more than one year immediately preceding this policy
- Safety Course Discount – Premiums are lowered when all operators have successfully completed certified watercraft safety courses
- Off-Season Discount – This endorsement gives a premium discount when the watercraft is not used for a specified period.
Keeping your claims record clean is another way to save on your watercraft rate. Be a responsible boat owner and take precaution to avoid dangerous settings, including storms.
How to avoid getting caught in a storm while boating?
Getting caught in a storm can cause serious damage to your boat and is very dangerous. Be aware of your surroundings before taking your boat out. Check the weather ahead of time and look for signs that bad weather might be coming.
These are just a few things to look for if you feel like bad weather could be approaching.
- Sudden drops in temperature
- Dark clouds
- Flashes of light on the horizon
What’s the best type of watercraft insurance to get?
That’s easy – the best type of watercraft insurance is the type that meets your coverage needs and makes you feel comfortable about your risk and exposure. Of course, a friendly agent who can provide you personalized service is a plus, too. Call your local Alfa® agent today for a quote on watercraft insurance!
* All coverages are subject to deductibles, policy limits, and depreciation, as applicable. This is not an insurance policy. It is intended only to provide a general description. An actual policy contains the specific details of the coverages, conditions, and exclusions. Your Alfa® agent can explain the policy and benefits and answer any questions you may have before you buy.